Fragrant, low-growing mint-family herb from the Mediterranean and Iran, with a savory flavor like oregano, mint, and licorice. It is used throughout Italy, including in Tuscany and Rome for flavoring artichoke dishes, and in Sicily with the name neputedda to season pasta. It is also used to flavor meat, fish, and mushrooms. It was used in Medieval times to aid digestion and treat depression, insomnia, and menstrual cramps.
The plant grows in mounds like oregano, and is a short-lived perennial, though it can reseed moderately. With beautiful white-to-pink flowers and a lovely aroma, nepetella is a terrific garnish on the side of an omlet (which is where we first encountered it at a bed and breakfast) and on ice cream (where we last encountered it at Longwood Gardens). It is a favorite with a wide range of pollinators.
Named for the Central Italian town of Nepete, now called Nepi, not too far from Rome.
Also known as Calamintha nepeta, lesser calamint, nepitella, neputedda, and mentuccia.
Days to maturity: Perennial
Seeds per pack: 150
Germination rate: 54% on 03/29/2023
Planting / harvesting notes
Sow on the surface of the soil and tamp it down. Start as early as 8-10 weeks before the last frost indoors and transplant when the soil warms up.
Seed keeping notes
Harvest seeds long after the flowers fade and when the seed heads dry. You will see black seeds when they are ready.