Growing Catnip

It’s well worth growing catnip for the beautiful purple or white coloured flowers. You don’t even need to be a cat owner to enjoy this attractive herb plant. Catnip has lovely heart-shaped leaves and the leaves have a downy feel to them.

I am growing my catnip in a large pot, but I want to take some cutting as I want to grow some plants in a border.

Catnip is a cousin to mint and loves nothing more then to grow as big as it can even if that means crowding out their neighbouring plants.

Many people grow catnip from seed and that is a pretty fool proof system. Sow the seeds in the spring in a tray filled with a good quality compost and sprinkle the seeds onto the compost cover the seeds lightly and place somewhere warm until the catnip seeds come up.

You can also divide a catnip plant at its base and separate it into chucks to make more plants.

Or you can take cuttings and grow the plant this way. You can either take cuttings and place these in some water and see if some roots will form. My preferred way is to take cuttings and put several of these cuttings in a pot of moistened compost, keep the pot in a warm but shady area of the garden and you should see them take root. You can take root cutting in either spring or autumn.

Some people add rooting hormone powder on the end of the cuttings before placing it in the compost as this is supposed to increase root growth of the cutting. I would try either way.

The cutting might look wilted for a couple of days, but it should then slowly straighten up and start to put out some new leaves. If they completely wither away it’s time to throw them and start again.

Catnip grows really well in sunlight though it will also grow in partial shade. They don’t like over wet soil. My soil is pretty sandy but I always enrich it with good compost.

If you have a cat you will probably know that the leaves and stems (fresh or dried) have a strong effect on most cats. So your young plants will no doubt need protecting from your cats.

Our cat has a habit to lie on the plant and just rip it to bits. So be forewarned!

Catnip has the most of medicinal powers when the purple or white flowers are in full bloom. This is when it’s harvested by herbalists. You harvest it by cutting the entire plant back to within 5 or 6” inches of its plant height. It’s best to harvest the catnip around mid-morning. Tie the catnip in loose bundles and you can dry it inside a brown paper bags. Your catnip will keep more potency in the leaves when they are dried whole.

So Find a friend with a catnip plant and start growing your own catnip in the garden.

Copyright 2014 Vegetable Gardening News