Herbs make the garden livelier and accent it with richness, unique fragrances, and texture. While Calamintha may not be the most popular shrub in the US, it definitely warrants a more important role in the landscapes.
Calamint (Calamintha) is a hardy plant that produces flashy and abundant delicate cut flowers from early summer to autumn season. This deer-resistant perennial provides several cultivars and varieties.
This makes it the best addition to all kinds of gardens. A unique minty smell characterizes the plant. Calamintha is native to most parts across the globe, particularly the Mediterranean, with a few varieties that are native to North America.
Calamintha plants are bushy, thick-stemmed herbs spreading from stems like many mint plats. Its leaves are highly textured and heavily veined, most having ridges and many with fuzzy or hairy plants.
Blossoms are two-lipped slim tubes in colors, ranging from purple to red and into cream and white. Calamintha can self-sow; however, its more invasive characteristics are got from the varying roots and stem that root at internodes and help in creating new plants.
The plant grows to a height of 12 – 24 inches, with approximately a two-foot spread. From summertime into autumn months, you will get light blue, pink, white, red, or lilac flower blooms like a daisy. Some medicinal varieties include C. sylvatica and C. nepeta.
How to plant Calamintha
Few retailers sell this plant’s seedlings in the US, so you will probably have to depend on cuttings or seeds. Fortunately, both are simple to grow so that you will have the scented flowers very quickly.
It would help if you started seeds in a greenhouse or indoors in early spring (make sure you keep the temperature about 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure you sow the seeds to a depth of ¼ inch or less in well-draining soil and keep the seeds moist.
Under such an environment, it will take around 14 days to sprout, with leafy growth coming immediately. Spring is the best time to start the cuttings of Calamintha.
You should take the best-sized stem cutting and stick it and straight in well-drained soil. Make sure the soil stays moist, and it will be established in around one month. Whether you began with cuttings or seeds, you should transplant the seedlings into their permanent spots.
It would be best if you did this when they have a sturdy root sytem and are actively growing or early in the summer. The main roots of the Calamintha like spreading out.
The plant will flourish will plenty of ground space; however, you can contain it in a big plant container or a raised bed. If you go for an encased choice, you might have to stay abreast of division to keep the size down or root pruning.
This means you need to be armed with the right gardening tools. Drought tolerant plants are the mature ones; however, you should not take that chance with a baby plant.
Ensure the soil is constantly moist until the baby plant has matured. If you are fortunate, you might see some blossoms within a couple of months.
Varieties of Calamintha
The varieties that do well in different areas of the US include:
- C. Syvatica
This herb is also referred to as C. ascendens, C. Officinalis, or C. baetica. It also goes by a few daily names, too: woodlands calamint and common calamint. C. Sylvatica is a low-growing plant that provides lavender leaves and flowers.
You can use them for making tea, with an aroma said to be similar to a mixture of marjoram and mint.
- C. Nepeta
This plant is also called botanically as C. nepetoides. It is popularly referred to as field balm or lesser calamint. C.nepeta is native to Great Britain and Southern Europe; however, it flourishes in most American gardens.
However, most others find this plant’s small light blue to purple blooms a charming perimeter softener, particularly in lime-heavy soil. This herb is, at times, cultivated for medicine for home use. You can use it to treat painful menses, depression, disorders, and sleeplessness.
- C. Coccinea
This is a small shrub with red flowers and slim stems. C.coccinea is a plant variety that’s highly resistant to drought. It is also referred to as red basil, scarlet balm, red savory, scarlet calamint, southern calamint, red mint shrub, and scarlet wild basil.
C.coccinea is native to the deep, sandy part of Florida and the southeast Gulf Coast. The plant is a favorite of the sulfur butterflies, which are popular in these parts. Bees and hummingbirds also like a scarlet balm.
- C. Grandiflora
This variety has beautiful, quite big, pink flowers that have earned C. Grandiflora the nickname “large-flowered Calamintha. The solid-colored version prefers the sun, while the variegated type will do best in a shaded area.
This herb’s scent has been described as a combination of pennyroyal, catnip, pineapple, and thyme.
Choose any soil
Where the sun is not harsh, this plant can usually take full sunshine. However, if you reside in a hot area, position this butterfly-attractor so that it will get a little afternoon shade.
This resilient shrub flourishes in shallow, loamy, sandy, or rocky, well-drained soils and also in containers. C. Grandiflora will flourish in neutral or acidic soils and can grow in extremely alkaline soils.
As C. Grandiflora is not known in the US, sourcing baby plants may be difficult, and your best course of action may be to get a cutting from a neighbor or buy seeds.
Plant Calamintha and forget
Although Calamintha is part of the mint family, it does not need the near-swampy conditions true mint requires. Once the plant establishes itself, it is very drought-tolerant.
The plant requires a little or no fertilizer. If your soil is horrible, wait for early spring and apply a basic, balanced mixture.
Calamintha isn’t bothered by most diseases or pests, but small insect-like whitefly that you can use horticultural soap to treat.
Close to the end of the growing season, some people report having seen powdery mildew on the leaves of this plant. If it has a severe disease, you should cut the plant back greatly for a new start the following season.
Tolerant of nearly any soil, and providing purported medical advantages, tasty tea, and almost continuous summer blossoms, Calamintha certainly merits a spot in your landscape.
How to use Calamintha
Calamintha has, for years, been a medicinal herb with uses that range from topical to epidemic. The leaves’ high menthol content makes this plant the best dressing for bruises, as well as a rub for problems with the bronchial.
Avoid using or handling this herb if you’re pregnant. But how do you use this plant to season?
Traditionally, Calamintha has been used in flavoring meats. Some more closely look like thyme, while others resemble zingy basil. Calamintha plants are eye-catching to bees and butterflies, as well as adding to potpourri.
If you want a refreshing cold or hot tea, all you need to do is dry the leaves. This versatile plant can be one of your favorites for its usefulness, exquisiteness, and carefree nature.