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Short-toothed mountain mint

Pycnanthemum muticum

Pycnanthemum muticum

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Dry to medium

Height: 3'

Spread: 1'

Flowering period: July

In the heat of summer, the silvery foliage of short-toothed mountain mint appears like a vision of winter frost. While the thought is briefly refreshing, the plant offers very real refreshment to a multitude of pollinators. Short-toothed mountain mint’s small, purple-speckled flowers bloom in July, providing nectar to flies, wasps, beetles, moths, butterflies, and bees large and small. Indeed, there are few plants that will attract as many visitors as this one. Many of these insects are predators of pests like aphids and stink bugs, and planting short-toothed mountain mint can thus promote the health of one’s vegetable and / or flower garden.

The plant’s pleasing whitish foliage is most apparent in the garden when present as a large patch. Due to its clonal growth pattern, short-toothed mountain mint will naturally form a colony that gets larger every year. The plant is not aggressive in the manner of exotic mints, however, and curtailing its spread is an easy matter. In the springtime, one should press a spade into the soil at the desired perimeter of the mint patch, severing the plant’s underground spreading rhizomes. The seedlings that are outside of this perimeter can then be pulled by hand. This technique is called root pruning, and it is useful for containing the spread of many plants that grow in a clonal manner.

Reaching a height of approximately 3 feet, short-toothed mountain mint has a handsome, upright form which is resistant to blow-down and flopping. The plant grows well under both full sun and partial shade, and with the latter, it generally doesn’t lean towards the sun. Short toothed mountain mint prefers soils of moderate moisture but has fairly good drought tolerance and is reported to grow well on slopes. The plant’s silvery foliage is a lovely counterpoint to the showy blooms of purple coneflower, gray-headed coneflower, swamp milkweed, wild bergamot, dense blazing star, and others.

Photo © Dave Lage, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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