2021 Perennial Plant of the Year – Calamintha nepeta nepeta
The Perennial Plant Association has chosen Calamintha nepeta nepeta as the 2021 Perennial of the Year.
This honor is given yearly to a perennial that meets certain criteria: ease of culture, multiple-season interest, suitability to a wide range of climates, low maintenance requirements and pest and disease resistance.
Calamintha, commonly known as calamint, forms a bushy mound of glossy green mint-scented foliage, profusely topped with sprays of tiny white flowers, sometimes tinged with pale blue. It makes a slowly-spreading clump, useful as an edging plant or as long-blooming filler in perennial borders and rock gardens. Flowers begin to appear in June and continue throughout the summer, attracting many types of pollinating insects while the aromatic foliage deters deer and rabbits. Durable and pest-free, calamint also checks the box for drought-resistance and ease of culture. All it asks in return for months of frothy flowers is full sun and average well-drained soil. It is a perfect candidate for sites too inhospitable for plants requiring regular watering.
Calamint’s subtle charms provide a perfect foil for showier perennials that prefer the same cultural conditions. The airy, fine-textured mounds create flower-garden harmony when contrasted with bold, colorful perennials like Echinacea, Coreopsis, butterfly weed and butterfly bush. Or compose a more peaceful assemblage of players by pairing calamint with the more subdued colors of Agastache, Allium, lavender, gayfeather, and the smaller types of ornamental grasses.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-7
Light: Full sun
Size: Up to 18” tall and wide
Native range: Great Britain to Southern Europe
Maintenance – Low-maintenance deciduous perennial. Responds well to shaping by light sheering, which also refreshes plants for more bloom. Drought tolerant once established. May re-seed.