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Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low'

Catmint

Native to Caucusus and northern Iran


FIRST IMPRESSIONS:  Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is a mounding aromatic perennial.  This mint relative is clothed in soft gray-green oval leaves.  From late spring to autumn, plants provide a generous offering of deep lavender flowers.   Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds flock to the blooms in sunny gardens with sandy well drained soils.

HABITAT & HARDINESS:  Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is reported to be a chance seedling of Nepeta racemosa and Nepeta nepetella.

Mrs. Patricia Taylor spotted the seedling in the lower part of a Mrs. Walker’s garden in Ireland during the 1970’s.  Mrs. Taylor took cuttings and the plant was introduced into the trade in 1988 by Four Seasons Nursery of Norwich, England.

Nepeta racemosa and N. nepetella were first crossed by Dutch nurseryman, J. H. Faasen, in the 1930’s so the plant is sometimes referred to as Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low'.

Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-9.

PLANT DESCRIPTION:  Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is a dense mounding perennial with many square grayish stems.

Leaves are oval or heart shaped with silvery gray-green color.  The fuzzy aromatic blades are 1-2” long with scalloped or crenate edges. 

Beginning in late spring or early summer, a profusion of tubular blue-violet flowers are borne on arching spikey stalks.  The flower display almost covers the handsome foliage for several weeks into the summer. 

Blooming lasts for about 6 weeks and will often repeat and continue into early autumn.

Plants grow to 2.5’ tall with a 3’ spread.

CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDSNepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ thrives in full sun and average to dry sandy soil.  Plants tolerate drought, heat, moderate salinity and shallow rocky soils. 

In extremely hot and humid southern states, plants will fare better if they are sited in afternoon shade.

In summer, shear plants to remove spent flowers and stimulate another round of blooming.  Plants can be trimmed lightly or cut back by as much as half to promote a more compact habit.

Cold hardiness is enhanced if winter pruning is avoided. Instead wait until the dormant season ends to remove tattered growth.

‘Walker’s Low’ is well behaved.  Plants lack the vigorous rhizomes that cause other mint relatives to become invasive.  Seed are sterile and cannot sprout in unexpected places.

This cultivar is pest resistant and does not need fertilizer. The aromatic foliage is unpalatable to deer and rabbits.  

Despite the name, plants are not usually attractive to cats.  So - cats will not come into the garden and love your catmint to death. 

LANDSCAPE USES:  This is a good Groundcover or Edging for the Perennial Border or Herb Garden.  Plants are also used as Butterfly Nectar Plants or as part of a Grouping or Mass Planting.   Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Containers, Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings and Rock Gardens.

COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS:  Try pairing Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ with Achillea millefolium, Callirhoe involucrata, Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’, Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Sky’, Solidago nemoralis or Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’.

Blephilia ciliata has similar height, flower color and culture and could be substituted as a native alternative in some situations.

TRIVIA:  Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ garnered the Royal Horticultural Society's 2012 Award of Garden Merit and the Perennial Plant Association's 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year award.


Height:

2-3 ft

Spread:

3 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:

4-9

Bloom Color:

Blue

Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low' Characteristics

Attracts Wildlife

  • Pollinators
  • Hummingbirds
  • Butterflies

Exposure

  • Full Sun to Partial Shade

Attributes

  • Long Blooming
  • Fragrant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Rock Garden
  • Reblooming

Deer Resistant

  • Deer Resistant

Flowering Months

  • September
  • August
  • July
  • June
  • May

Foliage Color

  • Gray-Green

Growth Rate

  • Fast

Salt Tolerance

  • Medium

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Spring
  • Summer

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Well-Drained
  • Dry to Moist

Plants that work well with Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low'

Pink tickseed Pink tickseed (Coreopsis rosea)
Gateway Joe Pye Gateway Joe Pye (Eupatorium maculatum 'Gateway')
Scaly blazing star Scaly blazing star (Liatris squarrosa)
Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida v. fulgida)
Fountain Grass Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ''Moudry'')
Fountain Grass Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ''Little Bunny'')
Dwarf fountain grass Dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln')
Jeana garden phlox Jeana garden phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Jeana')
Moss phlox Moss phlox (Phlox subulata)
Moss phlox Moss phlox (Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue')
Moss phlox Moss phlox (Phlox subulata 'Emerald Pink')