Pycnanthemum muticum (Short-toothed/Clustered Mountain-mint)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic 

The flowers of Pycnanthemum muticum (short-toothed or clustered mountain-mint) may be small in size but their ability to attract pollinators is huge! In a study undertaken by Penn State Master Gardeners, P. muticum attracted 4.6 times as many pollinator visits as the next most attractive plant, Solidago rigida (stiff goldenrod), over a three-year period. P. muticum also tied with S. rigida for the greatest diversity of visiting pollinators at an average of 21.7.

This video features twenty-five different pollinator species that appeared on the same 2-foot by 2.5-foot patch of P. muticum.  Twenty-one of them were observed over about twelve days in June and July of 2019 along with the tiny generalist predator Orius insidiosus (insidious flower bug–included, but not labeled in the video), two additional syrphid fly species, an unidentified bee species, tachnid and long-legged flies, a seed bug, a leafhopper, pollen mites, and male and female emerald jumper spiders. If you plant mountain-mint in your garden, then just imagine how many insects that it will attract over the course of its 15-week bloom period!
– Video © 2019 Mary Free

Print Version (Legal Size): Pycnanthemum muticum (Short-toothed/Clustered Mountain-mint)Perennial Height: 1–3 feet Spread: 1–3 feet Bloom Color: White to pinkish Characteristics Herbaceous perennial forming upright clumps Oval, toothed, medium green leaves, with round to heart-shape base & pointed end on stiff, square stems Terminal or axillary clusters of 1⁄2-inch, tubular, lavender-spotted, white flowers accented by two fuzzy, silvery-green bracts bloom July to September Spreads rapidly by rhizomes in optimum conditions Attributes Tolerates some drought; no serious pests or diseases (rust possible); deer rarely damage Ethnobotanic uses; used in moth-deterrent sachets Contains insect repellant pulegone–rub leaves on clothes/put some stems in pockets to repel ticks...Attracts myriad pollinators (bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, and beetles) including predators/ parasitoids of the brown marmorated stink bug Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Well-drained Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade Water Requirements: Moist Thrives and spreads quickly in moist, clay soil in full sun; to keep it in check, in spring prune roots with a spade or plant in drier or shadier locations Use en masse or naturalized in cottage, herb, meadow, native plant, or pollinator gardens Hardiness: USDA Zones 4–8 Excellent Replacement for
 Aegopodium podagraria - Bishop’s Weed Allium tuberosum - Garlic Chives Mentha spp. - Mint It is native in DC, uncommon in DE, and scattered in southeastern counties of PA. It is infrequent throughout VA, but is native to Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in NoVA.

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets