How To Grow Catnip


Average Days To Maturity: 75-80 days

Distance Between Rows: 2-3 feet

Spacing Between Plants: 18 inches apart

When To Plant: Charley recommends planting Catnip in mid to late April, but experienced gardeners can plant earlier and protect the young plants with buckets and milk jugs or start them out in a cold frame or small greenhouse.

Planting Tip: When growing Catnip in a pot or container, make sure there is good drainage. This can be achieved by putting a layer of gravel or small rocks in before the dirt.  If planting in the ground, keep the soil free of weeds and water it a bit so that it is moist when you plant.

Preparation and Care: If the soil that you are planting in is poor, then work some compost into the soil.  Add some clean sand to allow for drainage.  This will also increase the aroma.

You will need to hoe or VERY shallowly till or cultivate the soil around the plants to keep the weeds under control. Be sure to keep it shallow and not damage the roots.

Make sure there is plenty of air flow around the plants to prevent rot and disease. Catnip is considered invasive in some areas.  Be sure to give them plenty of room in the garden so that they do not choke out any other plants near them.  This native plant can be used as a companion plant to deter some pests from snacking on other plants in your garden. You may have to protect young plants from cats until they are established.

Remove dead stems from the previous year to make room for new growth.  After your first harvest, you can cut the plants down almost to the ground and there should be plenty of time for them to flush back out and bloom again.  After the first frost in the fall or winter, cut the plants down to the ground and apply organic mulch to protect the plants through the winter and help retain water.

Watering: It is recommended that you water Catnip every two weeks during dry periods.  If it rains, then it is not necessary

Water your garden (tomatoes and everything else) once a week with a 8-12 hour soaking. This will allow the soil to absorb an adequate amount of water and also limit the time you spend each week watering.  If you use a sprinkler to water, do this during the day so that the plants will have some time in the evening to dry out before dark. This will limit the chances of disease. If you use a soaker hose, you can water at night. Watering with a soaker hose at night is best as it limits the amount of water lost to evaporation and keeps the plants dry which limits the chances of disease. During dry periods you may need to water more often (every 4-5 days), and watering at night is important in water conservation during droughts.

Fertilizing:  Catnip can be fertilized twice a month until blooms begin to appear.

Harvesting: You may begin harvesting Catnip leaves when the flowers start to bloom.  Remove the top portion of the stem, blooms and all.  Separate the leaves and lay them out on a screen in a cool, dry place.  In about 2-3 weeks the leaves should be dried out enough to store in an air-tight container.  If you want to drive your cats wild, rub some of the oil from the plant on their toys.  Otherwise you can use the dried leaves in your cooking or in teas.

Common Insect Problems

Catnip may be bothered by whiteflies or spider mites.

Common Disease Problems

It has minimal disease issues.

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