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Clinopodium_georgiana_2005-10-05
Clinopodium georgiana
    ( Clinopodium        georgiana )
Georgia basil, Georgia savory, Georgia calamint, taken on October 5, 2005.
Photo Credit: Mike Strickland

Be the first in your neighborhood to plant this overlooked treasure! Do you have a hot, sunny, well-drained site? Do you like plants that maintain an evergreen presence most of the year? Consider Georgia basil, Clinopodium georgianum, also called Georgia savory and Georgia calamint. Georgia basil is in the mint family but is a dense shrub standing 1 to 2 feet high with a 2 foot spread - quite an unusual growth habit for a native species of the mint family and it looks similar to rosemary especially its blossoms. This is a very pleasant looking, aromatic evergreen shrub even before its showy blooms. Beginning to flower in late August, this subshrub produces numerous small pale blue to violet flowers in the axils of the upper parts of most of its branches into November and depending on the winter, December. You will definitely appreciate that it does not reproduce with aggressive rhizomes! The small, slim, light green leaves have a mild minty odor with a hint of oregano when crushed. Consider siting this plant in a sunny area that you often pass by so you can enjoy the flowers and the aroma as you brush it.

Clinopodium georgianum remains mostly evergreen in zone 7 and in anticipation of a colder than usual winter, you may want to give it a more protected location (but still in the sun and not wet) and winter mulch. If it goes deciduous, wait for new growth in spring and trim branches that do not leaf out.

As with most mints, this plant is fairly easy to reproduce so once you have one, you can make more. Enjoy that it does not require a lot of water.

Common uses for this plant include: Being mostly evergreen, this small shrub is very versatile in sunny locations. Use its spring and summer greenness in a bed of colorful plants and let it steal the show in late summer and fall. Its mature size also allows it to be a standalone small shrub.

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