Mountain Mint – A Pollinator’s Perfect Perennial

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UT Gardens’ July Plant of the Month

The words “Mountain Mint” evoke cooling thoughts of the Smoky Mountains, paired with a refreshing natural aroma. It should not conjure up the horrors that true mints (Mentha sp.) may give you! The native mountain mint species are not at all like their unruly mint family cousins because while they are spreaders they are not aggressively so and can be controlled by mowing or otherwise controlling the clump. They are very underappreciated and underplanted in our gardens.

There are several species of mountain mint in Tennessee (primarily Middle and East Tennessee), and all are valuable nectaring species for pollinator insects. The Latin genus Pycnanthemum means “densely flowered,” an apt name for any of the native mint species you will find growing wild in Tennessee. They are more closely related to Monarda (bee balm) species than true mints.

Read more at the UT Gardens’ site.

The UT Gardens includes plant collections located in Knoxville, Crossville and Jackson, Tennessee. Designated as the official botanical garden for the State of Tennessee, the UT Gardens are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture. The Gardens’ mission is to foster appreciation, education and stewardship of plants through garden displays, educational programs and research trials. The Gardens are open during all seasons and free to the public.

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