Catmints (Nepeta) have two particularly good things going for them – their aromatic foliage and their long season of flowers – but there has been little serious interest in developing new varieties until recently.
But Hans Hansen, of Walters Gardens in Michigan, has now introduced four varieties and the latest, ‘Cat’s Pajamas’, looks to be a genuine step forward.
Reaching just 30-35cms in height, with a spread of 45-50cm, flowering begins in May and runs through to September and the mass of purplish stems carries bold indigo blue flowers.
But here’s the thing: the flowers are not carried at the tips of the shoots or scattered over the top half of the stems. Instead, they pack the stems from the tips almost down to soil level. The result is a far more floriferous plant than we’ve previously seen in catmints and, once the flowers are over, pinkish purple calyces continue the display.
‘Cat’s Pajamas’ is a hybrid between N. x faassenii ‘Purrsian Blue’ (itself a hybrid of the old favourite ‘Six Hills Giant’ and an earlier introduction from Walters Gardens) and a rarely grown mat-forming species from Turkey, N. phylloclamys.
I asked Fi Reddaway, holder of the Plant Heritage National Plant Collection of Nepeta, if this new hybrid is as good as it seems.
“Its selling points are indeed super impressive,” she told me, “with incredible floriferous stem length flowering. The mound is very attractive and the low height a great addition to the lower growing forms. Its deep colouring, from the parent 'Purrsian Blue', is stunning, such a great introduction for the richness of its flowers.”
You can order Nepeta ‘Cat's Pajamas’ from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.
*Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and do not constitute an official endorsement by the RHS.