Nepeta (Catmint) – A Marathon of Bloom

The structure of any creation requires a strong backbone to give it stability and strength. Nepeta becomes that backbone or strength that every garden needs and does it well for many reasons:

  • First, Nepeta is so dependable. Its zone-three hardiness can be counted on to pull it through even the coldest or driest of winters.
    Next: Nepeta thrives in a drought situation so it’s used in xeriscape landscapes but it grows fine with regular watering.
    Also: The lean alkaline soils of the west keep Nepeta growing more sturdy and compact. Too much fertilizer or rich soil will cause this fine perennial to look lax and flop, but western soils keep Nepeta looking sharp.

    Nepeta is the backbone of any perennial garden.
    Nepeta, shown here as a beautiful contrasting color behind yellow ‘Stella de Oro’ lilies, is the backbone of any perennial garden.

How to Cut Back Nepeta in Spring

Catherine Moravec shows how to cut back the winter-killed growth in early spring:


Everything about Nepeta is so vigorous and healthy that there are no pests or diseases that ever bother it. Deer even turn up their noses at nibbling this plant, probably due to its refreshing mint fragrance that keeps the garden smelling good. The size is not too tall and not too small but just right. Several varieties can reach almost three feet in height, but most reach only twelve to twenty inches. Several hybrids like ‘Little Trudy’ only grow to ten inches in height so there is always a choice of a variety that will meet your needs.

nepeta border (catmint)
Planted as a hedge, Nepeta is dependable and will bloom most of the summer in brilliant blue flowers.

Keep Blooming all Summer – Deadheading is Easy with an Electric Trimmer

Nepeta’s colors are soft shades of blue to lavender that adds space and calmness to any garden. In bloom, a sweep of this comely plant adds a shimmering sort of misty, cooling effect to the garden. It looks enough like Lavender that it is a top choice for mountain gardens where Lavender is not hardy. In measured time, it holds the record for being the longest blooming of the perennials. The spiky blooms open their tubular flowers in June. Using an electric trimmer or shear, mow the flowers before they drop seed around the end of July. After about three weeks, Nepeta will be blooming again and will continue until frost.

Finally, Nepeta was awarded the Perennial Plant of the Year Award and that sums up how fantastically dependable it is. Life is too short and hectic to not enjoy the freedom that a perennial like this one brings to the garden.

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