How to Grow Catnip

Common Name Catnip, catmint
Botanical Name Nepeta cataria
Family Lamiaceae
Plant Type Perennial, herb
Size 2–3 ft. tall and wide
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Loamy, sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline (6.1 to 7.8)
Bloom Time Spring, summer, fall
Hardiness Zones 3–7 (USDA)
Native Area Europe, Asia
Toxicity Oil is toxic to cats


Watch Now: How to Grow and Take Care of Catnip

How to Plant Catnip

When to Plant

plant catmint in the jump after the threat of frost has passed in your area. Start catmint seeds indoors around six weeks anterior to your projected end frost date .

Selecting a Planting Site

The ideal garden location for catmint will get lots of sunlight and have well-drained dirty. Make sure no tall plants nearby are creating excessively much shade for the catmint throughout the day. however, if you live in a hot climate, catmint will appreciate some afternoon shade. Catnip besides grows well in containers. In fact, a planting site with some kind of limit, such as a pot, raised garden bed, or stone wall, will help to contain catmint ‘s spread .

Spacing, Depth, and Support

Space catmint plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the garden. Position nursery plants and seedlings at the lapp depth they were in their former container. lightly traverse seeds with territory. A digest structure is typically not necessity for catmint.

Catnip Plant Care


Catnip prefers wax sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days. besides little clean can cause leggy growth with sparse leaf. however, catmint does struggle in extreme point estrus. so if you live in a hot climate, give your catmint a small nuance from the potent good afternoon sun .


These plants aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate busy about their dirty american samoa long as they have thoroughly drain. They can tolerate poor, rocky, and dry soils. A well-draining arenaceous or loamy dirt is best with a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil ph.


Catnip is a very drought-tolerant implant, and sitting in boggy land can kill it. Keep the territory of seedlings thinly moist but not inert. mature plants likely won ’ t need watering unless you have a prolong time period of drought. If the leaf is wilting, give your catmint a deep water .

temperature and Humidity

Catnip prefers temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees. The plant tends to struggle in hot, humid climates. specially in high humidity, make indisputable there is good air circulation around the implant to help prevent fungal growth .


Mix some compost into the territory at the prison term of planting to give your catmint a boost. After that, catnip typically south korean won ’ thymine need extra feed. But if you have identical poor territory, you can use an general-purpose liquid plant food or a layer of compost each leap .


Catnip is a self-pollinating establish. It will attract bees and other pollinators to the garden .

catnip leaf detail

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong 

closeup of catnip blooming

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong 

cat licking catnip plant

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong  

Types of Catnip

Besides Nepeta cataria, there are several plants that go by the diagnose catmint, including :

  • Nepeta citriodora: Known as lemon catnip, this plant grows slightly smaller than Nepeta cataria and has a lemony fragrance.
  • Nepeta camphorata: Commonly referred to as camphor catnip, this plant remains under 2 feet tall and wide.
  • Nepeta parnassica: Known as Greek catnip, this plant also remains smaller than 2 feet tall and wide and bears light pink flowers.

Catnip vs. Catmint

The catmint plant Nepeta cataria is normally confused with the catmint plant Nepeta mussinii. Both plants have grey-green leaf on square stems. however, catmint has a longer bally period. And its flowers are purple while catmint ’ second are chiefly flannel. furthermore, catmint is the plant that attracts cats while catmint does not. catmint besides generally has a courteous shape, making it better for landscaping purposes.

Harvesting Catnip

Harvest catmint when it ’ randomness in blooming. late dawn is full time to harvest after the dew has dried but before the day heats up and potentially causes the plant to wilt. Cut off entire stalk or even the whole plant if you wish. Catnip is used dried in sachets, teas, cat toys, and more. Hang the stem inverted for drying in a black, dry, well-ventilated space arsenic soon as possible after harvesting. Once they ’ ve dried out, which normally takes two to three weeks, the leaves and flowers can be crumbled for use .

How to Grow Catnip in Pots

Growing catmint in a batch is a beneficial option because it will prevent the plant from spreading into unwanted places. Use a container that ’ s at least 12 inches in diameter, and make sure it has a drain hole. An unglazed clay container is ideal because it will allow excess land moisture to escape through its walls. Use a well-draining pot shuffle, and implant your catmint at the same depth it was in its previous container .


Pruning catmint is primarily to limit its spread and tidy up its growth. To minimize its spread, prune off the flowers as they ’ re starting to degrade and before they go to seeded player. This besides can encourage farther bally. besides, cut down modern sprouts from underground runners as they appear if you don ’ metric ton want the implant to spread. Furthermore, pinch back the root on young plants to encourage bushier growth. And after the first frost in the fall, cut back mature plants to just a few inches from the dirt. They will regenerate in the spring with fresh growth.

Propagating Catnip

Catnip will promptly spread on its own. But it ’ s besides easy to propagate the plant via cuttings. not only is this an cheap way to get a new plant, but cutting back the shank can besides promote bushier emergence on the parent plant. The best time to take cuttings is in the spring or early summer. here ’ sulfur how :

  1. Cut off a 4- to 6-inch piece of stem at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node.
  2. Remove the leaves on the lower half of the cutting. 
  3. Place the cutting either in a small container of water or moist soilless potting mix. A healthy root system will typically form in either scenario. Put the container in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.
  4. Change the container water each day, or continue to keep the potting mix moist. 
  5. Roots should appear within a week. Once the plant has produced new foliage growth, it’s ready to be transplanted. 

Mature catmint besides can be propagated via division. This is a great way to reinvigorate an overgrown establish. here ’ sulfur how :

  1. Dig up the plant, aiming to keep its roots as intact as possible.
  2. Use shears or a sharp spade to divide the clump in half. 
  3. Replant the separate clumps at the same depth they were previously growing.

How to Grow Catnip From Seed

Start seeds indoors about six weeks anterior to your projected end frost date in the spring. First, home them in a deep-freeze overnight, and then soak them in water for 24 hours. This stratification process can encourage germination. then, plant the seeds about 1/8 column inch deep in a tray filled with moisten seed-starting mix. Place the tray in a warm, bright blot. Continue to keep the dirty damp, and germination should occur within two weeks. Plant the seedlings outside after freeze is out of the prognosis .

Potting and Repotting Catnip

Potted catmint plants will broadly need more water and food than those grown in the ground. however, make certain the container does not become boggy. design to repot your catmint when you see roots growing out of the drain holes and popping up above the dirty trace. Choose one container size up, and replant with clean potting blend. even if your implant doesn ’ t need a larger container, it ’ mho ideal to refresh it with raw potting shuffle every couple of years .


Catnip typically does fine over the winter within its growing zones. Cut bet on any tender new growth in the drop, therefore cold weather doesn ’ triiodothyronine price it and weaken the plant. And be sure to stop fertilize in the fall to avoid promoting new growth. Don ’ thyroxine water system the implant over winter. Wet land in the winter can be fatal .

coarse Pests and Plant Diseases

Catnip international relations and security network ’ t prone to many plague or disease issues. If the plant sits in boggy land for besides long, it can succumb to rot. Another concern is the plant attracting cats, who will try to rub and roll on the leaf and potentially damage the stem turn. Placing some garden fence or stakes around the plant can help to prevent this, as can growing the catmint in a container .


  • Is catnip easy to grow?

    catmint plants are quite comfortable to grow and can tolerate many different growing conditions .

  • How long does it take to grow catnip?

    Catnip is a fast agriculturist and will reach its senesce size within one growing season .

  • Does catnip come back every year?

    Catnip is a perennial plant and will come back in the garden each year .

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