Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Lesser Calamint
Calamintha nepeta

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Calamintha (kal-uh-MIN-tha) (Info)
Species: nepeta (NEP-eh-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Calamintha nepeta var. nepeta
Synonym:Calamintha nepetoides
Synonym:Clinopodium nepeta
Synonym:Satureja calamintha var. nepeta
Synonym:Satureja nepeta

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Weezingreens
Thumbnail #1 of Calamintha nepeta by Weezingreens

By Weezingreens
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By Weezingreens
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By kizilod
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By kizilod
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By ampy
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By sanannie
Thumbnail #7 of Calamintha nepeta by sanannie

There are a total of 10 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive pvantuyl On Oct 11, 2010, pvantuyl from McLean, VA wrote:

About 3 years ago, I planted one of these in a garden otherwise filled with ornamental sages, lavenders, germander, achillea, catmint, agastache, and the like. We have clay soil amended annually with a bit of humus from the garden store. This minty plant thrives with lots of sun, little to no water, and DC-area heat and humidity. It is very attractive, complements the other plans perfectly, grows well without overgrowing, and smells nice and minty. I'll be planting some more for next season.

Neutral bmuller On Feb 28, 2007, bmuller from Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:

I like the look of this plant (especially in bloom)--and its fragrance--and its appeal to bees and butterflies. (It's also nice--used sparingly--as a tea herb, in a mixture of other herbs.) But you should take the word INVASIVE very seriously here....

Positive sanannie On Dec 3, 2006, sanannie from White Lake, ON (Zone 4b) wrote:

If you're looking for a Boxwood hedge substitute for the north, Calamintha nepeta might fit the bill! Ok, it's not evergreen, but it's such a nice, aromatic, compact plant and if planted fairly closely it will form a good looking hedge effect. The flowers are a bonus.

The only caution I would give is if you are planting it next to a walkway, be aware that it attracts bees like crazy when in flower. I have a planting of 7, forming a hedge along an informal walkway but the bees seem so busy and happy at their task that they don't notice passersby at all.

Although related to to mints, Calamintha nepeta is clump-forming and does not run at all and has been extremely well behaved in my garden for 8 years now. Apparently, they do well in the northwest, northeast and upper midwest, but struggle in the south.

They have a woody base and I cut mine back hard in the fall to keep it's nice shape. Then neat little rounded mounds emerge in the spring. If I had a formal herb garden, or knot garden I think this plant would be perfect as an edging.

Positive kizilod On Aug 28, 2005, kizilod from Uxbridge, MA wrote:

This plant has beautiful clouds of flowers in August and September. The tiny flowers have subtle purple speckles, but look solid white from a distance. It is fairly drought tolerant, and has done well in the hottest area of my yard (full sun, flanked on two sides by pavement). I should mention that the flowers are very popular with enormous wasps and hornets.

Positive Weezingreens On Sep 11, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

This is my first year growing Lesser Calamint. I started the plants from seed indoors in the spring. The young plants are quite sturdy, branching from the base. The leaves are a gray green, slightly hairy, and have a bold sawtoothed edge on the mature leaves. These plants have a distinct pennyroyal-like aroma when one brushes the leaves. The flavor of the leaves is similar to spearmint.

The flowers began to appear in late August. They are very small, lavender, snapdragon-like blooms with tiny violet speckles in their throats. As a first year plant, it is altogether pleasing, but perhaps a marginal perennial in our climate, so it's survival in my garden remains to be be seen.

This plant is native to Southern Europe.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Lecanto, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Louisville, Kentucky
Uxbridge, Massachusetts
Mason, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Enid, Oklahoma
Leesburg, Virginia
Mc Lean, Virginia
Warrenton, Virginia

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