I like to grow my catnip along my deer fence lines that protect my crops. When in bloom, catnip attracts many beneficial pollinators. I will often find myself buried in both catnip & bees while I trim away the leaves for my leaf only catnip (no stems). This takes a considerable amount of time to harvest & is a very peaceful process. I am never stung, the bees simply buzz around, gathering nectar while I harvest the leaves. My cats love to roll around & nap in the growing catnip. Thankfully, I grow a lot of catnip so I don't have to worry if they mangle & squash some of the plants. Unless uprooted, most plants will recover. Gold Finches love catnip seeds. If you don't want to harvest yours, you can leave it to feed the birds.
Catnip for humans: It is very calming for both the body & the mind. It is very useful for children with digestive &/or emotional disturbances. The essential oil can be used as a fragrance in perfumes, as a culinary flavoring, & as an insect repellent. Note: Pregnant women should avoid catnip, as it can induce uterine contractions.
Catnip for cats: It gets cats high, it makes them happy, spunky, & silly. They enjoy the plant live or dried. The buds are the most potent part of the plant. Put it into cat toys or give it to them as is. They will love you for it! Note: Kittens younger than eight weeks old aren't able to enjoy catnip, wait until they are older.
Catnip seeds need plenty of time to germinate. Plants in the Lamiaceae (aka Mint) family tend to be more difficult to germinate, many novice gardeners fail at growing catnip due to a lack of understanding how plants in the Lamianceae family work. This is why many folks buy started plants from the Mint family rather than try to grow from seed. Note: the seed I sell (like all of my seeds) are the very same seed I use here on my eco farm. I grow it every year, slowly expanding the size of my catnip border garden. I have found most folks don't give the seeds enough time to germinate & unfairly assume they are bad seeds. I can assure you this is not the case. Also, be sure to use sterile seed starting soil, full sun & warmth. Catnip is a summer herb. The cooler the weather, the longer you will have to wait for it to germinate.
Catnip likes light sandy soils & grows best in full sun. You do not need to soak the seeds in water prior to planting. I like to water the seeds daily until they come up. This helps keep the soil moist & the damp soil deters the cats from using the catnip bed as a litter box or place to sleep. Have patience, & be sure to water well until the plants become established. Established plants do not need to be watered as often. Allow soil to go almost dry between watering, then soak thoroughly. During growth, pinch the tips to promote a bushier plant. If you prefer a tall plant, leave the tips alone.
Light: Full sun
Days to emerge: 8 -16 (1+ week - 2 weeks)
Seed depth: 1/8 - 1/4"
Seed Spacing: 18" - 24"
Botanical Name: Nepeta cataria
Harvesting the seeds:
You can plant the seeds immediately, or store them in a cool dry location in a sealed light proof container until ready to plant.
Drying the plants:
Plants are dry when the stalks break, rather than bend & the leaves crumble.Store in an airtight container out of the light.
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