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Products > Monardella villosa ssp. franciscana 'Russian River'
 
Monardella villosa ssp. franciscana 'Russian River' - Coyote Mint
   
Image of Monardella villosa ssp. franciscana 'Russian River'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Lavender
Bloomtime: Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Monardella franciscana]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10° F
Monardella villosa ssp. franciscana 'Russian River' (Coyote Mint) - A compact native evergreen sub-shrub that grows 1 to 2 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide with small aromatic dark mint green elliptically shaped leaves that are slightly hairy. From late spring (early June to late August) through late summer (early June to late August) appear the long lasting rich lavender colored floral display of compact puffball-like 1 to 2 inch heads of small flowers. Plant in sun or shade in coastal regions and part shade inland. Great is a well-drained soil and requires this if regularly irrigated but tolerant of heavier clay soils if not over irrigated - looks a bit nicer and blooms longer if given some summer water. It is cold hardy down to at least 10° F and useful in USDA zones 6-10. Shear back about one third of top growth in fall to keep more compact. While other Monardella have proven a bit difficult to grow, this one has proven to be a great native plant for the dry perennial, meadow or rock garden, as a small scale ground cover along dry path, cascading down a slope or growing over a retaining wall. Best in a sunny or partially shaded spot in the garden along the coast but needs some shade inland - good as an understory for unirrigated native oaks. Its nice minty scent is released when the foliage is brushed against and is in the air on warmer days and while being resistant to predation by deer, its flowers attract both bees and butterflies. Monardella villosa is found growing naturally in oak woodlands and dry chaparral, from southern Oregon south Santa Barbara county but the subspecies franciscana, which 'Russian River' is a selection of, is restricted to the coastal ranges from Mendocino County south to Monterey County. The name for the genus, published by George Bentham in 1834, is the diminutive of Monarda, meaning that Monardella has the general appearance of smaller plants of that genus. The genus Monardella was named for the Spanish physician and botanist Nicolás Bautista Monardes (1493-1588) who was interested in the medicinal uses of plants. The specific epithet is a Latin word meaning "hairy" in reference to the slightly hairy foliage and the etymology of the subspecies name is a reference to it being "of or from San Francisco" as this is . This plant was selected in 1992 by Sherrie Althouse of California Flora Nursery who relates that it was from a plant growing on a rocky slope along the lower Russian River at a location that was often inundated in high flow periods in the winter, which likely explains why this plant has a good tolerance to gardens that get irrigated.  This information is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of it in our nursery of crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we have visited. We will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Monardella villosa ssp. franciscana 'Russian River'.
 
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