Nepeta is a genus of many species of mostly perennials. Ornamental Nepeta is often called catmint but should not be confused with the catmint that cats adore. The drug of choice for cats is Nepeta cataria (catnip). Looking similar but it is larger and more loosely formed with white flowers that have purple spots.
The Nepeta I like to grow in the garden is Nepeta faassenii ‘Dropmore Blue’. This variety is much showier and compact with large lavender blue flowers. It also will not attract cats into your yard.
Nepeta can be grown in any well drained soil and is very drought tolerant and heat and sun tolerant. The leaves are aromatic and it will bloom from early summer to frost. It is probably one of the best plants for attracting bees that you can grow. I use it extensively in our garden because of our apiary. The bees love it.
Plants are fast growers, vigorous and never bothered by disease or pests. To keep Nepeta looking its best, cut it severely back into a tight clump about half waythrough the summer. It will quickly re-grow and produce a fresh blush of blooms to feed the bees right though until late autumn.
There are pink and white flowering varieties however I do not find them to be as reliable or showy as the lavender blue types. As well the bees are not as attracted to them.
You can use nepeta in rock gardens, as edging, to cover slopes, and in borders and pots. Plant with bright orange flowers for a show stopping display.
Nepeta ‘Dropmore Blue’
Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’
Plant Pros: bee favorite / drought tolerant / deer resistant / disease and pest free / blooms all summer / fast grower
Plant Cons: if over watered or fertilized will center out / might self seed