Dictionary of Flowers: Nepeta Faassenii (Catmint)

Catmint may drive felines nuts, but Nepeta Faassenii has beautiful flowers. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Tanaka Juuyoh and Flickr
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Catmint may drive felines nuts, but Nepeta Faassenii has beautiful flowers which do very well in containers. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Tanaka Juuyoh and Flickr

  • Nepeta Faassenii
  • Common name: catmint, ornamental catmint
  • Family:  Lamiaceae
  • Category: perennial in USDA zones 3 to 8
  • Height: 12" to 24"
  • Width: 24" to 36"
  • Sun/part shade
  • Blooms:  late spring to early fall
  • Attracts: bees, butterflies
  • Growth habit: mounding. Used as a filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers. Drought tolerant
  • Garden uses: containers, bedding plant, mixed border, rockery
  • Diseases: disease resistant
  • Pests: not bothered by pests

Herbaceous perennial in the same family as catnip, catmint is a vigorous ornamental plant produced by the crossing of two other nepeta species.

It is a robust plant that doesn't self seed unlike other nepetas, since it is sterile.

The leaves are scented, and it produces blue purple flowers on stems that rebloom throught the summer if deadheaded.

It is attractive to some cats, but not to the extent that catnip is.

The foliage is gray green, small and veined. 

They are available in nurseries in spring and summer.

It is extremely tolerant of hot and dry conditions. It doesn't mind rocky or sandy soils.

The only requirement of catmint is a full sun position in the garden. One of the easiest longer blooming perennial garden plants, it doesn't require fertilization to bloom well. In fact, fertilizer makes the plant grow floppy.

It truly thrives on very little care. Nepeta is drought tolerant after it is established.

Catmint has a sprawling habit in all selections except 'Six Hills Giant', which grows upright. 

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

After bloom, shear plant back for more blooms. In winter, after the plant dies to the ground, cut nepeta back to about six to eight inches to remove dead foliage. 

Catmint's clumps can be divided every three to five years in spring or fall. Softwood cuttings can be taken in early summer. It is also possible to propagate nepeta by simple removing basal cuttings in spring or summer and planting immediately. 

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Nepeta is not likely to suffer from disease, if grown in a well drained dry position in full sun. Pests don't normally seem to attack nepeta. It is deer resistant.

Popular varieties:

  • Nepeta x faasenii 'Walker's Low' - lavender blue blooms on a silvery foliage plant that grows up to two and a half feet tall
  • Nepeta x faasenii 'Six Hills Giant' - blue flowers, upright growth habit. Up to three feet tall
  • Nepeta x faasenii 'Snowflake' - white blooms on a compact one foot tall plant
  • Nepeta x faasenii 'Select Blue' - deep blue flowers, grows up to one and a half foot tall
  • Nepeta x faasenii 'Blue Wonder' - blue flowers, dwarf mounding plant that grows up to a foot tall. Good variety for containers

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Achillea (Yarrow) to the Dictionary of Flowers

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