Zone: 4 to 8
Soil: Sand to loam with some clay
Bloom colour: Lavender
Bloom period:Starts in late spring
Height: 18 inches
Moisture: Dry to medium or moist (see notes)
Notes: Downy wood mint (Blephilia ciliata) is an easy plant to grow. It is native to Ontario, New England, the mid-west and mid atlantic states. The plant flowers in spring and is attractive enough to bees to make its inclusion in the garden worthwhile. Like many other mints, it has layers of flowers. It grows in quite dry conditions and puts on a decent show while it is in flower. Out of season, it has quite ordinary looks.
This plant fills in the blooming gap between the spring flowering and summer flowering plants and it flowers for about four weeks. Unlike many other members of the mint family, it does not spread aggressively. Plant a minimum of 7-9 specimens together to get them noticed in the garden. In hot summers, the leaves may die back. It is a good idea to interplant wood mints with annuals that flower later in the season. Snapdragons would be good in this instance. Slowly, over several years, downy wood mint will reseed and fill in the gaps.
If you have moist soils, then try to obtain Hairy wood mint (Blephilia hirsuta). This plant is distinguished from Downy wood mint by its location and by having leaves with long stalks. Downy wood mint combines well with Monarda bradburiana and smooth penstemons, both of which flower at similar times.