Have you ever wanted to grow actual catnip from seed? Starting now? Are you curious about catnip in general and wonder if it’s all hype? Well, the truth is that it’s a crapshoot sometimes, some cats love it and others just don’t care. My oldest cat, Buddy (yellow tabby) always seems disinterested. He might toy with it a little but that’s about it.
Cosmo, the second oldest, will get blissed out if she takes a nibble. And the youngest, well she does kind of love the plants a little, which is what I’m going to talk about here in this post, how you can grow it, stating indoors, and take it from there.
It’s confused sometimes with cat grass, which is actually oat grass that I and many other people plant and grow for their cats to graze upon so they can get a little extra vegetation in their diets. …something entirely different
My story started like this. Last year, we were attending a social event in Pensacola beach, FL and stopped at Dollar General for some items, and one thing that caught our eye was this bag of catnip. It looked like shredded tree bark, in my opinion – just like what was included with my cat’s new toys. You may have seen it before used to entice them, but as I’ve said before, some will take the bait and others won’t .
You can pretty much tell how your cat stands on this, by how she behaves with that initial mini-size that you get as a “bonus” with some collection of balls, wand, etc. So if you’d like to have more of the “real thing” for your cat, with a plant that will not make them ill in some way, you can definitely plant it.
We actually set aside some of what was in that bag and extracted the seeds from it, and finally, planted them, mainly as an experiment, to see what it would do. The hubs and I do that a great deal – we’re always saving the seeds of something. Doesn’t matter if it’s plum pits, lemon seeds, Some things flourish, some things flop. That’s pretty much seed starting in a nutshell.
They did manage to grow, so there you have it. It’s got a funky aroma, in my opinion. But the little guys can’t help themselves. When the growing season is over, the flowers will drop and it will look like this. The temps are dropping now and we’ve brought ours inside for wintering over:
No, I don’t think cats actually get “high” from being in its presence, but I can tell it gives them a feeling of “good vibes” I should say. Two of the cats like to rub up against the leaves whenever they can. So I know that what’s said about this herb isn’t all hype.
Why Grow Catnip?
So even if your cats aren’t bowled over by the herb (or even those of you who don’t have cats, period) you should definetley consider planting this aromatic herb or adding it to your repertoire. Why? Because it has a lot to offer that you may not be aware of. First , a little bit of info – Catnip belongs to the mint family and known by its scientific name Nepata cataria. that may be more than you want to know, but the major compound, nepatalactone, is what is responsible for giving cats that supposed state of euphoria (that lasts on average, about ten minutes.)
Of course, because all cats are different, they react differently – some are more calm, and some become more playful (hence, the “late night zoomies” something we cat people understand.)
Catnip the herb also has medicinal benefits for us, too. The herb form can be strained and made into tea for a variety of ailments like the common cold, or to induce relaxation and good sleep at night. And it’s also great for us gardeners due to its bug-repellent properties (specifically the kind that bite and annoy us, garden pests, not too clear on that one, but it does seem to be repugnant to animal nuisances, like mice and deer.
Pin for Later?
I don’t have to worry about rodents in my garden due to the obvious reason I have my furry predator pets (duh, cats) or deer since my yard is already fenced in, but the mosquitoes here are terrible , not just in the summer. I will probably grow some more of it this spring. You can get a hold of some catnip leaves and rub your hands over them and they’re reputed to make pests leave you alone (I’ll put that to the test when the time comes.)
It is a perennial herb so it will come back each year during the right season. It is highly drought-resistant, too. As it will propagate and spread easily, since it will re-seed , it can easily take over your garden, which is why container planting can be the best approach so you can enjoy it and keep it in a manageable arrangement.Catnip when in full bloom has pretty lavender flowers. It flourished outside near our beds.
Growing Catnip From Seed
We did eventually get some catnip seed packets. The seeds are tiny and black in appearance (see inner image in corner) and can stay in the freezer or refrigerator, before planting soak them for a day or overnight so their germination power will be improved. You can start the seeds in a tray indoors under low light and allow them to germinate, as the seeds sprout pay attention and prune out the stragglers leaving the stronger seedlings, just as you would with bigger other plants.
Also when frost has passed you can transplant them outdoors but it is a good idea to harden them off for awhile first I did that with other plants by putting the trays outdoors for a couple of hours when the sun was at its brightest and then bring them in before dusk.
Catnip plants can reach a full height of about 30″ at their growth peak.Be sure you select a container that is at least a foot deep to support it as it grows.
So anyway, it’s a great container plant for small spaces.If you’ve got cats who love this stuff or you just want something ornamental, this is it.