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Mountain Mint Is for Beauty and Beneficial Insects

Virtues: Short-toothed mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) is an excellent perennial for drawing butterflies, moths, bees and helpful wasps to the garden. A compact, fragrant and elegantly colored plant, it’s an easy grower in sun or shade. This mountain mint was recognized as a Gold Medal Plant by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in 2022.


Common name: Short-toothed mountain mint

Botanical name: Pycnanthemum muticum (Note that this plant is not related to the true mints, or Mentha.)

Exposure: Any (sun or shade)

Season: Late summer for flowers

Flowers: In late summer, tiny pink flowers appear in flat clusters atop each stem. These are ringed with large, silvery bracts that add to the floral appeal. Mountain mint’s flowers feed many kinds of beneficial insects.

Foliage: The leaves are a soft minty green and fragrant. They are said to repel mosquitoes and can be crushed and rubbed on the skin as a repellent. They can also be made into tea.

Habit: This perennial reaches between 2 and 3 feet tall and about 2 feet wide. It can spread by underground roots, but it is not aggressive or problematic if sited with this knowledge in mind.

Origins: Pycnanthemum muticum is native to moist woods and meadows throughout the Northeast and Southeast United States, as well as parts of the Lower Midwest and Texas.

How to grow short-toothed mountain mint: This plant will take sun or shade and dry or moist soil, but it prefers even moisture. USDA Zones 4–8.

Image credit: RockerBoo, CC BY-SA 2.0