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It’s Called Catmint for a Reason!

May 25th, 2011

I have a large number of ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint (Nepeta x fassennii ‘Walker’s Low’) in the garden. It’s a beautiful plant, so easy and carefree to grow. Contrary to what you might think, the name does not imply that it is a small plant, it’s named for a place in England. I have a few mature plants that are about 3 ft square each.

Catmint is a tough as nails. It takes just about any kind of soil but thrives in those dry areas where other plants might languish. ‘Walker’s Low’ doesn’t reseed so you don’t have to worry about invasiveness, although it’s very easy to propagate with cuttings if you want more plants. (from what I understand other varieties of catmint may reseed, but I don’t have any so I can’t say first hand if they do). This plant is also unpalatable to deer, which is a huge bonus here at Chiot’s Run.

This plant is also fabulous because it looks good all summer long. With a little pruning it will bloom from spring to frost. It’s carefree, bugs don’t bother it much, bees and other beneficials love it! The only pests that will bother your catmint plant are CATs! It’s called catmint for a reason. I find our outdoor cats sleeping in it all the time. Small branches are also brought in for the indoor cats as well, who spend hours rolling on them on the floor.

I like this plant so much I would love to acquire a few other versions of catmint like ‘Six Hills Giant’, ‘Dawn to Dusk’, and ‘Little Titch’ which is a dwarf variety that I think would make a fabulous ground cover.

Catmint isn’t just a pretty face in the garden, it’s an herb that can be used medicinally for a wide variety of ailments from arthritis to menstrual cramps. I dry a lot of it for tea as it’s calming, helping ease stress, anxiety and insomnia – it’s perfect for nighttime tea. Since it had natural antibiotic properties, it’s also said to help when you have the flu or a cold. I’ve also read that it can help with arthritis since it’s an anti-inflammatory. I mostly use it for evening teas along with chamomile and mint from the garden.

Do you grow catmint in your garden? Do you use it medicinally?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.