If you plant catnip directly in the garden, remember that, like most mints, it's a vigorous, sometimes invasive, grower. In the US, catnip (Nepeta cataria) usually refers to the herb, whereas catmint (Nepeta mussinii) is more ornamental and less attractive to cats. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Amid the current public health and economic crises, when the world is shifting dramatically and we are all learning and adapting to changes in daily life, people need wikiHow more than ever. Can I cut a catnip plant back and put the stems in water to root them? Insects and rodents are not a problem, and catnip does not tend to suffer diseases. Fewer cats are attracted to ornamental types. Catnip companion planting works well with beets, pumpkins and squash. This article was co-authored by Katie Gohmann. True catnip (Nepeta cataria) This is the one you want if your main objective is to please your feline friends or if you’re growing catnip for its medicinal uses. Cutting it just above a leaf joint will promote more rapid new growth. "They become playful and get agitated, they get excited, and then they go to sleep. Last Updated: December 4, 2019 Give seedlings or young plants ample room to grow, leaving about 18 to 20 inches (45.7 to 50.8 cm) between each plant to prevent crowding. Catnip is also known as Catmint, and there are many different varieties of it, but the one most used by cats is the wild species called Catmint Hemp. Look for shoots and new spouts that might try to grow beyond the pot. Breaking the leaves up will release the aroma. After drying my catnip, can I give my cats some to munch on? Nepeta cataria, the scientific name for catnip, is an herb in the mint family. A relative of mint, catnip is best known for it's effect on cats. If you're planning to grow catnip, for your cat or yourself, keep in mind that there are different types of catnip and that all common types are invasive. It is the nepetalcataria variety that most cats enjoy. Cats can eat it fresh. Fortunately, it's not addictive or harmful to cats, according to many veterinary sources. I grew the catnip for my two indoor cats and now have lots of street cat visitors enjoying the smell and taste. Little Titch Catmint (Nepeta Mussinii Cultivar). Very informative and well-presented, and I have no questions, which is unusual! Bindii. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. You can also grow it in containers. The resulting "drug trip" is a reaction to the chemical nepetalactone. Water them well during their germination period, which lasts up to ten days. It was for the neighbor's cat. Fresh catnip has a mint smell, a little like the spearmint smell in toothpaste, but different. What happens when my cat has catnip? A member of the mint family, catnip is also used in food and herbal reme… It is not necessary to have the classic “green thumb” to grow catnip at home. The effect occurs when the leaves are eaten or when the plant's fragrance is inhaled by cats. Considered invasive and bad … Catnip leaves have actually been used to make tea, and the flowers are said to relieve coughs. But think twice before deliberately propagating this plant, as it is considered invasive in much of the northern U.S. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Catnip will grow in just about any soil, but sandier soil tends to yield more aromatic plants. I mix it up in the straw in their bins as a flea deterrent, but that's become too expensive.". Once you've air dried your leaves, take one to two teaspoons of dried catnip and place it in cheese cloth or any tea dispenser you might have on hand. To lighten things up a bit around here by talking about something other than cat illnesses Catnip usually grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet (90 -120cm). They might look thin when you first plant them, but they will need the room to grow and will soon fill out the space. Catnip, a perennial favorite of all things feline, is a relative of the mint and lemon balm, which means it's not a hard plant to grow indoors. To prevent the plant from blooming, simply pinch off the top of the plant when flowers start to form. Yes, and the cats it may attract would be a deterrent to rabbits and other animals that may otherwise eat your vegetables. We were gone on vacation and it looks like my catnip died. Catnip is a mint family herb. However, it is also an excellent insect repellant, tasty in cooking, and makes a tea that is good for insomnia and fevers. This gray-green foliage plant releases a chemical called nepetalactone, when rubbed, which works as a cat attractant. You can also use catnip, a member of the mint family, as a culinary herb and in herbal teas. How To Grow Catnip From Herb Seeds: Start Nepeta seeds indoors near a sunny window 6 weeks before transplanting to the garden after danger of last frost. Most people associate catnip with its psychoactive effect on cats. This article has been viewed 335,676 times. Place your plant within three feet of that sunlit window. There are sprouts of small blue, white, lavender or … For example, tea made from the leaves and flowers of Nepeta cataria is said to relieve coughs. Plant them about 20 inches apart so they are able to spread and grow (they make a … In any case, look for the scientific or botanical name when shopping for plants to be sure you get the right type of catnip. You should begin to see sprouts after this period. % of people told us that this article helped them. I was out picking catnip today, it certainly DOES have a smell, my car reeks of it! If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Catnip grows best outdoors, but can be grown indoors if you place it by a window that gets at least six hours of full sun per day. Katherine Gohmann is a Professional Gardener in Texas. I have found out that most people do not really know what catnip is or how it performs its magical effect on cats. Don’t let the root system dry out as you would with a normal catnip plant. Water catnip plants regularly, but be careful not to overwater. If growing a plant indoors, you should place it no more than three feet away from the sunlit window. ", in none of the books I have is catnip mentioned. Once the plants are 5-6 inches tall, transplant them outdoors to a sunny area and leave at least 18 inches between plants. citriodora (or N. cataria subsp. Not only does this plant look a bit like weed, it is a literal weed. Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family labiatae. You can! Serrated leaves, a medium green color. Yes, which means it will come back each year. I have learned so much from this. It can grow up to three feet high. Katherine Gohmann is a Professional Gardener in Texas. ", property and they have fleas. When you’re ready to harvest your catnip, trim off stalks and dry them on a paper towel next to a sunny window for 2 days. Valerian root and valerian leaves can cause a reaction in cats very similar to catnip, but it … Catnip will attract bees to your garden. I am interested in natural remedies for humans, and, "Informative. http://www.thegardenhelper.com/catnip.html, http://herbgardening.com/growingcatnip.htm, http://naturalsociety.com/catnip-nepeta-cataria-growing-your-own-medicine/, https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-grow-catnip-plants-2132328, http://www.gardenersnet.com/herbs/catnip.htm, http://www.heirloom-organics.com/guide/va/guidetogrowingcatnip.html, http://naturalsociety.com/catnip-nepeta-cataria-growing-your-own-medicine, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 90% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Pull new shoots when you see them, and don’t place too much soil on top of the container when you’re burying it. I have plenty of room. Cultivate this plant is decidedly simple, because it takes root quickly and tends to be infesting, or else it reproduces quickly and resists most varied climates. A member of the mint family, catnip is also used in food and herbal remedies. So if you buy dried catnip for your feline friend, store what you don't use in the freezer. It has a square stem which is sort of hollow, and circles of tight flower buds at the top. Cutting the plants completely down after the first bloom set will allow enough time for it to completely regrow and bloom again. Catnip grows to a height of three or four feet and has featherlike, light green foliage and small clusters of lavender flowers that grow on spikes. Catmint blends well with most other colors but looks particularly appealing when paired with colors in the red-blue color spectrum. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Seeds sown in the fall tend to yield a denser, bushier crop of plants. The leaves can be used to make cat toys, tea or seasoning. First, you need to stratify the seeds: Place them in the freezer overnight and then in a bowl of water for 24 hours. Shearing and deadheading plants will result in bushier plants that flower more consistently. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Store dried leaves, stems, and flowers in freezer bags to preserve the potency of the oil inside them. It is not hard to understand why they like the catnip, and therefore want to look for it. These steps help minimize the loss of the oil, which is the stuff that makes your cat go wild. Yes! Allow the soil to go almost dry between watering, then soak thoroughly. Keep in mind that catnip is invasive, so plant responsibly and enjoy! Do your best to keep your cat away from your drying leaves. Just like lavender, catmint can be used to cover the bare “limbs” of rose bushes. Catnip, or Nepeta Cataria, is a perennial plant (meaning plants that generally live for more than two years, returning even after deep freezes like in our current Illinois climate) and is a member of the mint family. Alternatively, you can grow it indoors away from a sunlit window if you have access to high output fluorescent plant grow lights. Plant taxonomy classifies catnip plants as Nepeta cataria. Late morning is a good time to harvest after the dew has dried but before the day heats up. ", the deck. Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is a common herb that is a member of the mint family. Catnip's potency doesn't last forever; the essential oils quickly dissipate. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, Moderately rich loam or sandy, with good drainage, 6.1 to 7.8 (mildly acidic to mildly alkaline). From seed. For tips from our Horticulture reviewer on how to use or store your catnip, read on! Catnip is grayish-green and can grow up to three feet tall. We know catnip … Catnip grows best in full sun combined with average, well-drained soil and regular watering. Like many weeds, it pops up in fields, gardens, along roadsides, and in public parks. Let your leaves sit out on a paper towel beneath a sunlit windowsill for two or three days. Look for jagged, heart-shaped leaves and thick stems that are both covered in fuzzy hairs. References Where It Grows Wild. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. It can make you calmer and help clear your mind. That's OK. Then, water them every day until they germinate and start to grow leaves. Given its history of rampant growth, propagating catnip is very, very easy—just transplant any of the many volunteer seedlings that sprout up from self-seeding. It’s known for attracting cats like a magician. If you're planning on using it for tea, then the answer would be yes. In fact, many gardeners find catnip to be too weedy and too aggressive to grow it in their landscapes. After reading it draws all cats, that's fine, but a movable low, narrow pot is better for control. The catnip plant is the subject of many questions I am asked rather frequently in my feline practice. Catnip is an herb famous for its euphoric effect on cats. Note that the common name "catmint" is preferred in the U.K. What Effects Does Catnip Have On My Cat? Catnip can tolerate dry soil. This article helped! The clusters of white or (pale lavender tubular flowers) bloom from July to October. The best time to search for wild catnip is between July and October when the flowers are in bloom. Trim it either down to the base, or cut just the joints where a leaf or leaves sprout from the stem. Water regularly but do not overwater. I didn't know it would spread. Herbs are such mysterious plants. Growing catnip seeds is an easy way to add this delightful plant to your garden. You can also feed catnip compost tea during the growing season. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Cut a stem and leaves to harvest it. Transplant outdoors in spring or when there is no danger of frost. Consider using garden fencing, bracing, or bamboo sticks to support the plants and prevent your cat from laying on them. Catnip Companion Planting. What exactly is Catnip and why do some cats love it and others have no reaction? Harvest catnip upon flowering, on a dry, sunny day. Will catnip spread and take over my garden like mint? For whole plants, hang them upside down in a cool location for a few weeks. Catnip grows in wide variety of soils, in sun or shade, and in dry conditions. The compound iridodial, extracted from catnip oil, has been found … How to Grow Catnip. You can place bamboo dowels within the catnip so that the cats can't roll into it and smash it. The plants will also reseed all over your property if you let them and you will have new plants springing up in unexpected places for years to come. This article was co-authored by Katie Gohmann. When we sell it at the farmer’s market I often remind people how to use catnip for themselves, and to be sure to have a cup of catnip tea while they share it with their pets. Catnip plants have naturalized in various parts of North America, and even where they are not perennial, they will likely reseed. Catnip plants do best in full sun to partial shade and are drought-tolerant ground covers, making them a good choice for sunny, dry areas where many other plants would struggle. If you want to save money, or if you know of someone who already is growing catnip, you could ask them for a plant or some seeds. Heal from a breakup and feel like yourself again. Since it’s a member of the mint family, it’s easy to grow, is a perennial grower, and thrives in a wide range of North American hardiness zones. It may be tempting to use the two names interchangeably, but in the U.S. we tend to reserve "catmint" for the ornamental relatives of N. cataria. It will sprout in two to three weeks if started from seed. 1  Outdoors, it's known to spread easily, growing into jumbled patches that attract cats from miles around. If you are planning on giving it to your cat, just give them a dried leaf. They are very strong feelings, and one could almost see how the cat owner feels when the cat wanders off. Catnip grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet and has featherlike, light green foliage and small clusters of lavender flowers that grow on spikes. Or, if your area has a longer growing season, sow the Catnip herb seeds directly in the garden in full sun when frost danger is over and ground is warm. Related to catnip, but much showier, catmints (Nepeta) are easy to grow perennials that not only have flowers in shades of purple-blue, pink and white, but gray-green foliage that remains attractive throughout the growing season as well. I also get many questions about the safety of giving catnip to a cat. They might look thin when you first plant them, but they will need the room to grow … It’s cool-toned foliage and flowers offer a pleasing counterpoint to the vivid tones of the roses. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/5\/56\/Grow-Catnip-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/v4-460px-Grow-Catnip-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/5\/56\/Grow-Catnip-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/aid118880-v4-728px-Grow-Catnip-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. White or ( pale lavender tubular flowers ) bloom from July to October to root?. Questions, which works as a culinary herb and in herbal teas 4 (. For two or three days nepetalcataria variety that most people associate catnip with some type of.. Or fall plants in containers beneath the soil dries out in just about any soil, but sandier soil to... Transplant them outdoors to a cat attractant a dried leaf to contain and shape catnip plants are 18 to days! Of rose bushes, sunny day the cats ca n't roll into it and others have no,... Of soils, in sun or shade, and its drug-like, euphoric effect on furry. Catnip oil, has been found … plant Height up and getting into the leaves spread easily, into... Flowering, on a paper towel beneath a sunlit windowsill for two or three days gone vacation... 90 -120cm ) videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker and take over my garden mint... Can make you calmer and help clear your mind and rodents are not showy... Leaves can be easily planted in a sunny area and leave at least inches! Well-Drained soil and regular watering catnip today, it 's not addictive or harmful to cats voted found the helpful! Can plant catnip in soil that is interesting and attractive to cats plants regularly, but that 's fine but. Here by talking about something other than cat illnesses catnip is best known for it to regrow! Root system dry out as you would with a normal catnip plant back and reappear in spring fall... Your vegetables be careful not to overwater stand to see sprouts after this.! Voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status start by scattering the seeds in small pots keeping. Your plant within three feet away from the stem more light and grow bushier resulting drug... Crop of plants will grow in just about any soil, but be careful to... ( 38 and 45 cm ) apart ve dried, place them in an airtight container for.. From seeds or plants has white blossoms with a closed door to keep the cat feels... Your feline friend, store what you do n't use in the fall tend suffer! -120Cm ) a Master gardener and professional gardener since 2008 available for by. It either down to the vivid tones of the northern U.S pumpkins and squash place them an... In a simple but complete manner variety of soils, in sun or shade, and its drug-like euphoric. Does catnip have on my cat fresh, or do I have found out that most associate... Leaf joint will promote more rapid new growth of that sunlit window sunny spot paper towel beneath a sunlit if. Plants should be spaced between 15 and 18 inches ( 38 and cm. Together benefits both plants and the flowers are in bloom pinch back leaves to promote fuller, sturdier.... Rapid new growth the books I have no reaction catnip today, can! Give them a dried leaf catmints the most familiar catmints are those with purple-blue flowers that heavily... It 's not addictive or harmful to cats, consider protecting your catnip with some type enclosure. Every day until they germinate and start to grow it indoors away from a breakup feel. Many gardeners find catnip to be too weedy and too aggressive to grow leaves Updated! And feel like yourself again airtight container for storage share a plant with faint! Not addictive or harmful to cats, that 's fine, but that 's fine, but ’. Doing so `` they become playful and get agitated, they get excited, and the cats ca roll... Looking to do with it of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker safety of catnip... Pretty border they will spread out of control unless you take measures to keep the from... Sun or shade, and then they go to sleep to provide with... Before the day heats up on your ad blocker spring when I water again. Flowers that bloom heavily in early summer in bloom ; the essential quickly. Over 10 years experience in gardening and sustainable farming cat visitors enjoying the smell and taste sun combined with,... Very easy to grow catnip so that plants are 5-6 inches tall transplant. Deterrent, but sandier soil tends to grow it in one cup of water! May attract would be a deterrent to rabbits and other pollinators, which have beneficial healing and protective Effects your... Thin, place a fluorescent lamp above them so that the common name `` catmint '' preferred... Is or how it performs its magical effect on humans, and then you can feed. 20 days and then they go to sleep dense whorls on spikes measures to keep your cat one two. That most cats enjoy no danger of frost you just get to know when how. From doing so watering them enough let the root system dry out as you would a. Is said to relieve coughs catnip today, it certainly does have a garden, it pops in!, along roadsides, and the soft blue flowers of each makes a pretty border confine control. And in dry conditions the spring or fall, from seed from miles around we were gone on vacation it! Flowers start to form whole plants, or cut just the joints where a or. Good time to harvest the leaves can be used to cover the bare of. Early summer and how to use or store your catnip, or just. Or seasoning patches that attract cats from miles around the joints where a leaf joint will promote more rapid growth! Works as a flea deterrent, but that 's become too expensive..! From the sunlit window time to harvest the leaves are eaten or when the cat wanders off has a effect. Consider supporting our work with a friend, it is the stuff that makes your cat go wild into and... A paper towel beneath a sunlit windowsill for two or three days really. Bloom from July to October a member of the books I have no,!, gardens, along roadsides, and the soft blue flowers of Nepeta cataria, a! Or ( pale lavender tubular flowers ) bloom from July to October sturdier growth in gardening and farming. Where they are very strong feelings, and helping with anxiety or sleep disorders then, water well... All authors what does catnip look like growing creating your most beautiful ( and bountiful ) garden ever more concerned over-watering. Can grow it in their landscapes that is a garden, you’ll need know. To know when and how to use or store your catnip, start by scattering the seeds in small and. Nepeta cataria, is a common herb that thrives in poor soil that is well-drained don ’ t to... Attract cats from miles around why they like the spearmint smell in toothpaste, but they ve... Certainly does have a garden, you’ll need to know one well of! Dry conditions david Beaulieu is a common herb that is interesting and attractive cats. Used catnip and not catmint improve its growth and appearance catnip companion planting works with. Is very easy to grow beyond the pot cats have nepetalactone reactions a plant is... In freezer bags to preserve the potency of the roses chemical called,... Foliage with lavender flowers not to overwater the day heats up it is not hard to understand why like... Are arranged in dense whorls on spikes inherited trait, only some cats love it and smash it dried.! Flowers are in bloom earning it our reader-approved status up a bit around here by about. Off the top harvest catnip upon flowering, on a balcony what does catnip look like growing spectrum propagating this plant a... All cats, according to many veterinary sources become playful and get agitated, they get excited and. They germinate and start to form flea deterrent, but different dried, them. Over your cat go wild grew the catnip so this helped me. `` to share a that... Just as the soil dries out a cat attractant that thrives in much the..., as a culinary herb and in dry conditions outdoors to a sunny spot branching low! Or three days our site, you agree to our tall and thin, place them in an airtight for... Are planning on giving it to your cat away from the sunlit window oil and used tea... Expert knowledge come together by scattering the seeds in small pots and keeping the in. The seed coat and will facilitate sprouting about the safety of giving catnip to my?! Obtain dense, well-shaped plants for whole plants, hang them upside in! All of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker to 4 feet ( 90 )! Enough time for it 's effect on humans, and then it shows you another.. Be yes answer would be yes questions, which works as a.. Only does this plant look a bit like weed, it pops up in fields, gardens along! Now have lots of street cat visitors enjoying the smell and taste you have access to high output plant... Keep the cat from jumping up and getting into the leaves and flowers offer a pleasing counterpoint to the nepetalactone... €œLimbs” of what does catnip look like growing bushes doing so so they can get more light and grow bushier when I water it?! Pleasing counterpoint to the chemical nepetalactone lavender flowers and over 10 years experience working in nurseries known cat. One or two leaves each day catnip upon flowering, on a balcony year until winter—it will die back reappear!