A favorite of homeowners and landscapers alike, Nepeta x faassenii and its cultivars is a stellar plant for Nantucket. It forms a mound of pretty grey-green foliage early in the season, and is covered in blue flowers for well over a month in early summer. Cut it back in July, and you can expect the same show all over again before Labor Day.
Nepeta prefers full sun and well drained soil. It is extremely deer resistant and tolerant of salt, wind and drought. One island landscaper has taken to calling it the ‘The Welcome Plant’ since it is so friendly and easy care. There is a cultivar for nearly every situation. As long as you have at least a half day of sun, and some drainage, this plant will perform for you.
Common cultivars and their attributes are listed below:
- ‘Six Hills Giant': At 3′ tall x 3 or more feet wide, this is the largest plant in this group. Great for covering a large area in a hurry. If not planted in full sun, this one can get floppy and splay open. Try shearing it back early in the season, to keep the plant stocky.
- ‘Walkers Low': Don’t let its name confuse you, this is not a dwarf plant. It is named for a garden in England, were it was selected. 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year! 3′ wide and tall. Somewhat more compact than ‘Six Hills Giant’
- ‘Dropmore': This one is considerably smaller than those listed above at 1.5′ tall and wide. A good option for smaller spots.
- ‘Blue Wonder': Another good variety for smaller spaces. In my experience, ‘Blue Wonder’ is just slightly smaller than ‘Dropmore’, but the foliage is flatter and somewhat less grey.
- ‘Snowflake': A small variety with clear white flowers. We don’t always stock it, but if your plan calls for white, try this cultivar. Not growing more than 15″ wide, it’s a good option for along a pathway, or a small white garden.
- ‘KitKat': A true dwarf plant. This little one only grows to a foot or more tall and wide. Great to tuck in at the edge of the border.