Catnip

Catnip

Nepeta cataria

“Herb” cheat sheet
Growing
  • Seeds need to be stratified.
  • Can transplant clipped stems.
  • Ensure properly mist the seeds during germination.
Caring for
  • Self reliant.
  • Minimal watering for outdoor plants when in a drought condition.
  • Minimal watering required for potted plants.
Harvesting
  • Look for the flowers to be in full bloom for best harvesting time.
  • Harvest entire stems.
  • Properly store and hide your drying catnip from your cat.
  • Store whole leaves or crushed.
Background:

As a perennial member of the mint family that helps make your garden cat friendly, you can plant this enjoy it year after year, and the cats will thank you too. It is best known for its affects on cats. However, it can also be used in a soothing herbal tea. Catnip has been used throughout the ages, it was more than likely used by Egyptians with their love of cats. Ancient Romans have plenty of herbal remedies that call for it as an ingredient. There is also a recipe located in Massachusetts from the year 1712 calling for catnip. It is believed that settlers brought the plant to the Americas to use for ingredients and herbal medicines.

Growing
  1. Growing catnip from seed requires you to properly prepare the seed. The seeds are tough and need to be stratified prior to sowing. (Stratify means to damage the seed shell, and simulate natural conditions.) This is done by freezing the shell overnight and softening it by letting it sit in water for 24 hours.
  2. Catnip will grow in a lot of different soils. It can be sown indoor in a pot or outdoor directly into the garden.
  3. Ensure to properly water your seedling.
  4. Once the plants begin to get larger, separate them to 1 plant every 20 inches (50 cm).
Caring for
  • Catnip is a pretty self reliant plant if being grown outside.
  • For in the ground catnip only water in drought conditions.
  • When grown indoors ensure soil properly drains and water when the soil begins to dry out.
  • Catnip enjoys direct sunlight but will survive in partial sunlight.
  • It is recommended to not fertilize catnip as it will lessen the potency of the flowers smell and flavor.
Harvesting
  • Catnip is best harvested when the flowers are in full bloom. The fragrance of them is at its peak at this time. Usually around mid summer.
  • When harvesting ensure to take an entire stem, catnip grows back quickly and will replace what you cut with a stem. So it is recommended to take an entire stem to keep promoting flower growth.
  • Harvest the leaves in the afternoon to help evaporate dew and prevent molding from ocurring.
  • With the whole stem, clip individual leaves from it and place on a rack to dry.
  • IMPORTANT! Store your drying catnip in a secure location to prevent your feline friend from getting into and destroying everything because they will.
  • Once dried they can be stored crushed or whole.
  • Harvesting at the summer bloom time should give you enough time to have another harvest in the fall.
Uses
  • Of course your cat wants it. There is a type of oil in the leaves that causes cats to go bonkers. This doesn’t usually occur until after the kitten is 6 months old or so. 2 out of 3 cats are affected by catnip.
  • It has been used to help soothe stomach cramps as well as migraines when mixed into an herbal tea.
%d bloggers like this: