Virginia mountain mint
Sun/shade: Full sun
Soil moisture: Medium to wet
Flowering period: July to August
Host plant for 5 caterpillar species
When viewed up close, Virginia mountain mint’s elegantly ruffled flowerheads reveal numerous blossoms whose rounded white petals are delicately spotted with violet. The flowers have a shallow form that makes nectar accessible to long and short-tongued pollinators alike, and by all accounts, the pollinators have taken notice. Throughout its monthlong, mid-summer blooming period, its flowerheads form the nucleus to a cloud of orbiting bees, flies, wasps, and small butterflies.
In addition to its benefits for pollinators, Virginia mountain mint displays other attributes that can be advantageous in the garden setting. The plant’s frequent branching lends it an attractive, shrub-like shape, and its relatively short stature (2-3’) make it an appropriate choice for spaces where a larger plant would be overwhelming. Lastly, the plant is a vigorous grower, spreading by underground stems to form colonies and fill in spaces that may otherwise be prone to weed invasion. A native inhabitant of NE Ohio meadows, swamps, and woodland edges, Virginia mountain mint grows best under conditions of full sunlight to part shade, and moderately wet to average soil moisture.
Photo by Ashley Keesling.