How to Grow Catnip
Nepeta (Catnip) is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their famous effect on cats—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. According to traditional herb medicine, catnip tends to have a sedative effect on humans.
The genus is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is now also common in North America. Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to grayish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. The flowers are tubular and spotted with tiny purple dots.
Perennial (zones 3-9)
7-10 at Days 60-70° F
Moist or Dry
1" apart, 1/8" depth
DAYS OF HARVEST
Set out transplants in the spring after the last frost. Keep plants full by pinching the growing stems and flower buds when they appear. The small white flowers that appear in the summer will form seeds that sprout; the plant also spreads by underground runners.
Some cats are very rough on plants. To keep plants from being loved to death, cover each with an arch of chicken wire. The stems can grow up through the holes, yet the plant's base and roots are protected.
Harvest leaves by cutting the stems anytime during the growing season. The foliage keeps its scent best when air dried.
Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hands and then carefully winnow away the chaff.
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