Calamintha nepeta wasn’t a plant I chose. It chose me. Several years ago, I attended a writer’s conference and received a plug pack that contained a mixture of Summer Beauty allium and Calamintha nepeta. Neither looked very impressive. But being the plant junkie that I am, I found a sunny sight for them and waited. And man was I impressed!
I wasn’t struck the way one would be by the enormity of a hardy hibiscus bloom. The fascination came from the way this little plant with the delicate white flowers hosted a United Nations of insects all summer long with no effort from me beyond the first year in my garden. It’s a very soft spoken plant. Sometimes those are the ones most worthy of our attention. The frenzy of pollinators darting through it created all the buzz it needed.
I love undemanding plants. Calamintha nepeta is without a doubt one of them. No supplemental watering and just a top dressing of compost each Spring in my clay laden zone 5 garden. That’s all. Delicate clouds of white flowers emerge almost entirely along the length of the 15″ stems.
A member of the mint family, Calamintha is unlike some of its thug cousins. I’ve had it in the same spot for four years without any sign of reseeding. This one plays nicely with its garden mates and is especially effective positioned next to larger leaved plants. Despite an affinity for well drained soil, it thrives at the front of the border in this sun-baked clay garden. I positioned it next to a Colorblaze Sedona Sunset coleus and Black and Blue salvia.
Maintenance is a cinch. A quick shearing in late winter/early spring and the plant is ready to go. Despite a strong rabbit presence in my garden, Calamintha nepeta is not on the menu. The leaves release a pleasant fragrance when crushed and it’s hardy in zones 4-9.
A real trifecta in the garden world, this plant pleases the gardener, the pollinators and repels furry visitors. What’s not to like?
What in your garden attracts pollinators? Check out one of my favorite fragrant mid/late spring blooming perennials.