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Even though it looks like it, Japanese knotweed is not bamboo

Bamboo has a bad reputation in Maine. Many gardeners think of it as an incredibly invasive and aggressive plant. However, much of this is because Mainers mistake Japanese knotweed, an incredibly invasive plant that has damaged many Maine ecosystems, for bamboo.

That’s right: Japanese knotweed is not bamboo.

“Many people call Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) Mexican bamboo or just bamboo,” said Gary Fish, state horticulturist at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Wildlife (DACF). “It is not a grass like true bamboo, but it does have jointed stems like true bamboo.”

But Japanese knotweed and true bamboo are not even in the same family.

“They’re distinctly different plants,” said. “Knotweed is more like buckwheat. Even though it has that type of stem, they’re not even near related.”

The fear is legitimate given the destructive nature of Japanese knotweed, but also misplaced.

“Japanese knotweed is one of the most invasive plants in the world,” Fish said. “It is so easily spread by little fragments in fill soil or on equipment. It causes major problems for many of our streams and rivers because it colonizes the banks and channels the water which speeds up the water causing erosion and flooding. It can also ruin asphalt areas as the growing points are very sharp and tough.”

There are ways you can tell the difference between the two.

“If you can snap the ‘cane’ as you can with Japanese knotweed, then it’s not bamboo,” said Jennifer Estrada, co-owner of New England Bamboo Company in Rockport, Massachusetts.

However, some bamboos are aggressive. There are two primary types of bamboo: running and clumping. Running bamboos grow using rhizomes, which are horizontal underground portions of the stem that act like roots and allow the plant to spread across the surface of the soil.

“Running bamboos in the Phyllostachys genus like golden bamboo, Spectabilis, Nuda and others are very aggressive,” Fish said. “Their underground rhizomes spread the plants very quickly. I would not suggest that anyone use running bamboos in their yards. It will take over very large areas.”

Think of those troublesome weeds that spread all over your garden and need to be pulled up from the ground in one continuous go — many of those grow using rhizomes, too.

Even these running bamboo species are not technically invasive.

“I would call it more like locally invasive rather than it might take over a bed as opposed to something that’s going to escape and survive in the forest and start displacing native,” Wallhead said. “I would think of it more with its competitiveness along with something like herbaceous perennials that also spread by rhizomes, things like mint or chamomile that can be known to spread but we don’t have forests full of those plants.”

Some Maine gardeners have experience with this weed-like bamboo taking over their gardens and are traumatized by the experience. Others seem open to experimenting with clumping bamboos and have done so successfully.

Jessica Thurston has been growing bamboo in Portland for five years. Thurston grows clumping bamboo without issue, but said her mother has planted running bamboo in the past.

“They have taken over her property completely, and onto neighbors’ properties, and the neighbors hate it,” Thurston said. “Cutting simply does not work. The only safe way to grow running bamboos is in large planters that do not have ground contact.”

Like Thurston, gardeners can select bamboo species that are less aggressive.

“Clumping bamboos [in the] Fargesia species like rufa or nitida will take a much longer time to spread,” Fish said. “Most don’t consider these to be invasive plants as long as they are kept in check in someone’s yard. I suggest that people only consider clumping bamboos. I expect we may end up regulating the running bamboos in the future.”

Wallhead said that when you are selecting a bamboo, elect for one that has been bred to be less aggressive or is known to form clumps.

“Generally the nurseries that propagate or sell bamboo have good descriptions on their sites of the grow characteristics of the bamboo,” Wallhead said.

If you have your heart set on the aesthetics of running bamboo, which is more spaced out than its clumping counterpart, you can also take measures to keep it from spreading, like installing underground barriers to block the rhizomes.

“The only way to prevent them from invading almost any open area is with a very heavy plastic barrier that is 30 inches deep and about two inches above ground,” Fish said.

Or, running bamboos can be grown in containers.

“Containers are great for bamboo because you can obviously manage to grow if the container is sitting on the soil,” Wallhead said. “If you see plants growing around the base, they can be pretty easily removed.”

Summary of 26 Heavenly Bamboo Selections Evaluated for Invasive Potential in Florida

Over the course of nearly 2 decades, the resident or wild-type form of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and 25 additional selections have been evaluated for landscape performance and invasive potential in various trial locations in Florida. Overall, in northern Florida (Quincy and Citra), ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Umpqua Chief’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Monfar’ (Sienna Sunrise®), ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Greray’ (Sunray®), ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Murasaki’ (Flirt™), ‘SEIKA’ (Obsession™), and ‘Twilight’ performed well throughout much of the study with average ratings between 3.0 and 4.9 (1 to 5 scale). In southern Florida (Balm and Fort Pierce), ‘AKA’ (Blush Pink™), ‘Compacta’, ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Firestorm’™, ‘Greray’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Harbour Dwarf’, ‘Jaytee’ (Harbor Belle™), ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Monum’ (Plum Passion®), ‘Murasaki’, and ‘SEIKA’ performed well with average ratings between 3.0 and 5.0. Among selections evaluated, plant sizes were categorized as small, medium, or large, where the final plant height ranged from 20 to 129 cm, and the plant perpendicular width ranged from 15 to 100 cm. Almost three-fourths of the selections evaluated had little to no fruiting when compared with the wild-type form. ‘AKA’, ‘Chime’, ‘Filamentosa’, ‘Firehouse’, ‘Firepower’, ‘Firestorm’, ‘Greray’, ‘Lemon- Lime’, ‘Moon Bay’, and ‘SEIKA’ did not fruit at any of the trial sites. In northern Florida, small amounts of fruit (94% to 99.9% reduction) were observed for ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Harbour Dwarf’, ‘Jaytee’, ‘Monfar’, ‘Murasaki’, ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Twilight’, and the twisted leaf selection. Moderate amounts of fruit (62% to 83% reduction) were observed for ‘Alba’, ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Lowboy’, ‘Moyer’s Red’, and ‘Umpqua Chief’. Heavy fruiting comparable or greater than the wild type was observed for ‘Compacta’ and ‘Monum’. Pregermination seed viability ranged from 67% to 100% among fruiting selections with 5.5% to 32.0% germination in 60 days. Germination was considerably higher (58% to 82%) when the germination time was extended to 168 days. Nuclear DNA content of selections were comparable to the wild type suggesting they are diploid. Thus, ploidy level does not appear to be associated with female infertility of those little-fruiting heavenly bamboo selections. Overall, our findings revealed certain selections of heavenly bamboo that have little potential to present an ecological threat and thus merit consideration for production and use. As a result, the University of Florida(UF)/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ (IFAS) Status Assessment on Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas infraspecific taxon protocol has concluded that ‘Firepower’ and ‘Harbour Dwarf’ are noninvasive and can be recommended for production and use in Florida. In addition, due to acceptable plant performance and low to no fruiting capacity, our research supports that ‘Firehouse’, ‘AKA’, ‘Firestorm’, ‘Gulfstream’, ‘Jaytee’, ‘Monfar’, ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Greray’, ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Murasaki’, and ‘SEIKA’ be considered for future noninvasive status approval.

Abstract

Over the course of nearly 2 decades, the resident or wild-type form of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and 25 additional selections have been evaluated for landscape performance and invasive potential in various trial locations in Florida. Overall, in northern Florida (Quincy and Citra), ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Umpqua Chief’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Monfar’ (Sienna Sunrise®), ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Greray’ (Sunray®), ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Murasaki’ (Flirt™), ‘SEIKA’ (Obsession™), and ‘Twilight’ performed well throughout much of the study with average ratings between 3.0 and 4.9 (1 to 5 scale). In southern Florida (Balm and Fort Pierce), ‘AKA’ (Blush Pink™), ‘Compacta’, ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Firestorm’™, ‘Greray’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Harbour Dwarf’, ‘Jaytee’ (Harbor Belle™), ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Monum’ (Plum Passion®), ‘Murasaki’, and ‘SEIKA’ performed well with average ratings between 3.0 and 5.0. Among selections evaluated, plant sizes were categorized as small, medium, or large, where the final plant height ranged from 20 to 129 cm, and the plant perpendicular width ranged from 15 to 100 cm. Almost three-fourths of the selections evaluated had little to no fruiting when compared with the wild-type form. ‘AKA’, ‘Chime’, ‘Filamentosa’, ‘Firehouse’, ‘Firepower’, ‘Firestorm’, ‘Greray’, ‘Lemon- Lime’, ‘Moon Bay’, and ‘SEIKA’ did not fruit at any of the trial sites. In northern Florida, small amounts of fruit (94% to 99.9% reduction) were observed for ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Harbour Dwarf’, ‘Jaytee’, ‘Monfar’, ‘Murasaki’, ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Twilight’, and the twisted leaf selection. Moderate amounts of fruit (62% to 83% reduction) were observed for ‘Alba’, ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Lowboy’, ‘Moyer’s Red’, and ‘Umpqua Chief’. Heavy fruiting comparable or greater than the wild type was observed for ‘Compacta’ and ‘Monum’. Pregermination seed viability ranged from 67% to 100% among fruiting selections with 5.5% to 32.0% germination in 60 days. Germination was considerably higher (58% to 82%) when the germination time was extended to 168 days. Nuclear DNA content of selections were comparable to the wild type suggesting they are diploid. Thus, ploidy level does not appear to be associated with female infertility of those little-fruiting heavenly bamboo selections. Overall, our findings revealed certain selections of heavenly bamboo that have little potential to present an ecological threat and thus merit consideration for production and use. As a result, the University of Florida(UF)/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ (IFAS) Status Assessment on Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas infraspecific taxon protocol has concluded that ‘Firepower’ and ‘Harbour Dwarf’ are noninvasive and can be recommended for production and use in Florida. In addition, due to acceptable plant performance and low to no fruiting capacity, our research supports that ‘Firehouse’, ‘AKA’, ‘Firestorm’, ‘Gulfstream’, ‘Jaytee’, ‘Monfar’, ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Greray’, ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Murasaki’, and ‘SEIKA’ be considered for future noninvasive status approval.

While the majority of introduced ornamental plants do not escape cultivation, some plants spread into natural areas, develop self-sustaining populations, and subsequently disrupt function and form of natural ecosystems (Pimentel et al., 2005; van Kleunen et al., 2018). Through the U.S. Executive Order 13112, an invasive species is defined as an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health [U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Invasive Species Information Center, 2021]. This is a global issue with worldwide efforts under way to increase our understanding of invasion biology (Dai et al., 2020; Dehnen-Schmutz et al., 2007; Theoharides and Dukes, 2007), management/control (Kettenring and Adams, 2011; Strgulc Krajšek et al., 2020), and risk/prevention (Bayón and Vilà, 2019; Brusati et al., 2014; Conser et al., 2015).

Alien (exotic non-native) species are thought to comprise as much as 80% of the nursery stock held by U.S. nurseries (Hulme et al., 2018). Traits that might be economically beneficial to a nursery professional, such as disease/pest resistance, uniform germination and plant growth, and high fertility are traits that could also increase invasive potential (Anderson et al., 2006a, 2006b). The probability of plants becoming naturalized increases significantly with the number of years the plants were marketed and their ornamental value (Pemberton and Liu, 2009). Hence, unintentionally but indisputably, the ornamental horticulture industry has long been the primary source for invasive plants; and this is a targeted issue of many countries (Bradley et al., 2011; Dehnen-Schmutz et al., 2007; Hulme et al., 2018; Lehan et al., 2013; Peters et al., 2006; Pyšek et al., 2011; Reichard and White 2001; van Kleunen et al., 2018).

In the past 2 decades, significant progress has been made by the ornamental industry to minimize the risk of invasive PIs. As early as 2001, experts from around the world met for a workshop designed to explore and develop workable approaches for reducing the introduction and spread on non-native invasive plants (Fay, 2001). Resultant voluntary codes of conduct have been adopted nationally by botanic gardens and the horticulture trade to help reduce the pathway of invasive plants (Burt et al., 2007; Heywood, 2014). Regional results of such efforts are promising, as a recent survey revealed that of the 6885 species grown by mid-Atlantic U.S. nurseries, only 4% were considered invasive in these respective states (Coombs et al., 2020). Simultaneously, plant breeders have been looking for and developing new cultivars with much reduced or eliminated invasive potential that can replace invasive ones (Ranney, 2006; Trueblood et al., 2010; Vining et al., 2012). To illustrate, in a 2015 survey of the southeastern U.S. nursery industry, 74% of participants expressed a positive opinion of sterile cultivar research and a willingness to sell sterile cultivars (Bechtloff et al., 2019). Moreover, growers have indicated that they would share information about alternatives to invasive species with their customers (Burt et al., 2007; Coats et al., 2011; Peters et al., 2006). Still, it can be acclaimed that attitude change alone is simply not enough to curtail landscape use of invasive ornamentals as newly released cultivars are largely not subject to invasive screening or introduction fees (Barbier et al., 2013).

Florida has the second largest ornamental industry in the country with total annual industry sales estimated at $10.7 billion (Hodges et al., 2016). Significant efforts have been made to accurately assess and predict the invasiveness of some exotic plant species commonly grown in Florida (Fox and Gordon, 2009; Gordon et al., 2008a, 2008b). The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is the only agency with regulatory authority to prevent the sale and distribution of invasive plants in the state (FDACS, Division of Plant Industry, 2021); yet, it is often too late for effective control once a plant species makes it to a governed noxious weed list. Many of the ornamentals listed as invasive by Florida’s Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC, 2019) or the UF/IFAS Status Assessment on Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas (UF/IFAS, 2021) are still in commercial production as cultivated forms that differ from the wild-type or resident species (Bechtloff et al., 2019; Wirth et al., 2004). In Florida, if a species is designated as invasive, all cultivars fall under this classification unless proven otherwise through an internally approved UF/IFAS infraspecific taxon protocol (ITP) evaluation. This protocol consists of 12 questions to determine 1) if the selection displays invasive traits that cause greater ecological impact than the wild-type or resident species and if it can be readily distinguished; and 2) the fecundity of the selection and its chances of regression or hybridization to characteristics of the wild-type (or naturalized resident species) (Lieurance et al., 2016).

Thus, over the past 2 decades, UF researchers have been working to determine the invasive potential of nearly 20 ornamental species and their cultivars (Wilson et al., 2012), including popular landscape plants, such as trailing lantana [Lantana montevidensis (Steppe et al., 2019; Wilson et al., 2020)], lantana [Lantana camara (Czarnecki and Deng, 2020; Czarnecki et al., 2014)], porterweed [Stachytarpheta sp. (Qian et al., 2021)], butterfly bush [Buddleja davidii (Wilson et al., 2004)], mexican petunia [Ruellia simplex (Wilson et al., 2009)], privet [Ligustrum sp. (Fetouh et al., 2020; Wilson et al., 2014b)], and japanese silver grass [Miscanthus sp. (Wilson and Knox, 2006)]. As part of planned breeding programs, UF breeders have developed genetic and molecular techniques to reduce the fecundity of plants, leading to sterile cultivars of mexican petunia (Freyre et al., 2012, 2016) and lantana (Czarnecki et al., 2012; Deng and Wilson, 2017; Deng et al., 2017, 2020). As a result of these efforts, the invasive wild types of mexican petunia and lantana are gradually being replaced with the new noninvasive, UF/IFAS ITP-approved cultivars that are also superior in flowering and performance (Knox et al., 2018a, 2018b, 2018c).

In addition to traditional breeding, a number of transgenic approaches have been explored to more quickly develop sterile cultivars, such as: 1) targeted expression of cytotoxin genes in reproductive tissues, 2) use of fusion genes to alter specific metabolic or hormone signaling pathways, and 3) alteration of specific reproductive tissue via ectopic expression of homeotic genes (Li et al., 2004). Still, there have been no deregulated or approved sterile, transgenic cultivars available for the industry; and concern surrounds the public perception of labels indicating genetic modification and the potential ability of other closely related plants to serve as a pollen source.

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) is a popular landscape plant with traits that have made it invasive in some locations. Heavenly bamboo is an evergreen, rhizomatous shrub with an upright multitrunked growth habit and tolerance of a variety of sun and soil conditions (Gilman, 1999). It is considered drought tolerant once established, with cold hardiness in zones 6 to 10 (USDA, Agriculture Research Service, 2012), thus its growing range and landscape use extend well beyond the southeastern and southwestern parts of the United States. Leaves have an alternate branching pattern and are tripinnately compound, often turning hues of pink to red in response to cooler temperature during the onset of winter. In spring, it produces panicles of white flowers held above the foliage. In fall, heavenly bamboo boasts an abundant display of red berries (each having one to three seeds) that persist through the winter and beyond. Berries contain cyanide and other alkaloids that, in large doses, have been proven toxic to cedar waxwings [Bombycilla cendrorum (Woldemeskel and Styer, 2010)]. Heavenly bamboo is versatile in the landscape, used as a specimen or in a container, border, or mass planting; and able to withstand heavy pruning. Commercial propagation is typically by cuttings, micropropagation, and division due to the inherent morpho-physiological dormancy of seeds that delays germination (Davies et al., 2018; Dehgan, 1984; Dirr and Heuser, 2006; Rhie et al., 2016). Combined, these ornamental features have led to the wide cultivation of the species, as well as its increased sales and availability over time. In Florida alone, the total economic output impact of heavenly bamboo was estimated at $2.35 million (Wirth et al., 2004). In the southeastern United States, heavenly bamboo was grown by 70% of survey respondents with reported sales of $15.7 million to $22.8 million in 2015 (Bechtloff et al., 2019).

Heavenly bamboo is native to forest understories of central China and Japan and west to India, and was introduced to the United States before 1804 (Langeland et al., 2008). It has escaped cultivation in nine states in the southeastern United States (USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2021), including Florida (eight counties) (Wunderlin et al., 2021). The FLEPPC lists heavenly bamboo as a Category I invasive species because it is ecologically damaging to natural areas (FLEPPC, 2019). Self-sustaining and expanding populations of heavenly bamboo have been found in natural plant communities of northern and central Florida where it is altering the light environment (Cherry, 2002) and displacing native vegetation (Langeland et al., 2008). Consequently, the UF/IFAS status assessment has concluded the species to be invasive and does not recommend its planting in northern Florida and central Florida; and recommends caution if planting in southern Florida (UF/IFAS, 2021). All cultivars or selections fall under this recommendation, unless evaluated and approved as noninvasive by the UF/IFAS ITP assessment.

Although the heavenly bamboo wild type is still commercially available, the nursery inventory predominately consists of cultivated selections that have been bred for improved and novel form and foliage color. In fact, there are 65 named cultivars in Japan and more than 40 cultivars have been catalogued in the JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, NC (Roethling et al., 2003). The invasive status of heavenly bamboo cultivars is dynamic, as we gradually learn more about their reproductive biology, ploidy, phenotypic stability, and long-term consequences. For nearly 2 decades, we have conducted a series of experiments that have evaluated more than 25 heavenly bamboo selections at multiple locations in Florida. Although some of these results have been asynchronously published (Knox and Wilson, 2006; Wilson et al., 2014a), a comprehensive review of these cultivars is lacking, and both growers and consumers remain largely confused about which cultivars are appropriate to plant. This paper serves to summarize the current status of heavenly bamboo and its selections, and provide recommendations for its landscape use in the United States.

Materials and methods

Expt. 1

In our initial study, plant performance and fruiting were evaluated for 10 selections of heavenly bamboo in comparison with the wild-type resident species at two locations in Florida (Wilson and Knox, 2006). Selections included were ‘Compacta’, ‘Filamentosa’, ‘Firepower’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Harbour Dwarf’, ‘Jaytee’, ‘Moon Bay’, ‘Monum’, ‘Royal Princess’, and ‘Umpqua Chief’ heavenly bamboo as described in Table 1 and Fig. 1. The study sites were located in northern Florida [Quincy (USDA hardiness zone 8b)] and southern Florida [Fort Pierce (USDA hardiness zone 9b)]. On 28 Jan. 2003, 1-gal container plants were installed on 4-ft centers in slightly raised beds covered with polyethylene mulch (Synthetic Industries, Alto, GA). Plants were irrigated and fertilized (15N–3.9P–8.3K Osmocote Plus; Scotts Co., Marysville, OH) similarly at the two sites for 100 weeks (encompassing two fruiting seasons). Details of field conditions, including rainfall, humidity, temperature, and soil analysis are reported by Wilson and Knox (2006).

Selection name, description, and corresponding reference of experiments conducted to determine landscape performance, growth, fruiting, and ploidy level of heavenly bamboo.

6 Different Types of Catmint Flowers

Discover the different types of Catmint flowers if you want to add beautiful, long-blooming, fragrant, and easy-to-grow flowers that will make an excellent addition to rock gardens and cottage gardens.

Last updated on September 19th, 2021 at 03:27 pm

If you wish to grow a perennial in your garden or yard that is absolutely beautiful, long blooming, tolerant towards all types of environmental threats and is also easy to grow, look no further than Nepeta, or better known by its common name, Catmint.

Catmint (Nepeta mussinii) is an aromatic perennial herb that is best known for its clusters of lavender blue flowers, often with subtle touches of the gorgeous violet color. These flowers grow amid lush gray-green foliage which is characterized by plush leaves that have quite a delicate and lacy appearance.

This plant variety is a member of the mint family and is also often referred to as catnip (Nepeta cataria), one of its other common names. Although catnip and catmint are basically the same plant and have great many characteristics and features in common, many people still wonder if there is any difference between the two. The only disparity found to-date is that Catmint has a far greater and better ornamental value in any garden than Catnip.

A mature catmint plant reaches 24 inches in height and 2 feet wide which is its mature size on average. The plant thrives best either in full sun or partial shade and most of its varieties bloom best in early summer or late spring.

Catmint plants are an excellent choice for rock gardens as well as cottage gardens because of their sprawling growth habits and also their flower spikes and flush of blooms that look so breathtakingly beautiful.

Why Catmint Belongs To Your Garden

If you are still wondering why you should grow catmint flowers in your garden, you must be made aware of why it is an absolute must-have and must-grow perennial.

You would be surprised to know that Catmint or Nepeta flowers bloom twice a year which is amazing because not many perennial plants are able to do that, especially in the northern part of the world. They also grow earlier and more rapidly than a variety of other summer perennials like Salvia, for example.

Another important reason is that these flowers sport a very unique and aesthetically pleasing combination of colors which is utterly soothing to the eyes. If anything, you could look at the flowers for as long you want and end up feeling refreshed and lively.

Even if you don’t own a big garden where you could plant your favorite trees and flowers, you have nothing to worry about because catmint grows equally well in pots, baskets and containers. And lucky for you, they look as beautiful in those containers as they normally do in an open outdoor space.

Different Varieties of Catmint Flowers

Catmint plant has several different varieties and cultivars, each of which has unique features and uses. Most of them are grown as soon as the spring season arrives in all its glory by most people in their gardens as well as in different pots and containers.

These are six of the most commonly and popularly grown types of catmint flowers and interestingly, all except one share almost the same kind of gorgeous blue flowers that perfectly strike against the gray-grey foliage.

Siberian Catmint

Known for its luscious cinnamon-like smell, gorgeous blue-green leaves and red stems, Siberian Catmint (Nepeta sibirica) is an upright plant that grows up to almost 4 feet (8 inches) in height. In terms of width, it spreads about 24 inches. It is best described as a dense herbaceous perennial that grows with a mounded form.

This catmint flower blooms in early spring and keeps blooming till the mid of the season. However, as soon as the winter season arrives, the plant dies back into the ground. It is typically grown as a fragrant ornamental and some even use it as an edible flower.

Siberian catmint is largely characterized by its spikes of beautiful royal blue flowers that are lightly-scented and sport some subtle lavender tones that are very evident amid the lush green foliage. They grow most effectively and successfully when they are planted together in the form of a group. It produces small, point leaves that are as fragrant as the flowers and they remain a greenish-gray color throughout the entire blooming period.

The one thing that sets the Siberian catmint apart from numerous other garden plants is its relatively fine texture; however, the fruit of this plant doesn’t have any ornamental significance and its foliage is also less refined as compared to the other catmint varieties.

It prefers growing in full sun or partial shade conditions and is incredibly drought-tolerant. It also requires occasional upkeep and maintenance in order for it to grow successfully and attain full height. Although Siberian catmint is really attractive to butterflies, bees and birds, it doesn’t really appeal to cats as much and is also deer-resistant.

If you are looking to grow Siberian catmint, you must know that is best recommended for landscape applications such as container panting, mass planting, general garden use and as groundcover. The plant is a great choice for gardens, however, due to its amazing height; it is best for planting in outdoor container and pots. However, in the latter case, you must keep in mind that they need to be watered much more frequently than they would when growing in a garden or yard.

Japanese Catmint

This is a short-stalked catmint plant type and is quite different from the other edging, low catmint varieties. It features an upright mound of glossy and bushy green leaves that offer a breathtaking contrast against the violet blue flowers that grow in cute, little clusters.

Japanese Catmint (Nepeta subsessilis) has a more upright and compact growing habits as compared to its other varieties. It is native to some excessively damp areas of Japan and has a great quality of being able to be tolerant to high moisture levels, unlike several other catmint species.

This plant grows to an average height of 18-23 inches and has a spread of 1.00-1.50 feet. Its blooming period begins during the month of May and lasts all the way till September. The plant produces showy spikes of beautiful deep violet blue flowers that are bell-shaped and have maroon spots all over them. The flowers grow in tubular clusters throughout the summer season and particularly known for being fairly large in size as compared to the flowers of the other catmint varieties.

This herby perennial plant grows best under full sun or partial shade and requires the kind of soil that is consistently moist. One important thing to keep in mind when growing Japanese catmint is that you should never let them dry out between their watering periods.

The foliage of this catmint type is known to be aromatic and toothed and is usually marked by leafy stems. It is also drought tolerant, but not as much as the other catmint species and varieties. Due to its unique aroma and such a bright combination of flowers and foliage, Japanese catmint greatly attracts bees and other similar insects, and also to cats to some extent, however, too much foliage can result in an empty stomach for them.

The plant is best grown in pots or containers, as well as at the front of a mixed border or in the form of a low-growing hedge. In order to ensure that they bloom well and produce a bushy growth, the need to be pruned back after the flowering period and also be divided into groups in order to prevent congested clumps.

Yellow Catmint

The Yellow catmint (Nepeta govaniana) variety is native to the Himalayas and is best known to be a graceful, upright plant. It has well-branched, slender and long stems that produce soft green flowers and gorgeous creamy yellow flowers.

It is a sticky herbaceous perennial that is popular for its height and grows up to almost 4 feet in height on an average basis. It has quite a slim bottom that is beautifully curved and gives the plant quite an elegant touch. Unlike the other catmint varieties, this plant thrives in cool and moist places that are not soggy or too wet.

Yellow catmint grows to an average height of 120 cm and has a spread of 30 cm wide. Its flowers bloom in great abundance during the months of July, August and September and have quite a clump-forming growth habitat. Like other catmint varieties, this type also largely attracts bees and butterflies and is best grown out in the yard or garden as well as in pots and baskets.

Yellow catmint is often described as a very different kind of plant because of its quite distinctive upright and erect growing habit as well the unique color of its flowers. The flowers grow on loose spikes and sport a soft yellow color with a darker yellow colored lip. The yellowness offers a striking contrast against pale apple green foliage that looks absolutely stunning in outdoor spaces. The foliage produces a great minty aroma that is very distinctive and greatly appeals to all the birds and insects.

When growing yellow catmint, it is essential to remember that it is difficult to grow them in very cold and harsh winter conditions and prefers moist, cool soil at all times that doesn’t dry out.

Greek Catmint

Commonly found in European gardens, Greek Catmint (Nepeta parnassica) is a huge, robust and tall plant that grows to an average height of 6 feet which is almost 48 inches. It spreads over 36 inches in width with a bloom size of 1”-2”.

Greek catmint produces thick strong stems with spikes of beautiful purple blue flowers that bloom best during summer and autumn. Due to its incredible height, this catmint variety looks stunning at the back of a hot border or the corner of your garden which is likely to impress anyone who past your garden.

It is a perennial plant that grows to its full height under full sun and prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline types of soil for growing. Its leaves are amazingly fragrant and sport heart shape with a subtle combination of green-gray color. The flowers are showy and scented and they often grow in a variety of different colors such as lavender pink and blue. The blooming period of the flowers begins sometime during mid-summer and lasts almost till the early fall season.

Greek Catmint has originated from the mountains of Albania and Greece which is one of the reasons why this species is so strong, sturdy and perfect tolerant towards heat, drought and tough soils. When growing this plant, it is important that you sow the seeds into good soil-based compost and then cover the seeds immediately with compost or fine grit in order to give them a full and proper season of growth.

Six Hills Giant Catmint

This has to be one of the most popular catmint varieties and is also one of the tallest growing Nepetas. It is quite a showy long-blooming perennial herb mainly for its huge size and the many flowers that it produces.

Six Hills Giant (Nepeta x faassenii) is the hardiest known Nepeta and a herbaceous perennial that produces stems which are 2-3 feet long, but the plant has an arching habit or form that brings down its great height to almost 24 inches.

It is quite a low maintenance plant and since it is a drought-tolerant groundcover, which is the only kind of summer care that it really needs. This plant is greatly beneficial for pollinators and also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It prefers a dry type of soil for growing that is not particularly fertile.

Like a few other catmint species, Six Hills Giant is an incredible performer that mainly stems from its great versatility. The fact that it is so versatile means that it can be used in many different situations for a variety of purposes including in gravel gardens, under planting roses, along path, spilling along walls, wildlife gardens, cottage gardens and also in front of the perennial border.

The plant thrives best in full sun or partially shaded conditions and prefers soils that are well drained and dry to medium on average. The flowers of this plant are a stunning lavender-violet color and they are shaped like small trumpets. It is also highly noted for its aromatic greenish-gray foliage that looks splendid against the richly colored flowers.

Walkers’ Low Catmint

This catmint species is native to Turkey, Caucasus, and Northern Iraq. Walker’s Low (Nepeta racemosa) is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows almost 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. It is believed to be an incredibly gifted plant that is most popularly grown as an ornamental. It was first introduced in Europe during the 1980s and its unique name basically refers to a place in England.

The main beauty of the Walker’s Low Catmint resides in its attractive clumps of upright stems that grow in an ascending manner, the amazingly aromatic gray-green foliage and also its gorgeous white, blue, and purple flowers.

This plant grows best dry to medium, well-drained soils and prefers full sun to partial shade sun conditions. It is often considered to be an extremely aromatic member of the mint family, a quality that greatly attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

The lavender blue flowers of this plant bloom in great abundance during the early summer season and then continue growing rapidly throughout the entire blooming period. It loves growing in dry soil conditions and is quite notable for being amazingly drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant as well as humidity-tolerant.

There is truly no doubt about the fact that catmint flowers are absolutely beautiful and they really do deserve to be a part of every yard and garden. Not only do they have such a distinctive and pleasant smell, but they will add such beauty, grace, and splendor wherever you plant them that will just blow you away!