If you're a cat owner then you've probably already heard of catnip, a fragrance which is very attractive and exciting to cats. Catnip or Catmint are the most common names for Nepeta cataria, which is a hardy perennial herb from the Mint family.
Catnip is actually very easy in almost any soil, but grows best in rich well drained soil and will increase it's aroma when grown in sandy soil. Catnip likes regular watering and full to partial sun and can grow to a height of three to four feet.
Catnip can be easily propagated by seed, stem cutting, or rootball division. Catnip seeds should be started in the spring or late fall and lightly covered. Keep seedlings moist, and keep them away from the cat! When the catnip reaches 5-6 inches tall, begin to thin so that the catnip are 12-18 inches apart.
If grown indoors, catnip can be grown year round, place the catnip in a window that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Ensure to keep the soil moist and to pinch off flowers to encourage leaf growth.
Catnip is prone to mildew. Make sure to keep the catnip pruned and keep the center of the plant open so that the air can circulate freely. Catnip can also have problems with whitefly and spider mites.
Harvest catnip leaves when the plant reaches 8 inches. You can take leaves throughout the summer and dry them in the oven or a dehydrator. It's best to not 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.
Seed Germination Period
Catnip seeds will germinate in soil in approximately 7 to 10 days, but can germinate in as few as 5-6 days in dedicated propagation media such as Oasis Rootcubes, Rapid Rooters, or Grodan Stonewool.
Perennial. Zones 3a through 9b.
In addition to making your cat very happy, Catnip is also known to repel mosquitoes, and even repel fleas and termites.