June: Catmint

Looking for a sturdy yet attractive plant with an interesting fragrance? Catmint may be just what you're looking for! This low-maintenance perennial has a tame, mounding habit and is covered with spikes of small purple or blue starting in late May or early June and continuing all the way into September.

Catmint is a close cousin of catnip. The strong smell does appeal to cats, but not the way catnip does. The fragrance of catmint can be a divisive issue. Some love it, and some hate it, so before planting it in your garden be sure to rub the leaves and give them a sniff to see if you want it growing in your yard. If you do like the smell, there are few flowers that can beat it as far as durability and adaptability. Rabbits and deer don't like the smell, so they won't nibble on it, but if there are wandering cats in your neighborhood it may attract them.

Common Name: Catmint

Scientific Name: Nepeta species and hybrids

Notable Varieties: 'Walker's Low' (somewhat smaller variety), 'Six Hill Giant' (larger variety), 'Blue Wonder' (deep blue flowers)

Light: full sun to light shade

Size: 1-3' tall, 1.5-4' wide (depends on variety)

Soil: tolerant of many soil conditions, but prefers good drainage

Blooms: small light purple or bluish blooms on loose spikes from early to late summer

Other Notes: deer will not eat it; cutting it back in the summer can encourage a flush of fresh growth and stronger flowering; will not self-seed; foliage and flowers are strongly fragrant, but not everyone likes the smell
 

See other plants of the month.


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