Monday, December 1, 2008

A Couple Mountain Mints Through the Season

I like to grow a wide variety, including herbs and native plants in my flower beds.  Several years ago, I purchased Virginia mountain mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum, either from the Nebraska Arboretum, or Blue Bird Nursery, in Clarkson Nebraska.  Our zone is 5b.  It is listed zones 3 to 8.  I put it in full sun.  It gets watered when the grass does.  It has spread some each year, but not invasively, as do other mints.  It attracts wasps big time, plus bees and butterflies. I read that deer do not eat it.  I found more good information about it at a site provided by Herb Companion.  

I found another mountain mint at a local family owned and run greenhouse this summer.  I'll talk more about it after the pics from the Virgina mountain mint are shown.

This photo was taken 5/28/08.  It is the plant to the right, in the cage.  You can see where I cut back the foliage on the bottom so that it would not flop over the nearby plants.

Look how tall it grew by 6/18/08!  That red shed's walls were replaced this summer, as we were not allowed by the city to replace it with a new one.

I can't remember when it started blooming, but the next photo was taken 7/7/08.  You can see the stems I cut back blooming shorter.


There were lots of these black wasps all summer! This is from 7/16/08.

It's still blooming, 8/13.

On 9/25, it's almost finished blooming, but the existing blooms are holding on.

10/25, it's starting to fade, but still looks good in its spot.

The seed heads look good into fall, 11/14.

The small plant behind the iris, near the blue pot on the lid to the egress window is Pycnanthemum muticum, short toothed mountain mint, from a local grower.  
There had been a dwarf false blue indigo plant there,  but it died after being 
blown over by strong wind.  This photo was taken 7/7/08, not too long after it was planted.  This is on the east side of the house, so it does not get afternoon sun.  There is more information on this plant at the National Wildlife Federation site, from a book called, American Beauties Native Plants, which they have for sale.






I had most of these photos exported into a file in order to put them into a post a couple weeks ago, so I may go out tomorrow and take a few pics to see  how they look now.  This plant did not get the 4 feet the tag said it should get.  I'm hoping it gets taller next year, otherwise, I'll want to move it in the future, as the amsonia in front of it got taller than it did this year, and I kept cutting it back.

If you have experience with these mints, or have a comment, please leave one.


  1. What attractive plants. I love mints but I've never owned these. My personal favorite is the chocolate mint which remind me of girl scout cookies, and also not as invasive as some others I have. Now, I'll need to look into these to add for next season.

  2. I've never planted mints as they are usually so invasive. But these 2 seem like they would be a great addition to any garden. I love how you document the growth of each plant. Really helps you see the growth and length of bloom time. Great idea!

  3. Love your blog! And your side bar was just as fun to look at as today's post. I was looking at both as I scrolled down. So I should get some mint huh? Well, I just might do that. Nice to be in your garden today.

  4. Those are wonderful and fast growing too. I have all of the standard mints. Spearmint, Peppermint, Chocolate, Lemon, Orange and Kentucky Colonel Mint, they all look basically the same just smell different, I have them in pots because they like to run over others.

  5. It is very pretty. I believe it grows wild here in Tennessee. At the PPS meeting someone brought a bunch of it in for a plant swap. I did not know just how pretty it is. Love those flowers.

  6. Don't know that one. Great info with progression photos.


  7. I can just add that I own Mint in my balcony. Very hardy one. Every year it reappears.
    I love Mint tea, I prepare myself.
    You seems to have green thumb, us, in France we say : avoir la main verte = having green hand!

  8. Hi Sue,
    I just popped over from Tina's place and my eyes lit up when I saw your photos today! Don't know much about catmint...but, I will tell you that your butterfly photos are beautiful. Those captured my attention right away. Take care! Jan

  9. Hi Everyone! Thanks for your comments!

    Jellyfishbay, I have my mints in pots in our carport. I can't remember if I usually put some in the egress window. I just know most of my mints survive the winters, and a few don't. I love chocolate mint, too.

    Beckie, I forgot to mention that I dug out starts of the thin leaved mountain mint to give to others, and keep it from spreading too far. The documenting is fun for me!

    Flowergardengirl Thanks for stopping by. I went to my grandma's funeral today, so haven't had time to read your blog posts, but your photography is awesome! I'm glad you like the sidebar. I have some pics of my yard I want to put there when I get a chance.

    Darla, I forgot what zone you are in. Mine die back in the winter, but come back from the roots in the spring. I love orange mint, too. I grow tall of the ones you mentioned, except for the Kentucky Colonel.

    Tina, Is PPS, Perennial Plant Society? I have had a feeling this one could be spready with the right conditions. So far, it is fairly well behaved, but I will make sure it continues to. Yes, both of these have pretty flowers, and I like the long season of interest.

    Thanks, Cameron, both of these are supposed to be unattractive to deer. I thought of you when I read that. I think they'd look good with the other plants you grow.

    Catherine, It sounds like your mint in pots dies back in the winter, then comes back from the roots, too. Thanks for the green thumb compliment. I recognized the "verte" being "green". :o) I like to make tea with my mint, too, but usually brew it in a gallon jar, then add cold water to make it ice tea.

    Welcome, Jan! I have had your blog bookmarked, and read it, and have left comments before. Thanks for becoming a follower. I do grow catmint, but these are mountain mints. Oh, and I plan on putting my caterpillar pics in my sidebar, too.

  10. Yes it is. I love this group and its meetings. Do you have one in Nebraska? If so and it is close, it is worth joining.

  11. Sue, as always your pictures are soooo beautiful, I wish I had time to garden as much as you, but then I wouldn't have as much time to quilt. LOVE your mints.

  12. Love to see things growing in another country. I am just resurrecting my herb garden which did not do well in the past drought years and I have mulched it and put water saving crystals in it. I am not as able as I used to be, to go out and collect some of those classic not easily obtainable plants, but did order some seed recently.
    Lovely to see the photos.

  13. Sue I love your mint pictures. I too have heard that they are wonderful for attracting all different sorts of pollinators. My favorite shots are the October and November shots. They are lovely.

    Your baptisia *may* not be dead, if it formed buds for next year's growth before it blew over. Late one summer/fall I accidently mowed my Baptisia "Purple Smoke". It did not reappear that year, but came up strong and healthy the following spring.

  14. Beautiful photos! i wish I had time to garden. As it is, I DO enjoy other people's gardens :-)

  15. Tina, I don't think we have that group here. I am in the Nebraska Herbal Society, and we have plant sales in the spring, and some of us give each other starts of plants from our gardens.

    Thanks Bopeep. You do have sewing skills that I don't have. I would like to be able to sew, but cant' sew in a straight line.

    Thanks Jane, I hope your seeds grow.

    Thanks Sweetbay, I was wondering if there was a chance of the baptisia coming back. I put the mountain mint behind where it was growing, but if it comes back, I'll have to move the mint.

    Thanks anonymous person. No name showed up for you, and when I clicked on the little blue that's showing, it showed you do not have a blog. I'm glad you like my pictures!

  16. I will have to keep my eye out for both of those plants. They don't really look like mints. Do they smell like mint?

  17. That mint is nice, especially if it is not as invasive. I love seeing progression photos. This was a great post.
    By the way, thank you for visiting my blog and I'm sorry it took me so long to visit you. I had been away for the holidays and have been catching up :)

  18. Kathy, I'm trying to remember if they smell like mint. I just use them in the landscape, but have read that they have some culinary use. It seems like the taller one has a pleasant odor, but don't remember if I smelled the other one. I'll have to do that when I get a chance in the spring.

    Cindy, I am wondering if the taller one may get invasive in the right conditions. It is spreading, but seems to just spread out at the edges, and you can dig out starts for friends easily.


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