Final Up to date on: October 2, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Whether or not it’s stuffed into pouches, sprinkled on beds, or served contemporary, catnip is a mystical herb to our feline buddies. Catnip mimics pure pheromones and makes some cats really feel “excessive” in a means that’s believed to be much like how people expertise marijuana. There aren’t any identified well being dangers with catnip, nevertheless, so it’s turn into a reasonably standard substance for cats. Catnip from the pet retailer may be fairly costly although. Rising your individual cuts down on the long-term prices and gives your cat with a safer expertise. it’s sourced in your individual yard or indoor backyard, not probably laced with pesticides or different poisonous contaminants. Catnip is a reasonably hardy plant that’s straightforward to develop—a lot in order that it’s really thought of to be an invasive plant in a few states. Right here’s what you must learn about rising catnip at residence and learn how to get began.

The Buzz About Catnip

Scientific Identify: Nepeta cataria
Top: 2 to three toes
Width: 2 to three toes
Kind: Perennial
Zone: 3–9
Soil: Sandy, loamy, alkaline, acidic, impartial

Catnip (Nepeta cataria), often known as catmint, is an herbaceous perennial plant that’s native to Eurasia. As a member of the mint household, catnip grows on a protracted woody stem. It has a powerful scent that’s much like citronella and hashish. Though it’s most popularly referred to as a favourite cat deal with, people additionally use catnip leaves in natural tea. The important oil is a standard ingredient in home made bug repellents however needs to be avoided your cat. Whereas catnip leaves are protected, the important oil is definitely poisonous to your cat because it’s tremendous concentrated.

The Nepeta cataria plant shoots inexperienced leaves about 2–3 inches lengthy with tough edges and blossoms with tiny white flowers in the course of the summer season and early fall. These flowers bear the seeds for the following planting season.

Catnip fits most climates, being tailored for zones 3–9. It prefers full solar and moist, well-draining soil, however tolerates shade and dry circumstances. Catnip grows finest in sandy, loamy soil. Soil amendments normally aren’t required, because the plant thrives in barely alkaline, acidic, or impartial soil. So long as there are not any arduous freezes or too many days above 85ºF, catnip will persevere by means of most any circumstances.

Picture Credit score: lwccts, Pixabay

Tips on how to Develop Catnip at Residence

Since catnip is a reasonably hardy plant, it’s normally straightforward to develop. Truthfully, your cat poses the largest hazard to the plant itself. Cats like to roll in catnip, so you’ll have to place up a buffer between the plant and your cat until you’re okay with it being squashed. Bamboo stakes and rooster wire are frequent obstacles. Nevertheless, some individuals don’t thoughts if their cats get into the catnip. Some pet dad and mom even strategically plant catnip close to their vegetable backyard or different areas the place they want a feline’s prowess to handle the native rodent inhabitants.

Relying in your gardening and pet parenting targets, you may plant catnip in one in all 3 ways: an indoor transplant, an out of doors transplant, or from seed within the spring.

1. Earlier than You Start

In the event you’re rising catnip from seed, it’s necessary to cold-stratify the seeds first, no matter in the event you’re rising indoors or outdoor. To stratify seeds, merely freeze the seeds in a single day after which place them in a bowl of water for twenty-four hours. All crops want water and daylight to germinate, so it sounds counterintuitive to stay the seeds into the freezer earlier than planting. Nevertheless, this course of is required for fast germination so as to break the seed’s powerful outer coating. Catnip seeds that bear this course of usually sprout inside 5 to twenty days.

In the event you forgot to cold-stratify your seeds, they could nonetheless sprout, nevertheless it’ll take for much longer. Give the seeds a few months. In the event that they haven’t sprouted in 50 days, they most likely gained’t, and also you’ll want to begin over. Alternatively, in the event you’re rising catnip from a transplant, attempt to purchase natural. You don’t need to feed your kitty leaves which were chemically sprayed at a nursery or on a farm.

2. Select Your Catnip Rising Technique

As an Indoor Transplant

This isn’t the perfect technique in most conditions, however it could be your best choice in the event you stay in a local weather that usually experiences freezing temperatures or in the event you’re restricted on outside area. We suggest rising catnip indoors from a transplant as a substitute of a seed. Why? Indoor seed begins are continuously seen as model new litter bins by our feline buddies. Yuck. In the event you should begin catnip seeds indoors, plant them in a room away out of your kitty’s curious attain. Make certain the room receives at the least 6 hours of daylight every day to your plant to thrive.

As an Out of doors Transplant

Earlier than you head to the plant nursery, scout out a spot in your yard that receives at the least 6 hours of daylight daily. Catnip grows properly within the floor or in containers so long as every particular person plant is spaced at the least 18 to 24 inches aside. Simply make sure to purchase an natural plant to keep away from potential pesticides that may make your kitty sick.

Catnip from Seed

If you wish to begin catnip indoors, plant the seeds about 6 weeks earlier than the final anticipated frost in spring. You may plant catnip outdoor anytime, nevertheless it’s finest to plant within the spring after the hazard of frost. In the event you plant throughout early spring, you’ll see flowers the primary yr. In any other case, it’s possible you’ll not see flowers till the following rising season. When planting, scatter the seeds loosely throughout the soil and barely cowl with dust. The seeds ought to sprout inside 5 to 40 days relying on whether or not they have been chilly stratified. As soon as the crops are established, skinny them to 18 to 24 inches aside.

3. Harvest Your Catnip

Wait till the catnip stems are at the least 5 inches tall earlier than harvesting. If you harvest, snip the stalks on the base of the plant. Depart some stalks all through the plant in order that the catnip continues to obtain vitamins from the leaves.

Picture Credit score: Badon Hill Studio, Shutterstock

4. Dry Your Catnip

There are three strategies of drying catnip. Slicing and drying by hanging the wrong way up in a cool place is the only, however typically takes weeks to perform. Dehydrating the leaves within the oven or drying the reduce leaves and stems within the solar is quicker however requires extra monitoring to ensure they don’t overly crisp or burn. Right here’s learn how to protect the catnip in any of the three strategies:


Reduce a number of stems collectively and tie them on the base with a rubber band or string. Cling the stems the wrong way up in a cool, darkish place till they’re dry. Relying in your local weather, this course of could take anyplace from just a few days to a few months. In the event you stay in a moist space, you’ll must take care that the leaves don’t develop mildew.


In case you have a dehydrator, you may set it on 100ºF and put the leaves in for 1–4 hours till crispy. A gasoline oven with a pilot mild additionally works, or an electrical oven set between 100ºF and 200ºF. There’s even a microwave technique that works for catnip and different culinary herbs. Lay the leaves and stems on a plate, cowl with a paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds. Proceed in 15 second intervals till dry and crispy.

Drying within the Solar

If the climate is sunny and scorching, you may lay the reduce catnip stems and leaves on a chunk of foil. Set it in direct daylight till dry.

5. Retailer Your Dried Catnip

It actually gained’t harm your cat to slide them a pair contemporary leaves. The truth is, some cats get pleasure from chewing on contemporary catnip. Nevertheless, dried catnip lasts longer and is less complicated to retailer, as contemporary catnip solely lasts a pair weeks within the fridge.

So long as it isn’t molded or mildewed, dried catnip technically doesn’t go dangerous. You continue to need to use it ahead of later although, because it loses its most efficiency after about 6 months. Merely retailer the dried leaves in an hermetic mason jar or related container till your cat is able to play.

Picture Credit score: Doug McLean, Shutterstock

Why Does Catnip Make Cats Go Loopy?

Have you ever ever questioned why some cats go right into a psychotic spiral over catnip whereas others are likely to mellow out or act detached? Because it seems, catnip receptivity is a genetic trait that’s solely handed all the way down to an estimated 50% of the cat inhabitants. Principally, some cats act oblivious to catnip as a result of they don’t get the thrill.

How a cat processes catnip can also be decided by the way it’s consumed. Nepetalactone is the chemical discovered within the leaves that’s answerable for the plant’s psychological results on felines. If a receptive cat ingests nepetalactone, they have a tendency to mellow out. It’s because the chemical has a sedative impact when eaten. Nevertheless, in case your cat merely offers it a pair deep huffs, they’re extra more likely to turn into intensely excited.

The nepetalactone “excessive” normally lasts between 15–half-hour. In some cats, its results could final for a few hours relying on their receptivity. As soon as the cat comes off their excessive, they normally sit back like they’d’ve if that they had ingested the catnip as a substitute.


Rising catnip at residence nips pointless pet retailer bills within the bud. Because it’s a reasonably forgiving plant, catnip is simple to develop and doesn’t require a lot care (not like your cat). In the event you’ve determined to provide it a go, simply make sure to ponder your rising circumstances to make the most effective selections primarily based on whether or not you need to plant indoors or outdoor, from starter or seed. Your cat will thanks later.

Featured Picture Credit score: Georgia Evans, Shutterstock

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