Prelude Purple is a new-in-2022 cultivar that stands out among catmints for a few reasons. It represents a middle ground in terms of size—not huge, not dwarf. It also reaches its mature height quickly and maintains a neatly mounded habit thanks to its upright stems. A cultivar of a species known for its relatively larger flowers and mint-scented foliage, this is a great plant for drawing in bees and butterflies, but it is not attractive to rabbits and deer.
Common name: Prelude Purple Japanese catmint
Botanical name: Nepeta subsessilis ‘Balprelurp’
Exposure: Full sun
Flowers: Deep purple, tubular flowers appear over a long period from spring into summer.
Foliage: Deep green and fragrant.
Habit: Prelude Purple catmint grows to three feet tall and two feet wide, with a mounded shape overall. Individual stems stand upright.
Origin: The species Nepeta subsessilis is native to Japan, where it grows naturally in consistently moist soils. This cultivar was introduced by Darwin Perennials in 2022.
How to grow it: Place in full sun and provide regular water while the plant is getting established. Thereafter, water during dry spells. Be sure to follow the recommended spacing of 36 inches between plants, to allow ample room for growth. Cut back to the ground in fall or late winter. USDA Zones 5–9a.
Image courtesy of Darwin Perennials