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The Desert mint is a sprawling perennial herb that is mostly native to sagebrush scrub, yellow pine forest and lodgepole pine forest plant communities of California. It has distinctive whorl-like flowers ranging in color from white to purple; long leaves and highly fragrant foliage when crushed. Like most perennial plants, this species can be grown in ornamental gardens to enjoy the seasonal display of color and attraction to birds and butterflies. It is a short-lived species that provides good landscape value for 2-3 years.

Desert mint is adapted to sunny and warm planting spaces in the Inland Empire where it can be sustained with low amounts of summer water. It is easily combined with monkey flower, penstemon, buckwheat and sage for a colorful and diverse hummingbird and butterfly garden. Loam soils and periodic summer water helps achieve the most attractive foliage character and flowering performance.

Water Needs

Desert mint grows best in sunny locations on well-drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water during summer. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; stems will sometime root when in contact with moist soils.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Sprawling, Dense
Growth Rate: Short-lived, Fast
Height: 1 ft.
Width: 3 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Bright green
Flower Color: White, Purple, Lavender
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Loam
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Hummingbird plant, Grouped, Flowering accent plant, Container plant, California native, Borders, Fragrant foliage, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


Cut back as needed in the fall to prevent it from getting leggy (2). Dead head spent blooms in summer, if desired (2).



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