Catnip is an easy-to-grow perennial grown primarily for its fragrant foliage that is extremely attractive to cats. A vigorous herb, catnip can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill or in a bright location outdoors. As with many mints, it can become invasive. Plant it in a location where it is easily controlled. And remove the flower heads before they mature and set seeds. Harvest catnip leaves at any time as a treat for your favorite feline. You also can dry the leaves and stuff them into kitty toys. The aromatic foliage also repels mosquitoes.
Light: Part sun, Sun
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Width: 18 inches wide
Flower color: White
Seasonal features: Summer bloom
Problem solvers: Drought tolerant
Special features: Attracts birds, Low maintenance
Catnip can be planted in your garden either from seed or from plants.
If you are growing catnip from seed, you will need to properly prepare the seeds. Catnip seeds are tough and need to be stratified or slightly damaged before they will sprout. This can be done by first placing the seeds in the freezer overnight and then placing the seeds in a bowl of water for 24 hours. This process will damage the seed coat and will make it much easier for the catnip seeds to sprout. After you have stratified the seeds, you can plant them indoors or outdoors. Thin them to one plant per 20 inches after the sprout.
You can also plant catnip from plant divisions or started plants. The best time for planting catnip starts or divisions is in either the spring or fall. Catnip plants should be planted 18 to 20 inches apart.
Catnip herb grows best in well draining soil in the full sun, but will tolerate part sun and a wide variety of soil types.
Once catnip plants are established, they need very little in the way of care. They do not need to be fertilized, as fertilizer can decrease the potency of their smell and flavor. They only need to be provided with water beyond rainfall if you are growing catnip in pots or if you are having drought conditions.
Catnip can become invasive in some areas so you need to take steps to control it. Catnip plants spread readily by seed so in order to control its spread, you will need to remove the flowers before they go to seed.
Growing catnip can be rewarding. Now that you know a few facts about how to grow catnip, you (and your cat) can enjoy this wonderful herb.