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Nepeta X faassenii
Nepeta X faassenii

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Zones 1-24
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Nepeta sibirica

Siberian Catnip

Perennials, Flowers


Vigorous, spreading members of the mint family with aromatic foliage. With the exception of catnip (Nepeta cataria), these plants are valuable for their spikes of two-lipped blue or blue-violet (or sometimes pink, white, or yellow) flowers. As soon as blossoms fade, shear plants back by half or cut faded flower stems to the ground to encourage rebloom. (Most species seed freely and can become invasive if spent flowers are not removed.)

Plants make attractive, informal low hedges or edgings. In winter or early spring, cut out last year’s growth to make way for new stems. At that time, you can also divide clumps for increase, though it’s easy to start new plants from cuttings (take them before flower buds form). When buying named varieties, be sure to obtain cutting-grown plants; seedlings vary in flower color and habit. In cold-winter climates, nepetas are occasionally used as a substitute for lavender (Lavandula) in borders and edgings. Most species resent heat combined with high humidity. In desert Zones 12 and 13, most are best treated as winter annuals. They tolerate regular moisture if soil is well drained.

Nepeta sibirica

Native to Siberia. Sturdy, upright habitto 2–3 ft. high, 1 1/2–2 ft. wide.Dark green, oblong to lance-shaped leaves are softly hairybeneath. Spikes of large (1 1/2 in.) violet-blue blossoms appear for about a month, beginning in early summer. ‘Six Hills Giant’ is possibly a hybrid of N. × faassenii—but grows taller (reaches2 1/2–3 ft. high and as wide), has greener foliage, and bearsdeeper blue flowers. More tolerant of damp climates than other nepetas. ‘Souvenir d’André Chaudron’ (‘Blue Beauty’) is similar but grows only 1 1/2 ft. high and blooms for a longer period, with season extending into late summer.

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