How to Grow Catnip

Catnip plants (Nepeta cataria) are a type of plant that can help you make your garden cat-friendly. The herb catnip is a perennial member of the mint family, most well-known for its cat-friendly properties and used to make calming drinks. It’s simple to cultivate catnip, but you should know a few things before you start.

Catnip flowers.

Growing catnip does not require a green thumb; even novice gardeners can succeed with a few simple tips.

Begin by choosing a spot in partial sun for your plants, as they need several hours of light each day without becoming scorched in direct sunlight. Plant your catnip in soil mixed with compost for best results, giving the seeds or starter plants adequate space to spread out.

Water them regularly but be careful not to let the soil become overly soggy.

Another tip is to pinch off buds when they mature; this encourages the plant to sprout more buds. With these simple pieces of advice, you’ll have plentiful catnip growing successfully in no time at all!

Tips for Growing Catnip

Here are some tips on how to do it successfully. 


First, finding the right spot for your catnip plant is important. Catnip grows best in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. You should also ensure the area gets at least six hours of full sunlight daily. Once you’ve selected the perfect spot for your catnip plant, you can begin planting! 


When it comes to seed selection, look for organic varieties whenever possible — this will help ensure you get a high-quality product without any pesticides or fertilizers that could harm your pet if ingested.

If purchasing seeds isn’t an option, try collecting wild catnip from your yard or a local park for planting instead. Soak the seeds overnight before planting them directly into the soil — this helps with germination rates and ensures better results! 


When planting, make sure to choose an area that gets plenty of sunlight and is away from areas where cats might be tempted to eat the plant.

Plant seeds or cuttings at least 1 foot apart and space rows 3-4 feet apart so that adult plants have room to expand. Water regularly, but avoid overwatering as this can cause root rot.


Catnip plants prefer moist soils but don’t like standing water, so avoid overwatering at all costs. To ensure your plants have enough water during dry spells, set up an irrigation system or use mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture in warm weather months. 


It’s also important to fertilize regularly throughout the season with a well-balanced fertilizer formulated specifically for herbs like catnip — this helps boost nutrient availability and encourages healthy growth. 

Pests and weeds

As far as pests go, watch out for aphids which often attack healthy catnip plants in summertime months — remove them from affected areas using a strong jet of water or insecticidal soap spray if needed!

Also, keep an eye out for mites and other small insects which can cause damage by sucking sap from leaves; use neem oil sprays to combat these infestations safely and effectively.

Finally, ensure no weeds are growing around your catnip plant, as these can quickly overtake it if left unchecked! 

Is catnip easy to grow?

Catnip is quite easy to cultivate if you provide it with the right growing environment. It does well in full sun and average soil and will continue regrowing from seedlings or cuttings every year.

The hardiest of plants can survive cold winters and hot summers without fuss, so no matter where you live, you can easily grow this herb in your garden beds or containers.

Will growing catnip attract cats?

Catnip, the perennial herb native to Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa, has long been known for its effects on cats. For years it has been used as a natural remedy to soothe cats and even as a playtime stimulant. 

Catnip’s strong scent is attractive to cats and can be used in combination with toys or treats to draw them into the garden.

However, it should be noted that not all cats are attracted to catnip; some may ignore it completely or even display distaste for it.

Also, while surrounding your garden with catnip may attract neighborhood felines, they will likely start avoiding the area if they’re disturbed too much by humans or other animals while there.

How long does it take for catnip to grow?

The time it takes for catnip to mature and be ready to harvest fully can range from 60-90 days, depending on local conditions, such as soil type, climate, and temperature.

It’s important to note that the plant is annual, so once harvested, you’ll need to start over with new seeds the following year if you wish to enjoy more of this delightful herb. 

Does catnip like full sun or shade?

Most varieties of catnip prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade—especially in hot climates where direct sunlight can be too intense for the delicate leaves of this herbaceous perennial.

That said, catnip does well if watered regularly during dry spells in part shade areas like those found under trees or buildings with afternoon shade.

In addition, mulching around the base of the plants helps retain moisture throughout the growing season and ensures optimal performance no matter which type of light it receives throughout the day.

When to Plant Catnip?

Plant catnip in the spring after the threat of frost has gone in your location. Remember that catnip seeds can be planted indoors about six weeks before the last expected frost date.

Forest plant Catnip in the grass.

Where Does Catnip Grow Best?

Catnip plant thrives in full sun in well-draining soil, but they may also thrive in partial shade and a wide range of soil types. Catnip plants don’t require much attention once they’ve established themselves. Fertilizers can weaken the scent and flavor of these plants; thus, they don’t need to be fertilized.

How to Plant Catnip?

You’ll need to carefully prepare the seeds if you’re producing catnip from seed. Because catnip seeds are resilient, they must be stratified or slightly harmed before germinating.

This can be accomplished by freezing the seeds overnight and then soaking them for 24 hours in a dish of water.

The seed coat will be harmed due to this procedure, making it simpler for the catnip seeds to germinate. You can sow the seeds indoors or outdoors after stratifying them. After they sprout, thin them to one plant per 20 inches (51 cm).

Catnip can also be grown from seedlings or divisions of existing plants. Planting catnip seeds or divisions is best done in the spring or fall. Planting catnip plants 18 to 20 inches (45.5 to 51 cm) apart is recommended.

How to Grow Catnip From Seed?

Catnip seeds should be planted inside about six weeks before the latest expected frost date in the spring. Please put them in the freezer for an hour before soaking them in water for another 24 hours. This process of stratification can aid germination.

Then, in a tray filled with moistened seed-starting mix, sow the seeds about 1/8 inch deep. Ideally, place the tray in a light, warm area. Keep the soil moist for the next two weeks, and the seeds should germinate. After the threat of frost has passed, transplant the seedlings outside.

How to Grow Catnip in Pots?

Growing catnip in a pot is a good idea because it’ll keep the plant from spreading to unwelcome places. First, ensure your container has a drainage hole and is at least 12 inches in diameter. An unglazed clay container is perfect because it allows excess soil moisture to escape through its walls. Next, plant your catnip at the same depth as it was in its previous container, using a well-draining potting mix.

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Facts About Growing Catnip

  • Catnip should be planted in the spring after all dangers of frost have passed. You’ll want to place it in a place where your cats won’t harm the plants around them if they roll in it.
  • Plant catnip plants 18 to 24 inches apart in a sunny spot with well-drained, nutritious soil.
  • Mix in several inches of old compost or other rich organic matter to enrich your native soil’s nutritional levels.
  • Check the soil on a regular basis and water when the top inch of the soil is dry.
  • With water-soluble plant food, you can encourage the creation of abundant leaves.
  • Harvest leaves at any time once the catnip has reached a height of 6 to 8 inches.

How to Harvest Catnip

When catnip is in full flower, harvest it. After the dew has dried but before the day heats up and causes the plant to wilt, you can cut off entire stems or even the entire plant if you choose.

As soon as possible after harvesting, hang the branches upside down for drying in a dark, dry, well-ventilated room. The leaves and blooms can be crumbled for use once they’ve dried out, which usually takes two to three weeks.

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