2021 Perennial of the Year

Mon. Jan. 11, 2021

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: 2021 Perennial of the Year

The Perennial Plant of the year for 2021 has been announced. One of the highlights of the plant has to do with pollinators. As we understand more on more the value of our pollinators, this seems appropriate.

the native rusty patched bumblebee is on endangered list

The perennial plant program started in 1990. Perennials are chosen due to their ability to adapt to a wide range of growing climates, low maintenance, have multiple-season interest and are relatively pest/disease-free.

This year they’ve chosen Calamintha nepeta subsp nepeta. The tiny white flowers, some tinged blue, look like a cloud of confetti blooming from early summer to fall on this plant.

Calamintha Nepeta sbsp nepeta

Undemanding and dependable, it provides the perfect foil for other summer bloomers and foliage. This full-sun perennial has a low mounding/ bushy habit, ideal for the front of the border, rock gardens and more.

Photo by Mark Dwyer

While durable and pest-free, Calamintha nepeta, as mentioned, also checks two important boxes for gardeners: bees and other pollinators work the flowers throughout the summer and the aromatic foliage is deer-resistant. Bonus!

Calamintha nepeta

Calamintha nepeta is a perennial herb of the mint family native to Europe and the Mediterranean region. It typically forms a dense, indefinitely spreading, foliage mat (due to rhizomes) with upright leafy flowering stems rising to 12-18” tall. The ovate, gray-green leaves (to 3/4” long) are very fragrant when crushed.

Here’s the caveat, it’s a zone 5 plant, but with warmer temperatures, it’s worth a shot in zone 4. Subsp. nepeta is a more vigorous performer with slightly larger flowers and larger leaves (to 1.25” long) which may be dried for potpourris or sachets.