Most germanders are from the Mediterranean, though one listed here (T. canadense) is native to eastern North America. All have aromatic evergreen foliage and whorls of little flowers. These are tough plants that endure poor, rocky soils; most can't stand wet or poorly drained soils but will tolerate regular watering where drainage is good. Not usually browsed by deer.
T. canadense. AMERICAN GERMANDER, WOOD SAGE. From prairies and meadows of eastern North America. Erect grower to 3 ft. tall, 6 in. wide, usually with a single stem. Spreads by creeping rhizomes to form colonies. Narrowly oval, pointed, dark green leaves are large for a germanderup to 4 in. long. Rosy pink flowers appear on 8- to 12-in.-tall spikes in mid- to late summer. Full sun or partial shade. Regular to ample water.
T. chamaedrys. GERMANDER. To 1 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide, with many upright, woody-based stems densely clothed in toothed, dark green, 34-in.-long leaves. Red-purple or white summer flowers in loose spikes (white-flowered form is looser). Attracts bees. Use as edging, foreground, low clipped hedge, or small-scale ground cover. Shear back once or twice a year to keep neat and force side branching. 'Nanum' ('Prostratum') is 46 in. high, spreading to 3 ft. or more; good substitute for dwarf English boxwood in formal parterres.
T. fruticans. BUSH GERMANDER, TUTTI-FRUTTI. Loose, silvery-stemmed plant to 48 ft. tall and wide (or wider). Gray-green, 114-in.-long leaves have silvery white undersides, giving plant an overall silvery gray appearance. Blooms almost year-round, bearing lavender-blue flower spikes at branch ends. Thin and cut back before spring growth begins. 'Azureum' has deeper blue flowers than the species; 'Compactum', also with dark blue blooms, grows just 3 ft. high and wide.
T. marum. CAT THYME. To 112 ft. high and wide. Upright, densely clustered stems are closely set with tiny gray-green leaves. Blooms profusely in summer, when stems are covered with many deep pink or purplish flowers in 2-in. spikes. Attracts cats, like catnip (Nepeta cataria).