How to Grow Catnip Herb Plants
Perennial, Biennial, Nepeta cataria
Yes it true! Cats love Catnip! There was a time I did not believe it myself,
and thought it was just a fictional joke in cartoons. They love to nip the
leaves. They love to roll in it. They sometimes will take a nap in a bed
of it. They just plain love it. And, you will too.
A member of the Mint family, Catnip is a strong smelling, aromatic herb.
It has clusters of white or purplish-blue flowers atop toothy, heart shaped
leaves. There is also an uncommon yellow variety. The leaves have a lemon-mint
flavor and scent. It is fun to grow for your kitties, and as an herbal
tea for you.
Catnip is a perennial, and grows two to three feet. It is native to North
America. In addition to cats, bees are also fond of Catnip.
Grow Catnip plants from seed. Sow Catnip seeds into your garden in the spring.
Space seedlings or thin plants to 20" apart.
When growing catnip, allow for plenty of space. It will overcrowd nearby
plants in your herb garden, if allowed.
How to Grow Catnip Plants:
Catnip plants are easy to grow. They thrive in sun or partial shade. Grow
these plants in average, well drained soil. They grow well with little attention,
and withstand crowding. Fertilizer is not usually required, except in the
poorest of soils. In average soil, fertilizer is not needed.
After the plants have grown a few inches, pinch back the shoots to promote
bushy growth. It will first bloom in mid summer. After harvest, trim back
the plants again. With luck, you will get three harvests in a growing season.
Catnip are aggressive growers, crowding out other plants if given the chance.
Give them plenty of space away from other plants in your garden. Or, better
still, surround the plants, with deep border edging.
Harvest leaves as the flowers begin to bloom. Cut off the top leaves, stems
and flowers. They can be used fresh, dried or frozen. Spread leaves out to
dry in a cool and ventilated area.
The most popular use of Catnip is for cats. Rubbing oil on your cats' toys
will drive them wild.
With a lemony mint flavor, Catnip is also used cooking and especially in
Catnip herbal tea is often used in treating colds and cold symptoms.
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