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Nepata is Not Neat; About a Perennial that Disappoints 

Last year, I planted "Nepeta faassini Walker’s Low" in my test garden to see how it would perform. The publicity for this variety led me to believe that it was a shorter version of the species. Well, shorter doesn’t mean smaller. This scruffy plant is a vigorous grower and while it cannot be classified as a spreader, because its root ball remains compact, its stems do spread out. By spring of this year, my plant extended 3 feet in diameter and smothered all other perennials that lay in its path.

Unlike an invasive plant, Nepeta is easily trimmed back into a compact mound but that disciplined shape is short lived. This shaggy plant just keeps on growing. It will reach 18 inches in height but may seem shorter because of its habit of kneeling towards the sun.

When I sit on my deck and look into my test garden, Nepeta is growing at a distance of 20 feet away and looks rather elegant. This view became my inspiration to use it in several garden projects. What a disappointment it has turned out to be! Clients that never complained before have asked me to remove this perennial because it makes their gardens appear messy.

However, for those with ample sized gardens, growing Nepeta can be rewarding. It is quite hardy, drought tolerant and maintenance free. It grows in zones 3 to 9 and if dead headed will bloom continuously from June until September or October. While it is considered a full sun plant, it will tolerate afternoon shade. Many gardeners enjoy planting it underneath rose bushes because its color and texture play well against all shades of roses. Other gardeners are happy to give it prominence as a specimen plant. Sprinkled repeatedly throughout a large flower bed, Nepeta effectively adds soft clouds of blue to perennial compositions. Just remember to plant companion perennials at least 3 feet away.

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Reader Comments (2)

Beautiful plant.. On my blog I highlight a plant a month.. Will definately consider doing this one..any color from a periennel in the fall is awesome!!

October 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGardenRetreat

I actually love this plant...but early in the growing season I tuck a little grow-through support into the middle of the plant to help keep the plant spires more uplifted. Seems to work!

June 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn Olson

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