Rethinking Catmint

Over the years I continue to revise my thinking about what makes a great landscape plant. One of the first plants that I worked with when starting the nursery was ordinary Catmint, Nepeta mussinii. As much as I liked it, I realized that it seeded out freely and could be a troublesome invader. So I switched to a sterile type of Catmint, one that definitely would not overrun a garden.

However, as I observed ordinary Catmint spreading itself throughout my huge front yard, I noticed how beautifully long-blooming it is and how much it is visited by bees and other pollinators. The sterile form, on the other hand, didn’t bloom as long or enthusiastically and did not offer a lot for pollinators. I learned that when we choose plants for certain qualities (like good behavior), we may lose other benefits (like production of pollen and nectar).

Catmint is not appropriate for every landscape, but in the right setting it is a superstar!

May 20, 2022