2021 Perennial Plant of the Year - Lesser Calamint (Deer Resistant)

Montrose White Calamint from Rare Roots

I wrote this post years ago and now, in 2021, Lesser Calamintha has been named 2021Perennial Plant of the Year... 

So here is my post on it and my prediction that - someday - it will be recognized.  #prescient

The thing to do is PLANT FOR THE BEES.  So if you join me on that important bandwagon I suggest you plant - 

Dwarf Calamint 'Montrose White'  (Calamintha nepeta spp nepeta 'Montrose White').

Calamintha is an herb that's native to Europe and is used in cooking in Italy under the name nepitella.

This plant, I predict, will be a 'Perennial Plant of the Year'. Why? because it is a hardy (to USDA zone 4) and delightful flowering perennial plant that is deer resistant.  YAY!

Photo from Nursery Management 

Calamintha nepeta spp nepeta 'Montrose White' was named by Mike Yanny of Johnson’s Nursery in Menomonee Falls, Wis. 

Yanny’s wife purchased the calamint from Nancy Goodwin at Montrose Nursery.

Yanny saw that the plant thrived under benign neglect and came back every year as strong as ever. He asked Goodwin if he could name and patent this particular calamint ‘Montrose White.’ She agreed.

‘Montrose White’ is a compact, clump-forming, 12" - 16” high plant that is covered with tiny white flowers from June until frost.  When temperatures fall in autumn the flowers turn lightly lavender. It does not get floppy and has very fragrant leaves. It can grow very wide.

'Montrose White' calamint loves full sun and well-drained soil. It will not tolerate wet soils so let it dry out between waterings.  It has no special fertilizer or pH requirements.

The best thing about this flowering plant, besides the fact that it roots from cuttings in a few weeks, is that it is sterile - this means that no seed heads are formed and no seeds are produced thus it always looks great!

Important: it does not self sow as the straight calamint species does.

'Montrose White’ is ideal for sunny shrub borders, rock gardens containers. It blooms all summer and if you plant it near a path and brush against the foliage, you will smell a scent of strong peppermint.

Plant this fine textured plant next to bolder larger leafed plants like Lamb's Ears (deer resistant) or Ladies mantle (deer resistant). Or next to asters so the late summer show is wondeful.

Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are crazy for it. In bloom, Montrose white looks like a summer snow flurry. It is perfect for a white garden.

This short plant is drought tolerant and looks fabulous planted beneath taller summer flowers such as  Echinaceas, Phlox, Perovskia and shrub roses.    

It also looks great in front of grasses and with any blue colored plant. Just remember it is a bee magnet.

All in all, a deer-proof plant that rewards us with flowers, scent and a long blooming season... and keeps the bees happy. Award winner, for sure.

by Bohns Farm


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