Focus on Natives: Georgia Calamint
Georgia Calamint (Calamintha georgiana) is a wildflower native to the southeast. Most of the year, it’s a small shrub covered
Georgia Calamint (Calamintha georgiana) is a wildflower native to the southeast. Most of the year, it’s a small shrub covered in green needle-like foliage, but when fall arrives, this member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) bursts into prolific bloom for several weeks.
The small blooms are delicate and beautiful up close, and are a draw for bees and small butterflies. The foliage is mint-scented with a hint of spiciness, giving it the alternate name Georgia Basil, and is used in teas and cooking like other herbs. Calamint is deciduous and will lose its foliage briefly in cooler months, so pick and dry it in advance for use during the winter.
Georgia Calamint likes sandy, well-drained soil and full to part sun. It does best in zone 8, where it’s native, but can be grown in zones 7 – 9 as well. Look for it at native plant nurseries, or grow from cuttings if you have a friend or neighbor who is willing to share. (Note that this plant is considered endangered in Florida, so do not dig it up and move it if you find it in the wild.) Do you grow and love Georgia Calamint? Tell us about it in the comments below!