Catnip is an easy to grow, highly ornamental, 2-3 foot tall, perennial herb. Heart-shaped, gray-green foliage is fragrant; spike-like clusters of showy, lavender or white flowers are held at branch ends late spring to fall. Fresh or dried, leaves can be used to make soothing teas for upset stomachs, nervous headaches, or colds.
Of course cats find catnip beyond compare, will appreciate some of this fresh herb added to meals. Flowers attract bees, and butterflies. Winter hardy to zone 3. Combines beautifully with Echinacea. Packet is ¼ gram, about 400 seeds.
How to Plant Catnip Seeds
Soak catnip seed in water overnight prior to sowing. Then sow seed in cell packs or flats, press into soil and lightly cover. Kept at 60°F., germination is staggered, over a period of 14-40 days. Can direct sow catnip seeds into prepared seed beds, when a light frost is still possible. Thin catnip seedlings to 12-18 inches apart.
Growing catnip: Full sun or part shade. Drought tolerant, catnip looks best with average water, in well-drained soil. Plants are deer and rabbit resistant, and repel aphids, attract beneficial insects such as lacewings. Flowers attract butterflies (particularly skippers), and bees. Cut plants back by half after bloom.
For your cat's recreational use, fill sachets or cat pillows with dried catnip. Up to ⅓ of cats are not affected by catnip. Protect plant crowns (from cats, if needed) by placing inverted wire basket over tops. Stems and leaves can easily grow through, wire will not be seen. In the kitchen, fresh catnip leaves are chopped, add minty flavor to salads, soups, and sauces.