Perennial of the Month-- January 2006
(neh-peh-TAH fass-SEE-knee-ii) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)
Common name: Walker's Low catnip/ Faassen Nepeta
Family: Lamiaceae, Mint
Height x width: 18" x 18"
Growth rate, habit: moderate north, rapid south and warm climates, loosely arching upright
Foliage: opposite leaves 1-2" long with scalloped edges, widely sagitate (arrow-shaped); gray-green, fragrant
Flowers: lavender-blue, 1-2" long, early summer south and mid-summer north for long period, clustered on upright arching stems
Hardiness: USDA zones 4-7
Soil: well-drained, tolerates drought once established
Light: full sun, will tolerate part shade in the south
Pests and problems: none significant; possibly leafhoppers, black root rot, wilt, powdery mildew
Landscape habit, uses: front to middle of borders, groundcover, container, cascading over walls or in rock garden, cut flower; attracts butterflies, bees, hummingbirds; combines well with roses, in front of beebalm, in back of bluish ornamental grasses, shasta daisies; and for an old-fashioned look with foxgloves, German iris, peonies.
Other interest: 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year, of the Perennial Plant Association. Little attraction to cats (nor to deer or rabbits), even though related to true catnip (N. cataria) and containing the active feline attractant nepetalactone; original hybrid species named for Dutch nurseryman J.H. Faassen who developed first hybrids; this species a hybrid of N. racemosa and N. nepetella, even though listed by RHS as cultivar of racemosa, and sometimes listed without a species but being in the Faassenii group of the genus; this cultivar, introduced by Four Seasons nursery of Norwich England in 1988, was found in an Irish garden in the 1970's by Mrs. Patricia Taylor and named for a garden there, and does not refer to the plant size.
Other culture: in south shear flowers off after bloom for repeat bloom and denser plant; divide in spring if necessary
Propagation: plants are sterile so not by seed, spring division, terminal cuttings in summer
Sources: many complete perennial nurseries locally and mail-order