Clinopodium Species, Lesser Calamint

Clinopodium nepeta

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Clinopodium (klin-oh-POH-dee-um) (Info)
Species: nepeta (NEP-eh-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Calamintha nepeta
Synonym:Calamintha officinalis var. nepeta
Synonym:Melissa nepeta
Synonym:Satureja calamintha subsp. nepeta
Synonym:Thymus nepeta


Alpines and Rock Gardens



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Lecanto, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Louisville, Kentucky

Earleville, Maryland

Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Mason, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Enid, Oklahoma

Leesburg, Virginia

Mc Lean, Virginia

Warrenton, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 9, 2017, ibrakeforgardens from Kitchener,
Canada wrote:

I live in Kitchener, ON, Canada - zone 5.
I have clay soil, that has been amended somewhat.
About 3 years ago I planted Calamint 'Blue Cloud' in a sunny location with late afternoon shade.
It definitely needs a bit of space, but at this point does not seem in any way invasive, nor did it self seed.
I have now transplanted it to another spot in my garden, which will give it a bit more room to grow with no other plants around it.
I cut the calamint back in the late winter/early spring of this year. The plant is now about 3'X3', but the roots themselves only take up about 18"X18". I'm pretty sure I could have trimmed it again in July, but I knew I would be transplanting it, and I didn't want to over-stress the plant.
I think it's a nice plant with ... read more


On Jul 10, 2016, Donnabeverin from Earleville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I live in zone 7 in Md on Eastern shore and Calamintha nepeta grows like a groundcover in my yard. It is successful in full shade and sun. It blooms all summer. It stays around 6-10 inches until it send up spikes with blooms which are no more than 10-12 inches high for me so I consider it a groundcover. It is very fragrant with a pleasant minty, cap nip type of smell. It spreads readily being hardy and probably spreads by tiny seeds also. I do not consider it a nuisance because if they pop up where you don't want them it is very easy to just pull them out, pot them up and share with friends.


On Jan 10, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Clouds of tiny blooms nonstop all summer. The flowers are a very pale skim-milk blue approaching white, though there are also pure white-flowered cultivars. The flowers are very attractive to beneficial pollinators though some are wasps.

It gives off a delightful minty fragrance when brushed against.

Attractive, adaptable, drought tolerant. Does best in full sun with well-drained soil, but I've also seen it bloom well in part shade.

This does not spread vegetatively, but I've found it to self-sow a little too freely in the garden. It isn't invasive of wild areas in N. America.

Does not do well in the hot summers south of Z7 in eastern N. America. Armitage says it's hardy to Z4.


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.


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....


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... read more


On Aug 28, 2005, kizilod from Cumberland, RI (Zone 6b) 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.


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.