Bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and gardeners all appreciate the lovely purple-pink flowers of Wall Germander. Imported from the mountains of southwest Asia and Europe, this woody herb resembles a diminutive, flowering boxwood, growing about one to two feet high and wide. Germander has small, oval shaped leaves of glossy green. The short flower spikes appear in mid-summer and continue until fall. Their minty scent perfumes the air (and may attract the neighborhood cat).
Hardy to USDA zone 4, Wall Germander does well below about 7,000 ft. (The plant in the photograph is doing well at Colorado Springs Utility’s Xeriscape Demonstration Garden on Mesa Road.) Foliage that dies back in winter will be quickly replaced by new growth once weather warms. A protective winter mulch improves winter survival.
Situate purchased seedlings in full sun. Germander is somewhat xeric, preferring sandy, well-drained soil that dries out a bit between waterings; be careful not to overwater in clay, especially while plants are dormant. Trimming off dead flowers keeps plants neat, as does removal of winter-killed stems in early spring.
Wall Germander takes well to pruning, and is used as a low hedge for formal herb and knot gardens. Its low profile makes it ideal for edging, in rock gardens, and in troughs or other containers. Longer branches may be cut in the fall and brought inside to form a delightfully scented wreath.
Article and photographs by Leslie Holzmann, Certified Colorado Gardener