Perennial of the Week: Mountain Mint

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Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) is blooming now and is covered with a spectacular variety of butterflies, bees, and wasps.  This plant is also called short-toothed mountain mint or clustered mountain mint.  It is a clump-forming perennial that typically grows 2 - 3’ tall. It is native to Ohio where it typically grows in grassy open places, meadows, fields, and woodland areas.

This plant was used by Native Americans for the treatment of fevers, colds, stomach aches, and other minor physical ailments. Mountain Mint is easily grown in full sun to part shade with moist to medium moisture and in well-drained soils.  The most prolific flowering occurs in full sun but mountain mint also performs well in bright shade.  In optimum conditions mountain mint can be a vigorous grower spreading by rhizomes but despite its name it is not invasive as many of the true mints in the genus Mentha.  Mountain mint can be propagated by seed or division.  

The leaves of this plant are a pale blue-green with a velvety appearing texture that frames the round heads of the tiny white flowers.  Pycnanthemum comes from the Greek words pyknos meaning dense and anthemion meaning floral forms in a flat radiating cluster, intimating why  these plants can accommodate a wide variety of pollinators at the same time.  Mountain mint is a great addition to your landscape but works best when allowed to naturalize in native plant gardens, herb gardens, butterfly gardens or meadows.