Nepeta

Nepeta flowers

Vigorous ground cover perennials with fragrant grey/green foliage, covered by lavender-blue flowers in summer. Annual forms are rarely grown in UK gardens. Loved by bees and other beneficial insects.

Family: Lamiaceae
Botanical Name: Nepeta
Common Names: Catmint

Foliage: Deciduous, narrow, aromatic grey-green leaves.

Flowers: Terminal spikes of small tubular flowers, usually purple.

Flowering Period: Summer.

Soil: Well-drained poor soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Origin: Europe and Asia.

Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Nepeta

Easy to grow. Plant from October to March. Thrives an open sunny place and will grow on a wide range of soils providing they are well drained. Performs well in poor soils.

Useful edging plants or front of a mixed the border.

Drought tolerant once established.

Taking Care of Nepeta

Tall forms may need support. Lift and divide clumps every three years or so.

Pruning Nepeta

Deadhead faded blooms and cut back untidy growth in spring.

Pests and Diseases

Prone to leafhopper. Can be affected by powdery mildew.

Propagating Nepeta

Established clumps can be divided in March-April. Alternatively, long basal cuttings can be taken in April or half-ripe cuttings in summer and rooted in a shaded cold frame.

Seed can also be sown in outside in prepared ground during late spring.

Popular Varieties of Nepeta

Nepeta cataria the aromatic silver grey foliage is loved by cats. Flower spikes of violet spotted white in summer. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Nepeta x faassenii (hybrid) is a lax perennial with narrow, grey-green leaves and spikes of lavender-blue flowers, in May-September. Height 12-18in (30-45cm), spread to 2ft (60cm) or more. Cultivars include:

  • 'Six Hills Giant' a tougher, taller form, with deeper-coloured flowers. For sale at Suttons.
  • 'Blue Beauty' an intermediate form with lots of erect lavender blue spikes of flowers. Height to 18in (45cm).
  • 'Walkers Low' a low growing form ideal for growing at the edge of borders, paths and ground cover. Deep mauve-purple flowers from early summer. For sale at Suttons.


Nepeta govaniana is a tall form with pale lemon-yellow flowers above fragrant lemon scented foliage. Height to 3ft (90cm).

Nepeta grandiflora 'Summer Magic' (PBR) is a compact form that holds its shape well with aromatic, grey-foliage and large nectar-rich flowers, throughout the summer. For sale at Crocus.

Nepeta nervosa is a bushy perennial with long spikes of violet-blue flowers in June-August. Height 1-2ft (30-60cm), spread 1ft (30cm) or more. Variety 'Blue Moon' has neat, dwarf, bushy, habit, with large dense blue flower spikes, over a very long period. Height: 12-16in (30-40cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan. Variety 'Pink Candy' has compact, grey-green foliage and candyfloss blooms. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Nepeta racemosa (syn. mussinii) (Persian catmint) is a compact form that bears spikes of long tubular lavender flowers. Height to 1ft (30cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.