Blephilia sp. (Wood mint)
Blephilia with Anthothora

Zone: 4 to 8

Soil: Sand to loam with some clay

Light: Part sun

Bloom colour: Lavender

Bloom period: Starts in late spring

Height: 18 inches or 3 feet

Moisture: Dry to medium or moist (see notes)

Attracts: Bees

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 at the beginning of the summer 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. Slowly, over several years, downy wood mint will reseed and fill in the gaps.


Monarda bradburiana and smooth penstemons flower at the same time as Downy Wood Mint. Bradbury's beebalm can be allowed to intermingle with Wood Mint because it is similar in size but Smooth penstemons, being taller, should be planted behind for best effect.


If you have moist soils, then try to obtain Hairy wood mint (Blephilia hirsuta), which flowers a few weeks later. This plant has stout hairy stems and is much taller than Downy Wood Mint. Hairy wood mint is a bit lanky and is best placed behind some other plants. Even though Hairy wood mint is twice the height, the flowerheads on Downy wood mint are the same size. It is fair to say that Downy wood mint has better form.


Downy wood mint. with Anthophora sp.
Blephilia combines well with Bradbury's beebalm
Downy wood mint with Bradbury's bee balm.
Blephilia hirsuta

Blephilia hirsuta - Hairy Wood Mint

Blephilia ciliata Blephilia with bumblebee
Downy wood mint Downy wood mint
Blephila en masse
Downy wood mint