Catnip is known to trigger a ‘high’ in cats. It has been attracting cats form well over a couple of centuries. But catnip is much more than just an attraction for your cats. It is a great herb to grow indoors and is widely used in medicines as well as can be used in the kitchen.
I first read about catnip plants when I had my first pet cat. Someone told me that these are essential to a cat-friendly garden. I did some research and found out how easy it is to plant catnip. I grew them in my garden and my cats loved it.
Catnip is easy to grow. Whether you are growing it for your cats or to be used in your kitchen, this guide will help you out. Read on to know how to grow catnip easily.
Everything You Need to Know About the Catnip Plant
Catnip is a member of the mint family. It is a herb and its scientific name is Nepeta cataria. Catnip plant UK is commonly known as ‘catmint‘. It is a perennial native to Centra Asia, the Middle East, eastern and southern Europe, and some parts of China. Catnip is one of the easiest plants to cultivate. It is now also widely grown in North America, New Zealand, and northern Europe. In the U.S., it grows well in the hardiness zones of 3 to 9 (https://bonnieplants.com/how-to-grow/growing-catnip/). It is also a great plant to be grown indoors in containers. This allows you to grow it the year-around.
Catnip has light green, feather-like foliage. It grows to a height of three to four feet and gives off small lavender-colored flowers that appear on its spikes.
Uses of Catnip
Catnip has uses not only for cats but also for humans. This is why many people want to make it a part of their indoor herb garden. Nepetalactone is the active ingredient in catnip. It is an essential oil that mimics the functioning of a feline pheromone in cats. This triggers their brain receptors and gives them a state of high. It has euphoric side effects for cats. Catnip acts as a sedative for your cat if eaten. If it is only sniffed, it acts as a stimulant. It is completely non-addictive and safe for cats. The euphoric effect lasts for about 15 minutes.
When it comes to humans, catnips have many medicinal uses. However, it does not induce the same kind of euphoric response in humans as it does in cats and other felines. It is widely used to treat headaches and induce menstruation. It is also found to help people facing sleep or anxiety disorders (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDrBrW4MZIg).
Here is a complete guide on how you can plant catnip easily in your garden.
Catnip plants can be grown from seeds or plants. If you are using catnip seeds, you need to prepare them beforehand. Catnip seeds are tough. Therefore, it is important to first stratify or damage them slightly before planting them. This will help them sprout. To do this, simply place the seeds in the freezer overnight and later place them in a bowl full of water for another day. This will make the seeds sprout easily. Once the seeds are stratified, they can be planted indoors or outdoors, as you wish. Once the seeds sprout, plant each seed at a distance of about 20 inches (http://herbgardening.com/growingcatnip.htm).
Catnip plants can also be grown from started plants or plant divisions. The best time to plant these is during the fall or spring. Plants should be sown about 18-20 inches apart.
Choose a place where your cats can easily roll and rub in it without causing any harm to the adjacent plants.
Catnip plants do well in full sun. However, they also thrive in partial shade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SohDBvxIem0). These plants are drought-tolerant which makes them a great choice for dry and sunny areas. These plants do well in the areas where other plants usually struggle.
For growing catnip, you need well-drained soil. This plant, like many other perennial herbs, thrives in poor soil as well. The plant prefers a slightly alkaline soil. However, a little higher pH doesn’t affect its growth as long as the roots of the plant are not constantly drowned in water.
You should water your catnip plants regularly. However, make sure that they are not over-watered. The soil should be allowed to dry up between your watering sessions. During watering, soak the soil thoroughly in water and then wait again for it to dry before watering the plants again (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/catnip/growing-catnip.htm).
Humidity and Temperature
Catnip grows well in a temperature range of 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Catnip plant does not need any fertilizers to thrive.
It is important to note that catnip can become invasive in some areas. Therefore, you must take steps to control its spread. You may need to remove its flowers before they go on and start their seeding process and add to the rapid growth of the plant.
How long does catnip take to grow?
Catnip seeds take about two to three weeks to sprout. Once the seed has sprouted, the plant will start growing.
Will growing catnip attract cats?
Yes, growing catnip will attract cats towards your garden. Therefore, it is best to have some kind of fence or enclosure to protect your plants from unwelcome neighborhood cats.
Does catnip come back every year?
Catnip is a perennial. It means that the plant comes back every year if proper care is taken.
Catnip is a great plant for not only your cats but also for yourself. This was all the basic information you need when growing catnip in your garden. It has a psychoactive effect on cats and makes them sedated and high for some time. It is also used to treat headaches and insomnia in humans. Here are some important points to take care of when planting Nepeta cataria:
- The plant needs plenty of sunlight
- It thrives in well-drained soil
- It doesn’t need any fertilizers
- Ensure a gap of 18-20 inches between each plant
Have any more questions on how to grow catnip? Get in touch with us in the comments and get answers to all your questions.