Can Walkers Low Catmint Be Divided

Maria Johnson
• Thursday, 26 November, 2020
• 9 min read

As is expected from a Repeat, “Walker’s Low has soft, grey-green foliage, a long, repeat-blooming season and few problems or maintenance requirements. ‘Walker’s Low can easily reach 2 ½ to 3' tall and equally wide, in warm areas.


It has deep lavender-blue flowers that will bloom profusely in early summer and then sporadically throughout the growing season. An aromatic member of the mint family, Repeat ‘Walker’s Low is not attractive to deer.

If you’re looking for a tough-as-nails plant that will bloom for months on end with very little pampering, cat mint is sure to make you purr with delight. Unlike its close relative catnip (both are members of the mint family), cat mint is better behaved and much showier.

The soft gray-green foliage and billowy clusters of lavender-blue flowers are like a cool breeze on a hot day. With variations in both flower and foliage color, height, bloom time and growing conditions, these multipurpose plants can be used in almost any area of the garden.

Repeat ×faassenii (Lassen’s cat mint): By far, the most popular cultivars grown for ornamental use belong to this hybrid, which has sterile flowers that won’t self-sow and don’t require deadheading. Repeat subsessilis (Japanese cat mint): Unlike other varieties, this one prefers moist soil and partial shade, making it a good option for cooler, wetter climates.

Repeat racemes (Persian or dwarf cat mint): This low -growing species forms rounded mounds that spread as wide as the plants are tall. Repeat cat aria (catnip): More aromatic than cat mint, this is the plant that frisky felines go crazy for, but its ornamental attributes are lacking, and it tends to be weedy and invasive.

In the garden, it offers the most value as a culinary herb or as a repellant for certain insects, including mosquitoes, aphids and squash bugs. Although most prefer full sun, they won’t mind a bit of afternoon shade, especially when grown in hot climates.

Provide ample space between plants, since many tend to grow wider than tall. Japanese cat mints (N. subsessilis) will benefit from regular watering to keep the soil moist.

Given the right growing conditions, cat mint is unlikely to need fertilizing, and applying it can even result in floppy stems and fewer flowers. Shearing your plants back by a third or more will reenergize them for a second bloom cycle and produce lush new foliage.

Simply use a spade to separate rooted sections of an established plant and then replant the divisions, spacing them about a foot apart. Cat mint, especially catnip (N. cat aria), is known to repel pests such as mosquitoes, aphids, squash bugs, cabbage looters and more.

Even after the blooms peak in midsummer, rosy purple calyxes remain to prolong the colorful display. This lovely cultivar, dubbed after the garden in Ireland where it originated, bears upright plumes of lavender-blue flowers nearly a foot long.

This compact version of ‘Walker’s Low is covered from May to September with bright lavender flowers, held in dense clusters above attractive mounds of blue-green foliage. Selected as a Plant of Merit by the Missouri Botanical Garden for its outstanding quality and dependable performance.

A striking combination of periwinkle blue flowers enshrouded in dark purple calyxes create an impressive show from late spring until the first frost. Will nearly double in breadth (to over 2 feet across) the second season after planting, quickly filling in your garden’s bare spots.

From late spring onward, masses of fragrant two-lipped lavender-blue flowers tower above the dense gray-green foliage, creating an eye-catching display for the middle or back of sunny garden beds. Offering a change of pace from the typical blue and lavender tones, this cultivar is blanketed by delicately scented snow-white flowers from late spring to early fall.

Forms a neat low -growing mound that is perfect for the front of the border or edging a pathway. This true catnip is easily grown full sun to part shade, in average, well-drained soils.

Catnip is extremely drought tolerant, but prefers some afternoon shade in hotter, southern climates. White with purple spotted flowers bloom in clusters at the end of stems from late spring into summer.

Catnip also acts as a repellent for many garden pests including aphids and squash bugs. Learn more about them, along with timely planting advice, garden design inspiration, practical tips and more in our weekly newsletter.

Catmint’s cool-toned foliage and flowers blend well with most other colors, particularly reds, deeper purple tones, pinks and yellows. Just about any yellow-flowering plant looks good alongside cat mint, but those sharing similar growing requirements and bloom times include Corpses grandiflora ‘Early Sunrise’, Achilles ‘Moonshine’ yarrow, and yellow day lilies, such as Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’.

If you’re looking for a perennial that is long blooming, heat tolerant, resistant to pests and diseases, and easy to grow, then allow me to recommend cat mint (or Repeat) to you. It plays a prominent role in my ornamental garden and provides interest in all four seasons.

After the initial flush of blossoms, the plant continues to show lots of color well into late summer or early fall. Left standing over the winter months, the foliage fades to a pleasing soft silvery gray color.

This herbaceous perennial is a member of the mint family (Lauraceae) , which includes lavender, rosemary, thyme, bee balm and giant hyssop. Just like lavender, catmintcan be used to cover the bare “limbs” of rose bushes.

Yellow-flowering plants such as Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns,’ Achilles ‘Coronation Gold,’ or Corpses ‘Early Sunrise’ also make a pleasing combination with cat mint. The most popular cat mint cultivars grown commercially in this country belong to the hybrid Repeat x faassenii.

In a comparative study of cat mints conducted by the Chicago Botanic Garden between 1999 and 2006, 36 cat mints were evaluated with the goal of identifying outstanding specimens in terms of their ornamental traits, disease and pest resistance, cultural adaptability, and winter hardiness (the botanical garden is located in zone 5b). If you’re compelled to look for cat mint in the local garden centers, don’t limit yourself to just these four selections.

Give cat mint plenty of space as it tends to grow wider than tall. In fact, soil that is too rich may cause the plant to flop over or split in the middle.

Some compost in fall or spring will provide sufficient nutrients to keep the plant happy. Even without being sheared, the plant will repeat bloom and continue to look attractive over the hot summer months.

Leave spent foliage in place over winter to help protect the crown. If you want to contain the overall size of the plant, pinch it back in spring after it is a few inches tall to promote a bushier growth habit.

To propagate cat mint, slice off a vertical section of an established clump in spring. Take three-inch long cuttings of healthy shoots in the spring before flower buds form.

“A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants,” published by The American Horticultural Society, editors-in-chief Christopher Brick ell and H. Marc Cathy, 2004. Is easy to grow in full sun or partial shade, is not particular about soil type or pH, and does best without any fertilizer.

Cat mint is not commonly propagated with seeds because many of the hybrids are sterile. Divide cat mint clumps in late September or early October after they are three to five years old.

Use a shovel or garden fork to loosen the clump by pushing it into the dirt about 6 inches from the stems all the way around the plant. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to slice through the fleshy crown and cut it into smaller sections.

Each section must have healthy roots and at least one developing growth bud, or eye. Replant the new cat mint clumps right away at the same depth they were growing originally.

Continue to water them when the top of the soil begins to dry for a month after planting. Purchase commercially packaged and sterilized coarse sand to help prevent disease.

Pour the rooting medium into a 4- to 6-inch-deep pot or flat with holes in the bottom. Poke 2-inch-deep planting holes spaced 4 inches apart in the rooting medium with a pencil.

Throw away any rooting hormone left in the small container to avoid contamination. Put the planted pot or flat in a clear, plastic bag and seal it shut to hold in moisture.

Place the rooting container in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. Grasp each cutting gently between thumb and forefinger and give it a light tug.

After they form roots, leave the plastic bag open or remove the cap from the milk jug or pop bottle. Begin to harden the new cat mint plants a few weeks after potting them.

Set them outdoors in a shady, protected area for a few hours the first day. During this period, let the top 1 to 2 inches of potting soil dry before watering.

Space cat mint plants far enough apart that they have room to grow to their mature width. Cat mint plants grow between 1 and 4 feet wide, depending on the species or cultivar.

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