The flower head of catnip, with a purplish white head, attracts pollinators. (Photo: Wiki Commons).
It is hardy in zones 3 through 9. Plant it in well-drained soil and water sparingly. Catnip likes to be dry. It is so you can use it in a xeriscape. Like most mints, it prefers full sun, but will . Full grown plants grow 2’ to 3’ tall. It is recommended that you pinch the plants to make them bushier. Catnip has a tendency to get tall and leggy and fall over. The flowers are white or lavender and bloom time is late spring through fall if you deadhead.
If you don’t deadhead your catnip flowers, you will have many volunteers in your garden from the seeds. It can become invasive if you are not watchful.
Bulk Catnip leaves and flowers in 1/4, 1/2 and 1 lb. increments.
Now silent! Your cats can play quietly with these flower cat toys.
A lovely perennial plant that is easy to grow and needs very little care once established. Fairly drought tolerant and does not spread out as many plants in the mint family do. Has fairly showy white flower stalks that will bloom from early summer until the frost. Lots of leaves which make it look exotic. Deer and rabbits don't eat it. However cats do and will destroy quite large plants if they can. Butterflies and bees love the flowers.Medicinal & practical uses and lore: This is the plant whose aromas, when bruised, are beloved by cats. It seems to have an intoxicating affect on them. Living plants that have not been bruised and not giving off an odor are usually not bothered, but once bruised or dried, the cats love it, or as Michael Moore wrote (Ref. #30) Catnip while not extremely showy, makes a good border plant when used with hyssop. Catnip has a long history of folk medicinal use. Mrs. Grieve (Ref. #7) reports that the English brewed Catnip Tea before the importation of tea from China. (Catnip must be infused, never boiled, to make tea). In folk medicine the flowering tops were collected when in full bloom to make an infusion drunk as you would tea. This treated fever, colic and nervousness and headaches. Tilford (Ref. #39) likewise recommends the plant for a tea, it being high in vitamins and trace minerals. Young leaves and buds are edible and added to a green salad with a lemon or herb vinaigrette are said to be delicious. Densmore (Ref. #5) reports the Minnesota Chippewa used a decoction of the leaves to treat fever. Growing. Catnip seeds require light to germinate so where ever you sow them make sure they are on the top of the soil. Catmint can be sown directly sown outside in selected location after danger of frost has passed. Make sure the area stays clear of weeds to allow the seeds to germinate in the light. Keep soil moist until germination occurs and until the small seedlings are large enough to be cut back to daily watering. Thin to about 2 feet apart. Since seed germination can be erratic we recommend starting indoors to avoid weeding and have better control. . For early start on larger plants sow indoors in late winter to early spring. Ensure the soil is moist until germination and while the seedlings are small. Germination can be erratic ranging from 14 - 40 days especially at cooler temperatures. Some seedlings come up fast while others seem to take forever. For this reason we recommend either small pots or individual cell plug trays so larger seedlings can be removed without disturbing the rest. Once the seedling is established it will grow rapidly and will flower in the first year from seed.Catnip is an erect perennial best known for the minty odor emitted by its leaves and stems when they are crushed or wilted. The odor is very attractive to cats. Other distinctive characteristics are downy foliage and the serrated appearance of the leaf edges, which resembles the toothed edge of a saw. The flower shape is common among members of the mint family consisting of 2 lips, and flower color is white with unusual purple dots. Along with most members of the mint family, catnip has square stems. This species reproduces by seeds and it also produces short rhizomes (horizontal underground stems).