Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta or calamint. This member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) is native to southern Europe north and west to Great Britain. Plants grow up to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, and work well as an edge planting. Calamint prefers full sun and will tolerate partial afternoon shade.

Plants grow well in evenly moist soils, but are highly drought tolerant and continue to thrive even in adverse garden conditions. Calamint is a terrific plant for attracting all types of pollinators to your garden.

You may have noted the use of subsp. or sub-species in the scientific name of calamint. So what’s the difference between a plant variety (var.) and sub-species? According to the International Association for Plant Taxonomy and a 1992 article in Taxon written by Hamilton & Reichard the two terms are basically interchangeable. The article does point out that European plant taxonomists prefer the use of subspecies while North American taxonomists prefer variety. In practice, subspecies typically ties a plant to a specific geographic location while variety refers to a unique plant found throughout the plant’s entire range. In the case of C. nepeta subsp. nepeta, this subspecies is tied to a specific plant in a specific location with more vigorous growth habits, larger flowers, larger inflorescence, and larger leaves.

Botanical Name
Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta
Common Name calamint
Family Lamiaceae
USDA Zone 5 to 7
Light Requirement Full Sun
Season(s) of interest Summer, Fall, Winter
Height and Spread
1-1.5ft x 1-2ft (30-45cm x 30-60cm)
Flower Color White, Purple
Attracts Wildlife Bees
Additional Information
Native range: Southern Europe to Great Britain
Location in Lurie Garden
Northwest Light Plate, Northeast Light Plate, Southwest Light Plate, Southeast Light Plate