Hairy wood mint (Blephilia hirsuta) is a wonderful native plant that can be grown in a rock garden or in light dappled shade at the edge of the woodland garden. Like most mints, it is fragrant, and the small, tubular flowers are dotted with purple at the edge of the lip. It has unusually hairy stems, opposite leaves and whorls of small flowers. It is closely related to the downy wood mint (Blephilia ciliata), a more forested species — but the two are easy to tell apart, because the hairy wood mint is really hairy, versus slightly hairy, and the leaves of hairy wood mint have short stems or petioles. Its primary pollinators are bees — honeybees, carpenter bees, bumblebees, mason bees, leaf-cutter bees, miner bees and cuckoo bees. The genus Blephilia is Greek for eyelash, which refers to the hairy fringes on the flower bracts. This species is fairly resistant to deer browsing, but it is susceptible to powdery mildew and insects.
Common Name: Hairy wood mint
Botanical Name: Blephilia hirsuta
Color: Mauve to lavender and white flowers
Blooming Period: Late spring to early summer
Type: Perennial wildflower
Size: Can grow to be 12 to 18 inches tall
Soil: Well-drained, neutral soil
Watering: Water frequently until well established.
When to Plant: Early spring
When to Fertilize: None required
In Your Landscape: Since it does not spread, you will need to plant in a cluster or drift for maximum appeal.
From Kentucky Gardener Volume X Issue VI. Photo courtesy of Thomas G. Barnes.