The Plant Native

Mountain Mint

Highlights

This plant is a pollinator and butterfly dream. Mountain Mint blooms with tall white-and-green flowers for over a month in the summer. You will see it covered in bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds when in flower. Exceptionally easy to grow and deer tolerant, Mountain Mint is a great companion to other tall native flowers like native coneflowers, Blazing Star, and Black-eyed Susan. Learn how to plant, below.

Sun – Part sun
2-6′ tall, depending on species
Pollinator favorite
Pycnanthemum genus
Hoary Mountain Mint's gorgeous shades of white-and-green look heavenly in a native garden

Dig Deeper

Explore the history, types, and where to plant native Mountain Mint

Table of Contents

Why plant Mountain Mint?

Native plants like Mountain Mint have been around in North America for thousands of years. Every drought, blizzard, or weather event they have lived through. They know (and thrive!) in the soil and weather of their home area. All they need is rain to thrive.

Native plants like Mountain Mint are always the most resilient, easy to care for, and beautiful choices for landscaping. They require minimal care (especially compared to lawns!) and can return decades of beauty.

Added bonus: Mountain Mint is deer-proof

Mountain Mint is happily NOT edible to deer. It is similar to other native flowers with strong scents—like Hummingbird Mint, Nodding Onion, and Bee Balm—in that it repels deer away. 

How to grow Mountain Mint

Mountain Mint is exceptionally easy to grow since it thrives in a range of sun. Mountain Mint likes full sun to part sun. It can be somewhat drought tolerant but prefers areas with consistent hydration. 

Is Mountain Mint aggressive?

Mountain Mint can grow quickly and take over a garden—this is called being ‘aggressive’—if it’s given its preferred rich soil AND it’s allowed to spread unchecked. To keep Mountain Mint in check, simply pull up the edges of its rhizome roots so it doesn’t spread. (Pulling up rhizome roots that are spreading too far can take literally 15 minutes in the spring.)

Types of native Mountain Mint

There are a few native plants that are called Mountain Mint. Each is slightly different in terms of look (particularly in the flowers) but all types are drought-tolerant, pollinator favorites, and smell like mint when brushed by.

Silverleaf Mountain Mint

Pycnanthemum incanum

Silvery tear-shaped leaves + purple flowers. Perhaps the least ‘showy’ in terms of flowers, it’s still a pollinator favorite and a great color pairing for brighter perennials. 2-6 feet tall.

Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Needle-like leaves and white flowers. 2-3 feet tall. 

Virginia Mountain Mint

Pycnanthemum virginianum

Similar to Narrow-leaved, with needle-like leaves and white flowers that are sometimes tinged with pink or purple. 2-3 feet tall.

Some other species include:

No matter which one you plant, it’s a pollinator favorite. Here’s a quick overview from NC State Extension that shows a few different kinds, including Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint.

Native plants to pair with Mountain Mint

These native plants all thrive in the same full sun to part sun as Mountain Mint. Plant them together and enjoy flowers and pollinators throughout the growing season.

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Bee Balm

black-eyed-susans-native-flower-garden

Black-Eyed Susan

blazing-star-with-butterflies-native-plant

Blazing Star

coneflower-native-plant-swallowtail-butterfly

Coneflower

monarch-butterfly-on-a-common-milkweed-plant

Milkweed

rattlesnake-master-flowers

Rattlesnake Master

To sum it up, Mountain Mint is a great addition to native gardens, thanks to its easy-growing nature and its pollinator magnet abilities. Planting native plants like Mountain Mint allows us to have gorgeous gardens that support wildlife and take minimal effort—especially compared to lawns or non-native gardens. Save yourself time, money, and water and fill your phone with butterfly pictures: plant some Mountain Mint. Happy planting!

UPDATED —
04/01/2024
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