591 Pycnanthemum floridanumCommon Names: Florida mountainmint, Florida horsemint Family: Lamiaceae (mint Family)
Florida mountainmint is an erect, loosely-branched shrublike perennial up to 4 ft (1.2 m) tall. It dies to the ground in winter and re-emerges in spring. The leaves are about 2 in (5.1 cm) long, and very aromatic when bruised. Those of some individuals smell like spearmint and others (even from the same parent plant!) smell like camphor. Some are kind of in-between. Like most herbaceous mints, the stems are square in cross section and the leaves are opposite each other. The mature leaves are covered with a whitish bloom that makes them appear ashy gray in color. The tiny flowers are lavender and arranged in dense terminal clusters about 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter. Mountainmint blooms all summer.
There are about 20 species of mountainmints in the eastern United States. They are all pretty similar. Pycnanthemum floridanum, the Florida mountainmint, is restricted to northern and central Florida where it grows in sandhills and dry woods.
CultureLight: Full sun to partial shade. Moisture: Drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 9. Possibly hardy to Zone 7 and maybe even 6. Propagation: Easily propagated from seeds and by dividing the root stock.
This is a great plant for a sunny or partly shady spot in a natural garden or butterfly planting.
This lovely mint is very popular with butterflies and various kinds of native wasps and bees (most of which do not sting). Unfortunately, it has yet to be discovered by the horticultural folks. Florida mountainmint is one of my very favorite plants. It thrives in my North Florida yard without any attention. It comes back year after year and spreads by seeds, but it is not at all aggressive. It may be difficult to find except in Florida native nurseries.
Steve Christman 11/20/99; updated 3/1/04