Cat’s Pajamas CatmintNepeta hybrid ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ (PP# 31,127)
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Well, Cat’s Pajamas Catmint really is exceptionally excellent, just like it sounds. This is a catmint unlike others, where the emphasis is not on the soft gray foliage, but on the flowers. The abundant flower stems bloom from top to bottom, to within inches of the ground, for weeks and weeks. A dense mound of indigo blue, it makes a striking accent among your other flowers, or a wonderful and colorful edging. Generally not much more than a foot tall, it forms a wide mound approaching 2 feet wide, and brings summer color in abundance. Not just any color, either, but a wonderful indigo-blue that compliments all other colors in your garden – and keeps on doing it week after week. Drought tolerant and sun loving, it will grow in most soils, as long as they aren’t wet. Grow it in flower beds, rock gardens, retaining walls or on slopes. It is great in containers too, combined with other sun-loving flowering plants.
Plant the Cat’s Pajamas Catmint in full sun – it loves the heat and warmth. Grow it in any kind of soil that is well-drained, including poor soils, gravels and sandy soils. Water young plants regularly, but once established it is drought tolerant and normally needs no attention to thrive. It is usually free of any serious pests or diseases, as long as the soil is dry, and it is not eaten by deer or rabbits. After blooming you can trim it back and encourage a second flush of blooms. In fall cut back to a couple of inches tall, and it will be back next spring more vigorous than before.
If you admire the look of English and Mediterranean gardens, chances are, in those pictures, there is catmint. The billowing mounds of silvery gray-green, topped with blue flowers, gives a unique and romantic look to any bed, and it’s hard to have too much of it in your garden. It ties together all your other planting like nothing else can, and brings that gorgeous blue – so coveted by gardeners – front and center. Many catmints are grown as much for the foliage as for the flowers, but if it’s blue you are after, look no further than the Cat’s Pajamas Catmint. In this variety the emphasis is on long spikes of wonderful sky blue, rising almost from the ground, and the foliage, although handsome, takes a bit of a back seat. While these types of catmint aren’t actually the variety that drives cat’s wild, any self-respecting cat would be happy to dress in this one, for bed or any other time of day.
The Cat’s Pajamas Catmint is a perennial plant that forms a mound of stems, growing fresh each year from a permanent base at ground-level. This variety is relatively short, and the stems rise up only 12 to 15 inches from the ground when in flower, although it mounds out to around 18 inches wide. It has a much more upright habit than other types, with little tendency to sprawl into a wide mound. The leaves cluster along the many stems, and they are about ½-inch across, almost round, with scalloped edges. They are soft to the touch, slightly thick and felted, colored a cool green with noticeable gray tones. Sun brings out the gray, while in shade the leaves are greener.
As the stems grow the upper part, from low down, produces circles of flowers at each pair of leaves. The leaves become very small, and the flowers predominate, making a spike of flowers almost the whole height of the plant. Many blooms open in succession, keeping this plant in bloom for weeks and weeks through early summer. The individual flowers are small, but because of their profusion they have a big impact. A beautiful violet-blue, each flower is a tiny open mouth, with a landing pad perfectly designed for bees – and boy do those pollinators love this plant, which is a magnet for bees and butterflies. Dead-heading is especially useful with this variety, which responds well and almost guarantees another full crop of flowers later in summer or early fall.
The Cat’s Pajamas Catmint is perfect tucked along the front of flower beds, especially against a pathway or patio. It looks great planted under roses of any color, or with other sun-loving plants like lavender, Russian sage or creeping junipers. Plant it in rocky pockets, or on the levels of retaining walls, or in pots to decorate steps, decks and porches.
For such a sun-lover, the Cat’s Pajamas Catmint is incredibly cold-resistant, growing well even in zone 3, and thriving through all warmer zones into zone 8, or zone 9 in the northwest.
For good results and lots of blooms, full sun is essential – the more the better. Any well-drained soil works, including sandy soils, rocky ground and urban soil, although heavy clays can be a problem with winter wetness. Don’t enrich the soil too much, as this course floppy growth and the center of the plant to open up.
Trim off the first flower stems just in the blooming portion – new side-shoots will extend that initial blooming. Once it begins to look untidy, cut back hard, and you will normally get a full second flowering. At the end of fall cut back to just a couple of inches tall. Fresh new stems sprout from the base in spring.
Although there are around 250 different species of catmint, Nepeta, many are very similar and so not many are grown in gardens. They grow wild across Europe, north Africa and into central Asia. Most modern plants are hybrids, the result of an accidental cross back in the 1930s between the dwarf catmint, Nepeta racemosa, a native of the Caucasus mountains, and Nepeta nepetella, the lesser catmint found wild in southern Europe and north Africa. This happened in the Netherlands, in the nursery of J.H. Faasen, so these plants are called Nepeta x faassenii.
In 2013 Hans Hansen, the breeder at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Michigan, pollinated a plant of Nepeta x faassenii ‘Purrsian Blue’ with pollen from a rare wild species called Nepeta phylloclamys. Among the seedlings he raised was one that was especially floriferous and compact. He named it ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ and it was patented in 2019.
This great new plant really raises catmint from ‘mostly foliage’ to ‘fabulous blooms’. Its compact size is perfect in any garden, so make yourself comfortable with some Cat’s Pajamas Catmint – it’s fabulous, but in short supply, so order now.