The catnip plant is also known as Nepeta Cataria and this is a kind of herb plant. And it belongs to the mint family. If you crush the leaves of the catnip plant, they will release a feline attractant oil and that is called nepetalactone.
This plant has a mildly joyful effect on cats. Catnip plant makes them happy and they feel like a kitten. Some cat owners concerned about the effect of this plant, but there is no need to worry about it.
Here we will share detailed information with you about all you need to know about the catnip plant. Stay with us and keep reading:
Table of Contents
About catnip plant
The catnip plant is a short-lived herb plant and it grows to be 50-100 cm tall and wide. This plant blooms in between the late springs to autumn. The catnip plant belongs to the typical mint family. And its featuring brown-green leaves with a square stem.
Its leaves have triangular to elliptical shapes. The small flowers of the catnip plant are fragrant and mostly pink or white with fine spots of pale purple.
Catnip name derived from the intense attraction cats have toward it. This is also a popular ingredient in herbal teas. The catnip plant has some sedative and relaxant properties as well.
Catnip plant had been used in traditional medicines also as a variety of ailments. This plant can be consumed as a juice, infusion, tisane, tincture, and as smoked. Hence, it’s approved for medicinal use and now used in modern medicine too.
Catnip plant’s oil, which is extracted from it is even used in natural mosquito repellents and also be used in soothing teas.
If you also want to grow a catnip plant in your garden then don’t worry. It is very easy to grow it also attracts bees and other pollinators. Winter is a little harsh for catnip, if you live in the cold region then you have to protect it during the extreme cold season.
You need to know something more about how to grow a catnip plant. Keep reading the further article for that.
How To Do The Planting Of Catnip Plant?
You can be planted it in your garden either from plants or from seeds. If you are planning to plant it from seeds then you need to prepare the seeds properly first. Catnip seeds are tough and need to be damaged slightly before they will sprout.
For that condition, you have to keep the seeds of catnip in the freezer overnight. Then keep them in a bowl of water for 24 hours. This process will damage the seeds coating and seeds can easily sprout after it.
Now, seeds are ready for planting. You can plant them outdoors or indoors. You can also plant catnip from the plant divisions method and it should be planted 18-20 inches apart. The best time for planting catnip is the spring or fall.
How To Grow Catnip?
To grow a catnip plant, you need well-draining soil and the full sun. Once it established, the catnip plant needs very little care and they don’t need to be fertilized regularly. Because fertilizer can decrease its flavor and smell.
Growing catnip plant in pots or containers is a great option. Because if you grow them in containers then it provides it with all season’s sources. Catnip needs at least 5 hours of bright sunlight if you keep that indoors.
New seedlings don’t require much water, just keep the soil moist. Once they established, they are drought tolerant. It needs water daily, but not overwatering it. Allow the soil to get dry before watering.
On regular basis, you should pinch off its flowers to encourage the new ones to bloom.
But keep in mind one thing about the catnip plant that it requires plenty of space to grow and flourish. Once it starts growing, you will have the most famous house.
Catnip Winter Care
If you plant catnip in a pot then you can keep that indoors during the winter season. But it needs a bright spot in your home, no need for too much sun. Give water occasionally.
But if your catnip is growing in outdoor beds then you have to do some preparations for the winter months. Prepare your catnip plant for winters by trimming it.
Cut down the stems to just a few inches, trim back new growth so it will not get damaged in the winters. Give it water only when you find its upper layer of soil is getting dry.
Don’t use any fertilizers for catnip plant, it will only encourage the new growth of catnip. And new growth would be damaged due to colder weather in winter.
If you will take all these protective steps for your catnip plant, your plant will come back again in the spring season. And they will become healthy, big and growing.
Catnip Triggers Chemical Reactions In The Cat’s Brain
The ingredient that causes energetic and playful reactions in cats is called nepetalactone in catnip. Oil of catnip also uses as an insect repellent.
Chewing the catnip leaves or smelling them can trigger chemicals in a cat’s brain. That can cause energetic joyfulness or some laid-back laziness in the cat’s brain.
Is Catnip Plant Safe For Cats?
Yes, you can give it to your cats but in a small amount, because it can have some negative side effects too. So, offered them a small amount. Too much catnip can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and your cat can also have excessive drooling.
Once your cat gets a smell of this plant then it is difficult to stop them. Hence, put catnip in an airtight container. You should keep them away from the cat’s reach after using them. As it is not harmful to cats but can upset their stomach.
Other Uses Of the Catnip Plant
Please just don’t relate this plant only with cats. It has other qualities too. As I told you before it is like a herb and belongs to the mint family. You can do many things with this plant.
This is a natural repellent; we wrote it before. You can use it against the cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, and other critters in your space.
If you are a gardener, then you can plant it between the rows of vegetables to prevent your veggies from pests. If you plant catnip in between your garden, it can reduce damage from flea beetles too.
Even catnip can keep away the rabbits and deer from your vegetable gardens. This plant also has some medicinal properties, so you can use it as a supplement to any herb. But first, concern your doctor about it.
You can also make your tea with catnip’s dried leaves and its flowers. It is very effective in fever, stomach upset, and any other flu symptoms if you have. Catnip plants also a stress buster and can cure insomnia as well.
It is also good for children, if your child not feeling well then,it’s do work as a calming agent for them. And also gives relief to digestive issues. But again, we recommend before trying anything, always speak to your doctor first.
You can also use it in your cooking, in those recipes in which you like to use mint. It has a similar flavor but it’s slightly different in taste. There are many more uses of catnip plant but use that wisely and inappropriate manner.
Some Varieties Of Catnip
Nepeta cataria is the most common variety of catnip plant. It is also known as true catnip. But there are many other varieties of catnip, with several colors of flowers and special scents.
The catnip plant is native to Europe and Asia but you can find it in parts of North America too. There are mainly 5 popular types of catnip and they are mentioned below.
- True catnip- this plant produces white to purple flowers and it can grow 3 feet high.
- Camphor catnip- in this plant you can find white flowers with purple dots and it grows one and a half feet.
- Greek catnip- this catnip has pale pink flowers and the height of this plant goes also one and a half feet.
- Persian catnip- it has lavender color flowers and it goes 15 inches in the height.
- Lemon catnip- in this catnip variety you would find white and purple blooms and they reach above 3 feet.
- Giant catnip- its flowers are in violet-blue and it also goes above 3 feet.
In all catnip’s variety, they have greyish green and heart-shaped leaves with fine hairs above that. And all varieties contain the classic square stem of the mint family.
You can find many different catnip plants and they belong to Japan, Spain, China, Pakistan, Himalayas, Crete, and more. Catnip almost grows in every country in the form of the herb.
So, this was the all information about the catnip plant. This plant is also known as the catmint plant, which is particularly exciting the cats. And it’s a short-lived perennial herb. I think this information would be helpful for you to understand the catnip plant properly. Read other posts of my blog as well.