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Choosing Nepeta

194.6 (bee)Nepetas are fabulous plants, but choosing them is far from straightforward. Most of us know the delightful billowing forms, traditionally used for border edging, with their summer time multi flowered spikes. There are though many varieties and cultivars, all with their own special reasons to vie for your attention. Even though I can’t accommodate let alone source many of them, from the around 100 forms I do grow it’s easy to notice that genetic similarity apart, most have such distinct additional characteristics that they do indeed deserve consideration on their own merit.

There are forms for all parts of the herbaceous border and some for pots, from dainty tiny types reaching only 20cm high, wide tall beasts rising up to even 2m on occasion and creeping underground spreaders to perhaps reach areas not quite their intended destination. Upright, bushy, compact, open, arching, billowing, dense, drought tolerant, damp tolerant. Pink, white, yellow, lavender, blue/purple or violet flowers, many with beautiful distinguishing petal markings. Tiny flowers, vast flowers. Silver green leaves, lime leaves, many other hues of green leaves. Huge leaves, minute leaves, every size in between leaves. The choices are vast.

The following Basic Comparison Chart is a good start point, before checking out the plant images and expanded information within the site.  Additional information, including precise foliage and flower colours (RHS colour chart reference numbers) and other distinguishing botanical details are not shown. The ‘Marks out of 10’ column is a totally non scientific and subjective addition, included just to start the discussion!

  Colour Height Border Location Notes Marks out of 10
Nepeta ‘Blue Dragon’ Deep violet 70cm Front Strong, damp tolerant. Spreads well. Attractive. 8
Nepeta buddlejifolium Pale lavender 1m Only grow if roots entirely contained I am sure this is Buddleia mint but is included, as it was named as this Nepeta in the selection criteria when the Collection was developed.
Nepeta buddlejifolium ‘Gold Splash’ Pale lavender 1m Contain roots A sport of buddlejifolium with yellow/ gold leaf markings.
Nepeta cataria Pale pink To 1.2m Mid/ back Drought tolerant. Fast growing. 6
Nepeta cataria ‘Citriodora’ White/ cream with pink tinge. To 1.2m Mid/ back Lemon scented foliage. 7
Nepeta cataria ‘Lemony’ White/ cream with pink tinge. To 1.2m Mid/ back Stronger lemon scented foliage than ‘Citriodora’ 7
Nepeta ‘Chettle Blue’ Dark violet 75cm Front Bushy, good shape. 8
Nepeta clarkei Purple/ blue To 90cm Front Distinct. Lovely petal markings. 8
Nepeta ‘Dropmore’ Lavender 60cm Front Hardy. Long flowering. Delicate. 8
Nepeta ‘Early Bird’ Violet 30cm Front Long flowering from late April/ early May. Compact, bushy. 9
Nepeta ‘Florina’ Pale pink 30cm, spread 60cm Front Attractive, compact. Sterile. 9
Nepeta from Ethiopia Pale lavender 70cm Front Unique scent. Distinct. Strong. Upright. 6
Nepeta govaniana Lemon 1.1m Mid Entirely distinctive and elegant. Strong. Spreads well. Self seeds. 9
Nepeta granatensis Pale lavender 80cm Front/ mid Distinct. Not for damp conditions.Lovely shape. 7
Nepeta grandiflora Lilac 1m, spread 1m Mid Strong, elegant and distinct. 8
Nepeta grandiflora ‘Blue Danube’  Deep violet max 90cm Front Lovely textured leaves. Spherical shape. 8
Nepeta grandiflora ‘Bramdean’ AGM Violet 1m, spread 90cm Front Long flowering, excellent upright structure. 9
Nepeta grandiflora ‘Dawn to Dusk’ Very pale pink 80cm Front Elegant and long flowering. 7
Nepeta grandiflora ‘Pool Bank’ Lavender 1.2m, spread 1.5m Mid/ back Early to flower in early June and long flowering. May need staking. Floriferous. 8
Nepeta grandiflora ‘Summer Magic’ Lavender 40cm Front Long flowering with long terminal spikes full of flowers. Compact. 9
Nepeta grandiflora ‘Wild Cat’ Lavender 1.2m Mid/ back Strong, upright, long flowering. 7
Nepeta grandiflora ‘Zinser’s Giant’ Violet 70cm Front Distinct, showy and attractive. 8
Nepeta ‘Hill Grounds’ Deep violet 55cm Front Very attractive, compact. 8
Nepeta italica Dark lavender 60cm Front Strong, vigorous, good structure. 8
Nepeta ‘Joanna Reed’ Violet 60cm, spread 1.2m Front Very floriferous, strong and vigorous. 9
Nepeta ‘Junior Walker’ Pale lavender 40cm Front Compact and elegant. Sterile. 8
Nepeta kubanica Deep violet 1.2m, spread 50cm Mid/ back Strong, dense form. 6
Nepeta ‘Lamendi’ Violet 1.3m, spread 1.4m Mid/ back Strong and long flowering. 6
Nepeta latifolia ‘Super Cat’ Pale violet 1.5m Back Vigorous, distinct and stunning with sticky leaves 9
Nepeta ‘Leeds Castle’ Pale lilac 60cm Front Long dense flowering terminal spikes make it attractive and distinct. 8
Nepeta Longpipes hort. Lilac To 1m. Mid Distinct. Staking required. 6
Nepeta manchuriensis ‘Manchu Blue’ Lavender 80cm Front Damp tolerant. Lovely petal markings. Spreads by runners. Distinct and elegant. 8
Nepeta ‘Maurice’ Lavender 45cm, spread 75cm Front Distinct, dainty and elegant. Self seeds. 7
Nepeta melissifolia Lilac 1m. Spread 1.6m. Mid Vigorous. Last to flower, in late July. 7
Nepeta sp. Pale pink 30cm Front/ container Bushy and compact, with very strong scent. 6
Nepeta nervosa Violet 35cm Front Not damp tolerant. Can withstand partial shade. Distinct. Can be susceptible to insect damage. 7
Nepeta nervosa ‘Blue Carpet’ Violet 45cm Front Floriferous. As for nervosa. 7
Nepeta nervosa ‘Blue Moon’ Pale lavender 45cm Front Dainty. As for nervosa. 6
Nepeta nervosa ‘Forncett Select’ Deep violet blue 40cm Front/ container Doesn’t overwinter in damp conditions. As for nervosa. Advantage is the strong flower colour. 7
Nepeta nervosa ‘Pink Cat’ Pale pink 35cm Front Floriferous, compact. 6
Nepeta nuda Lilac 1.2m Mid/ back Strong. Upright. 6
Nepeta nuda ‘Accent’ Deep lilac 1.1m Mid/ back Upright. Distinct. Strong. Distinct. 8
Nepeta nuda ‘Anne’s Choice’ Pale pink 1.2m Mid/ back Upright. Strong. Distinct. 7
Nepeta nuda ‘Isis’ White 1.1m Mid/ back Upright. Floriferous. Strong. Distinct. 8
Nepeta nuda ‘pink form’ Pink 30cm Front Strong. Upright. 7
Nepeta nuda ‘Purple Cat’ Pale lilac 1m Mid/ back Strong. Upright. Distinct. 7
Nepeta nuda ‘Romany Dusk’ Pale violet Over 1m Mid/ back Strong. Upright. Distinct. Elegant. 9
Nepeta nuda ‘Snow Cat’ White 1.1m Mid/ back Upright. Strong. Floriferous. Smaller leaves than ‘Isis’. 8
Nepeta nuda subsp. albiflora White 1.1m Mid/ back Long flowering. Upright. Strong. Distinct. 8
Nepeta parnassica Deep lavender 2m Back Very large. Very long flowering. Great impact. 9
Nepeta phyllochlamys Pale pink 20cm N/A Alpine form, so not for herbaceous border. Suggest container grown. Dainty. Elegant. 6
Nepeta ‘Pink Candy’ Pink/ pink blue 45cm Front Long flowering period. 5
Nepeta ‘Pink Dawn’ Pale pink 50cm Front Bushy. Strong. 6
Nepeta ‘Porzellan’ Lilac 50cm Front Bushy. 5
Nepeta ‘Poseidon’ Pale violet 40cm Front Distinct. Elegant. 8
Nepeta prattii Deep violet 60cm Front Distinct. 7
Nepeta ‘Purple Haze Deep violet 15cm (spread 80cm) Front Distinct. Long flowering. 7
Nepeta racemosa AGM Violet 30cm Front Bushy. Elegant. 9
Nepeta racemosa ‘alba’ White 45cm Front Early to flower and long flowering. Dainty. 7
Nepeta racemosa ‘Amelia’ Pale pink 70cm Front/ mid Very elegant. Floriferous. Distinct. 9
Nepeta racemosa ‘Grog’ Deep lavender 50cm front Citrus scented foliage. Elegant. Bushy. 8
Nepeta racemosa ‘Little Titch’ Lavender 30cm Front Compact. Distinct. 7
Nepeta racemosa ‘RCBAM3’ Deep violet. 45cm Front Bushy. 7
Nepeta racemosa ‘Senior’ Violet 30cm Front Compact. 7
Nepeta racemosa ‘Snowflake’ White 30cm Front Early to flower. 7
Nepeta racemosa ‘Superba’ Mid violet to 50cm Front Bushy. 7
Nepeta racemosa ‘Toria’ Violet 30cm. Spread to 60cm. Front Elegant. Wide spreading. 8
Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ AGM Violet 70cm. Front Elegant shape. Exemplar form. 9
Nepeta ‘Rae Crug’ Violet 35cm Front Elegant. Distinct. 7
Nepeta sibirica Violet 80cm Front/ mid Upright. Hardy. More damp tolerant. Elegant. Spreads well. Striking flowers. 8
Nepeta sibirica ‘Altai’ Violet 40cm Front As for Sibirica but shorter . 8
Nepeta sibirica ‘Souvenir d’Andre Chaudron’ Violet 70cm Front/ mid As for Sibirica. Floriferous. 9
Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ Lavender 1m. Spread 1m Front/ mid One of the most popular forms for the well known billowing shape of Nepeta. Floriferous. 9
Nepeta ‘Six Hills Gold’ Lavender 50cm. Front Smaller, variegated foliage and as floriferous as ‘Six Hills Giant’. 9
Nepeta stewartiana Purple/ blue 1.1m. Spread to 1.2m. Mid/ back Vigourous. Staking required. Elegant. 7
Nepeta stewartiana ‘BWJ7999’ Purple/ blue 1.5m Back As for Stewartiana. 7
Nepeta subsessilis Purple/ blue 1.1m Mid/ back Large flowers and leaves. More damp tolerant. Strong, upright. 7
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Blue Dreams’ Purple/ blue 45cm Front As for Subsessilis plus flower density good for plant size. 8
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Candy Cat’ Pale pink 90cm Mid As for Subsessilis. Plus lime foliage. 8
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Cool Cat’ Purple/ blue 75cm Front/ mid As for Subsessilis but smaller leaves and terminal spikes. 7
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Laufen’ Purple/ blue 60cm Front As for Subsessilis but flowers and leaves very large for plant size. 8
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Nimbus’ = ‘Yanim’ Purple/ blue 60cm Front As for Subsessilis but lovely compact shape. 7
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Pink Dreams’ Pink hues which change as flower ages 60cm Front As for Subsessilis but very floriferous. Compact. 8
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Sweet Dreams’ Pink 60cm Front As for Subsessilis. Compact. 7
Nepeta subsessilis ‘Washfield’ Purple/ blue 70cm Front As for Subsessilis with huge flowers. 9
Nepeta subsessillis pink-flowered Pink 60cm Front As for Subsessilis ‘Sweet Dreams’ 7
Nepeta teydea Violet 1m Mid/ back / container Container grow if drainage not excellent. Distinct. Upright. 7
Nepeta transcaucasia ‘Blue Infinity’ Violet To 90cm Front/ mid Delicate, flowers at intervals along stem not at spike. Dense, good shape. 7
Nepeta troodii Violet 75cm Front/ mid Similar to subsessilis forms but not damp tolerant. Strong, upright. 7
Nepeta tuberosa Container grow if overwinter conditions damp, but worth the trouble. 9
Nepeta ‘Veluws Blauwtje’ Lavender 70cm Front Delicate 7
Nepeta x faassenii AGM Lavender 50cm Front Bushy habit. Sterile. 9
Nepeta x faassenii ‘Alba’ White 30cm Front Early flowering. 7
Nepeta x faassenii ‘Blue Wonder’ Deep lavender 45cm Front Bushy habit. 7
Nepeta x faassenii ‘Gletschereis’ Pale lilac 50cm Front Bushy habit. Distinctive foliage. 8
Nepeta x faassenii ‘Kit Kat’ Lavender 40cm Front Bushy habit, compact shape. 7
Nepeta x faassenii ‘Select’ Deep violet 45cm Front Bushy habit. 7
Nepeta x faassenii ‘Superba’ Lavender 50cm Front Bushy habit. 7
Nepeta yunnanensis Lavender 1.5m Back Strong. Elegant. Long flowering. 8

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