A low-growing garden plant, lesser calamint is a tough, drought tolerant plant that blooms most of the summer with a cloud of white to lavender flowers over mats of gray-green foliage. These plants make great fillers. They also attract a large number of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Calamints are cousins to the herbal mints and are very fragrant but do not spread as aggressively.
Lesser calamint is 9 to 15 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. The plant spreads by rhizome and will form a thick mat over time.
Native geographic location and habitat:
This perennial is native to southern Europe and Great Britain.
Attracts birds or pollinators:
The multitudes of flowers are very attractive to bees to the extent that they should not be planted near walkways if bees are a problem. Butterflies and hummingbirds also appreciate the flowers.
The egg-shaped leaves are small, gray-green and form mats about one foot high.
Delicate pale lavender to white tubular flowers bloom all over the plant.
Small rounded pods containing multiple light brown seeds. Lesser calamint is easily grown from seed.
The plants are relatively low maintenance. They prefer full to part sun and well-drained soil. Plant in well drained soil. Cut plants back after flowering if overgrown. The straight species (Calamintha nepeta) reseeds aggressively, so be sure to get one of the sterile cultivars. These plants do not do well in hot, moist environments.
List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:
This perennial has no serious problems, but occasional powdery mildew can affect it. The strong scent when crushed makes it resistant to deer and rabbits.
Montrose White Lesser Calamint (Calamintha nepeta ‘Montrose White’):
This cultivar is a tidy, clumping version with white flowers. This lesser calamint is sterile and grows to about one foot tall.
White Cloud Lesser Calamint (Calamintha nepeta ‘White Cloud’):
The bright white flowers of this cultivar are larger and showier than the species.