There are numerous members of the Catmint clan, the most familiar of which is Catnip (Nepeta cataria). While it is a favorite of cats, this type of catmint has limited use beyond the herb garden. However several other types of catmint, notably one called Persian Ground Ivy or Hybrid Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii), make fine ornamental perennial plants for residential yards and are somewhat deer resistant. All catmints offer attractive aromatic foliage and tiny flowers. They are easy to care for and can withstand some drought.
Size: Hybrid catmint typically grows from 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall on the squarish stems that are the hallmark of the mint family. In a year or two the multi-branching stems of well established plants spread to a bushy 1 1/2 feet.
Foliage: Hybrid catmint foliage is gray-green. The abundance of wrinkled, lance shaped leaves on multi branching stems appears as a misty cloud in the garden bed. Individual leaves are wedge shaped at the base and have toothed edges. They grow opposite one another along the stems below the flower spikes. Like most herbs, the leaves have a fragrance when crushed, or even when brushed by someone walking by.
Flowers: Hybrid catmint flowers bloom from June to August. The individual tubular blooms are bluish lavender. About 1/2 inch long, they are arranged in whorls along bare spikes that rise above the sprays of foliage. Flower spikes cut back after blooms are spent often produce a second, lighter flush of blooms.