Cat mint

 

 

Cat mint

Since we are going to a herb farm on the 5th April, look out for Catmint (Nepeta mussinii), not to be confused with Catnip (Nepeta cataria) which  has less ornamental value in the garden than its catmint  counterpart. Catnip is also found to be highly attractive to cats, with many of them exhibiting a naturally induced euphoria around the plant. They may nibble on it or even roll around in the foliage. This type is most suitable for “cat friendly” gardens. If you don’t want your garden overrun with felines, plant catmint instead, which is much less attractive to them.

Cat mint
Cat mint

Catmint is an aromatic herb that is commonly grown in the garden. It produces clusters of lavender-blue flowers amid mounds of gray-green foliage. This easily grown plant has an interesting history regarding its various uses in the landscape. For example, the herb is thought to have been first cultivated in the Roman town of Nepeti, where it was used as herbal tea and insect repellent. This is also believed to be the origin of its genus name, Nepeta.

Although it is a member of the mint family, it is far better behaved and not invasive. It is a great plant to use in flower borders, at the feet of roses or even in containers. Catmint is wonderful in waterwise gardens, planted next to small boulders and on the edges and paths of carefree cottage gardens. It is durable, has a long lifespan, succumbs to few pests and has a long season of blooming, beginning in mid spring and can continue through summer if the first flush of flowers are deadheaded.

Cat mint
Cat mint

Plant catmint from spring through autumn in a warm sunny spot, it flowers best in full sun.  It requires average water but becomes drought tolerant once established.  It grows well in a variety of soil types and to maintain compactness and repeat bloom, trim back spent flowers.  You can divide clumps in early spring.