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Calamintha nepeta (Lesser Calamint)

Calamint

Zone: 5 to 10

Soil: sand to loam

Light: Full sun to part sun

Bloom colour: White to lavender

Bloom period: Late July to October

Height: 1 - 2 feet

Moisture:Dry to medium

Attracts: Many bees and other insects

Notes: If you are unable to get mountain mints, you might be able to get Lesser Calamint from your local garden centre. It has escaped into the wild in some regions of United States and therefore you should only plant it in managed gardens.

It has an exceptionally long bloom period and when many other plants are starting to wither, bees can continue to collect nectar from this plant. Digger wasps also like Calamints. In fact, this plant en masse will attract an enormous range of insects. In my own garden, this plant has the highest bee density of any plant.

As a garden plant it is a great for edging due to its low height or you can place it in a rock garden. It is not very effective as a specimen plant due to its small size. The flowers are also small so you need to plant a minimum of 4 or five plants together to make an impact. It survives drought quite well, but the lower leaves fall off and limited watering will prevent this. It can grow in clay, but it may not overwinter as it prefers well-drained soils.

In addition to everything else, it is a member of the mint family and has a truly mint flavour that can be used for cooking. It is a native of the Mediterranean where it is a popular herb.

Calamintha nepeta

Calamint with bumblebee
Calamint with bumblebee
Calamint with yellow collared scape moth
Calamintha nepeta with a Yellow Collared Scape Moth. This moth differs from a Virginia Ctenucha by being smaller and by having a dark body whereas the latter has an irridescent blue body. If the body is covered, then try looking from sideways where you might be able to see part of the abdomen.

Queen bumblebee

A queen Bombus impatiens quietly feeding while two males attempt to mate with her. The mating occurs prior to the new queens finding an overwintering site.

Calamint with Hemaris diffinis

Calamint with Snowberry Clearwing Moth

Calamint

Calamint en masse