It had to be able to live and thrive amongst the tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass that was originally the only spot of lawn grass on our property before being turned into a meadow type planting that was cut low but once yearly. Click here for the history of this space.
She had none for sale since it can be a bit of a thug in some situations, she said. She had been yanking it out of her loamy garden beds so it did not completely take over. She offered me some of those castoffs and they were happily accepted. Thugs are welcome in the Fairegarden, being just what we need for the difficult growing conditions on our steeply sloping garden, it has been found.
It was late in the season so I decided to take cuttings of the best pieces and grow them in the greenhouse over the winter. The healthy plants were set out the following spring of 2012, just behind the row of lilies in the two beds in the Lawn/Meadow. Though small, they managed to live through the first year in the ground and in their second year have decided to bloom.
The hairy leaves, leading me to believe this is hairy mountain mint, Pycnanthemum pilosum, read as white from a distance. Added: Astute reader Sue of A Corner Garden suggests that this is actually short toothed mountain mint, Pycnanthemum muticum. I believe she is correct. That is the perfect touch to brighten the mostly green coloration of summer for this area in addition to the red of Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ that was added last summer and the purple flowers of Verbena bonariensis. Click here to read that story about shopping for plants in your own garden, if you so desire.
Mountain mint attracts many insects to its flowers, including various bees, wasps, flies, small butterflies and beetles. The leaves are very fragrant, when crushed they have a strong minty odor. Tea may be brewed from the leaves. The flowers of mountain mint can be white to shades of light purple, some with purple spots. Our plants have the purple spots. Mountain mint has proven to be a perfect addition to the Lawn/Meadow. The mint fragrance is a bonus as I browse the mown paths of this part of the yard and brush the Pycnanthemum muticum.
Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun and moist to slightly dry conditions. Will tolerate drought once established. Growth is best in fertile loamy soil; it also flourishes in rocky soil.
Common Name: Short toothed mountain mint
Bloom Time: Mid to late Summer, July, August
Bloom Color: White to light purple, some with purple spots
Max Height: 12 inches to 3 feet
Botanical Name: Pycnanthemum muticum
Plant Type/Life Cycle: Perennial
Light Requirements: Full Sun, Half Sun / Half Shade
Native to Eastern and Central United States
Ideal Growing Region: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West, Pacific NorthWest
USDA Zones: 4-8
Suggested Uses: Hummingbirds & Butterflies, Fragrant, Erosion Control, Showy Flowers, Multiplies / Naturalizes
This post is part of my dear friend Gail of Clay and Limestone’s ongoing rejoicing in Wildflowers that is held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, or whenever you feel like giving wildflowers some love.