The Gardeners eye

Volume #3

Catmint, high or low?

We look for color, reliability and toughness in our perennial gardens, and one plant consistently delivers on all counts:

The Nepeta, or ‘catmint’ perennials are a perfect combination of vibrant color, and fool proof reliability.  The 250 species of Nepeta racemosa  are not all perfect for our American gardens, but several of the hybrid species are must haves in the perennial border.  The classic  Nepeta’ catania’, surprisingly, is not the best choice in the garden, though your house cat may have a different opinion.  The N.catania  is the real “catnip”, which has the nepetalactone, the chemical that causes temporary euphoria in cats.  The other catmints have limited appeal to pet cats, but tremendous attractions for the gardener.  A  Long blooming time of lavender/blue  flowers, resistance to insect pests, deer and rabbits, and a subtle fragrance are some of the appealing characteristics of the catmint hybrids.

So, if you are not trying to get a cat “high”, plant “Walkers Low”(Nepeta x Fassenii), the best of all the Nepeta Hybrids.  This plant has all the good qualities of the catmint family, but does not grow too large(2-2.5’), or require much care.  It will

attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your garden, and will not set seeds, as it is a sterile hybrid, constantly flowering in a futile attempt to reproduce.