Chef's Pick Care Tips
Catnip Growing Tips
If one of your cats loves catnip, you're probably hooked on this easy-to-grow perennial. Catnip (Nepeta cataria as well as other Nepeta species) is actually part of the mint family.
Site: Give catnip rich, well-drained soil. It tolerates most soil conditions (pH 6.1 to 7.8) but does like regular watering and partial to full sun. Catnip can have an aroma that's a cross between peppermint and skunk. It isn't to everyone's taste so keep plants away from your deck or patio.
Growing: Thin or transplant to 3 feet apart. It makes a good pot plant. Prune dropping branches to encourage new growth in autumn. Grow indoors in winter (don't worry if it drops its leaves). Prune and spray with warm water in spring to revive the plant.
Most catnip varieties grow to a height of about three to four feet, and plants can get top-heavy with large serrated leaves, toppling over in an untidy heap when it rains or when the wind blows.
Harvesting: Harvest leaves when the plant reaches eight inches. You can take leaves throughout the summer and dry them in the oven or a dehydrator. Pinch back flowers as they appear to stimulate leaf growth. Never take more than half the plant in a single cutting. In fall, cut stems, tie small bunches with a rubber band, and hang them upside down to dry in a dark spot that gets plenty of air flow.
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