Calamintha nepeta is a very attractive bushy, perennial that should be in every garden. Clouds of tiny, lilac-mauve flowers appear in early summer and flower continuously from early June right through to late September. This lovely Calamint is a splendid plant for warm sunny areas of the garden. Not only does the foliage release a pleasant, aromatic fragrance but the flowers are highly attractive to all bees and butterflies.
Native to Europe and the Mediterranean region and commonly known as Lesser Nepeta or Lesser Calamint, the plants produce ovate, shallowly-toothed, dark green leaves that grow to around 2cm (¾in) long sit on very strong stems and are very fragrant, exuding an intense minty scent when crushed.
Plants are easily grown from seed and will even flower the first year from an early sowing. They grow to a height of 40cm (16in) and flower continuously from July right through to September. Tiny, tubular, two-lipped, lilac to white flowers appear on axillary spikes. The cymes holding around 15 flowers each are a true bee pasture.
Calamintha nepeta prefer well-drained, lime-free soil and a sunny location, but can also cope with less favourable conditions. They like to have evenly moist soils, but tolerate some drought. Position plants in full sun for best flowering, in hot summers they will appreciate light shade in the afternoon.
They can be used in perennial beds, mixed borders, rockeries and containers and are an excellent choice used as an edging plant for walks, patios or herb gardens, they are also effective when sprawled over low retaining walls or in containers of used for roof greening.
Sowing: Late winter to late spring or sow late summer to autumn.
Sow seed on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Cover seed with a light sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. Germination 7 to 21 days at temperatures of 16 to 22°C (60 to 70°F). When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots to grow on.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 30cm (12in) apart.
Sowing Direct: Sow in spring to early summer when all risk of frost has gone.
Seeds can be sown outdoors, directly where they are to flower. They can be broadcast in drifts or can be sown in more formal beds and borders.
Sow the seed in short drills from March to May, at temperatures around 20°C (68°F). Cover lightly with soil, mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label if sowing more than one variety in the same bed.
Seeds germinate in two to three weeks. The seedlings can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 30cm (12in) apart by early summer. Alternatively, leave them to grow as small clumps, of 4 to 6 plants every 30cm (12in) or so. Compost should be kept slightly moist, but not wet at all times.
For best results, plant in any ordinary, well-drained soil in full sun. If the soil is particularly poor, fertilise a little with weak solution of liquid fertiliser. Otherwise do not fertilise as this can encourage leafy growth at the expense of flowering.
Prune back older foliage on the outside after blooming to encourage new growth and a more compact, denser plant. Lift and divide large clumps in spring, replanting divided specimens with lots of well-rotted organic matter. If powdery mildew becomes a problem prune out the affected areas.
Fresh or dried, the leaves make a refreshing and therapeutic tea which is high in Vitamin C and has traditionally been used to treat such conditions as nervousness, insomnia, hyperactivity, colds and fevers.
Cut flower stems for floral arrangements.
Cottage & Informal Gardens. Rock Gardens, Container plantings, Herb gardens Fragrant plant, Bees & butterflies, First year flowering, Continuous bloomer.
Calamintha is a genus of plants that belongs to the family Lamiaceae. Commonly called the calamints, there are about eight species in the genus (around 30 before revisions in taxonomy) which is native to the northern temperate regions of Europe, Asia and America.
Calamintha nepeta is native to Southern Europe, including Britain, and the Mediterranean region. Close cousins to the garden mint, but they are without the nasty spreading habit.
The genus name comes from Greek kalos meaning beautiful and mimthe meaning mint. Kalaminthe means savory.
The specific epithet is in reference to the resemblance of the plant to catnip.
Synonym: Calamintha officinalis, Calamintha sylvatica, Calamintha nepeta var glandulosa
Commonly called Calamint or Mountain Balm.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 200mg Average Seed Count 600 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 1200 seeds / gram Family Lamiaceae Genus Calamintha Species nepeta Synonym Calamintha officinalis, Calamintha sylvatica, Calamintha nepeta var glandulosa Common Name Calamint, Mountain Balm, Nepitella Other Common Names Lesser Catmint, Lesser Nepeta, Nepita Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Spikes of large medium to dark pink, scented tubular flowers Natural Flower Time Mid summer to early autumn Foliage Aromatic Position Sun or Partial Shade. Soil Well drained soil. Time to Sow Late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn Germination 7 to 14 days