Fantastic Design Plant: Walker's Low Catmint

The coming of orange, gold, and red in the backyard signals that fall is upon us and most plants are starting to change gears to prepare for winter dormancy. As fall colors are, it’s great to have something to set off the fall glory. The prolific flowering of Walker’s Low catmint’s (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’) soft purple blossoms provides a beautiful color contrast to warm fall shades, and its cold tolerance makes it all that more attractive once you’re expecting a big chill.

Catmint has become a trusted companion for me on both coasts of the nation,” notes landscape designer Brian Maloney. “On the East Coast, it has changed into a real workhorse in my recent gardens. It provides a fantastic groundcover in large-scale plantings without the mat-like effect connected with conventional groundcovers. Its small gray-green leaves blue color make it a perfect choice for a transparency to bolder textures and colours.”

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Botanical name: Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’
Common title: Walker’s Low catmint
USDA zones: 3-8
Water necessity: Routine water until established; then low water requires
Sun necessity: Prefers full sun; partial shade in warmer climates
Mature size: 2-3′ h x 2-3′ spread
Growth rate: Moderate; faster in warmer climates
Tolerances: Drought, deer, rabbit, no significant pest problems
Environmental benefits: Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, bees. Your cat will love it.

Brian Maloney Design Associates

Distinguishing attributes. The billowy, loose, mounding type of Walker’s Low catmint is punctuated each spring and fall with a influx of its distinctive purplish-blue blossoms. Catmint’s prolific blooms are distinctive and long-lasting, but you can also delight in the subtle minty odor of its grayish green foliage year-round.

Though the title might suggest a vertically challenged specimen, Walker’s Low is anything but. Sprawling foliage and upright flower stalks means that this plant will grow up and out.

Brian Maloney Design Associates

How to utilize it. Known for its English garden where it was first chosen, Walker’s Low catmint has become synonymous with traditional cabin and perennial gardens as a pathway edging or cascading over garden walls. While its yummy purple blossom and form can act as the ideal contrast to some classic English rose garden, there is not anything more contemporary or forward-thinking in backyard layout compared to monochromatic mass plantings, and this plant fits right in. Consider planting a field of catmint — such as the backyard over — as your frost-friendly lavender replacement.

Having an open arching type, Walker’s Low catmint may also be used as a groundcover alternative and is an effective and low-maintenance space-filling alternative. Don’t worry if you don’t have square footage spare; catmint is just another prime candidate for container gardening. Regardless of where you plant, include a sprig or two in almost any floral arrangement, since the fragrance of its blossoms in addition to its foliage will enhance any space.

Brian Maloney Design Associates

Before you plant. You can expect flowers from this plant starting in early spring, and from shearing the spent blossoms and foliage in summer time, you are able to prolong its bloom and promote new growth well into fall with a second flowering. While individual plants might seem dwarfed in their beds after planting or cutting back, they’ll be back with a vengeance–so give them some room once you plant, spacing 2′–3′ apart.

Walker’s Low catmint is as tough and simple to grow as they come. Thriving in sandy well-drained soil, this cold-hardy cultivar can handle freezing temperatures that dip well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Take that blues!

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