Catnip, nepeta cataria, is a garden herb that's part of the mint family and is most notably known for being a stimulant for cats. If you have cats wandering your garden, it's a good idea to learn how to grow catnip so that your garden is cat friendly! A perennial herb, catnip can also be used to make soothing teas and makes an overall great addition to any garden. Catnip can be grown either from a small plant or directly from seeds. Keep reading to learn how to grow catnip in your garden.

Catnip usually grows as a loosely branching, low perennial. This means that it will die back in the winter and grow again in the spring. Plant catnip together with coneflowers as they grow at the same time. The actual plant itself will grow white flowers. If you have indoor cats, you can also grow catnip indoors, in containers.

Catnip prefers full sun, so if growing indoors, be sure to place your catnip plants in a sunny windowsill or a bright room.

How to Grow Catnip

cat with catnip

Planting Catnip:

  • If you're growing catnip from seeds, you'll first need to prepare the seeds. Catnip seeds need to be properly stratified before they can sprout.
  • Place the seeds in the freezer overnight and then place them in a bowl of water for 24 hours.
  • After the 24 hours have elapsed, you may plant the seeds outdoors or in pots.
  • Thin them to one plant per 20 inches after the sprout.
  • Each plant should be spaced between 18-20 inches apart.
  • Plant in well draining soil and in full sun.
  • Catnip does not need to be fertilized, just as long as it gets watered on a regular basis.
  • Be sure to remove the flowers before they go to seed, otherwise catnip can become invasive in your garden.


  • Catnip doesn't require much care.
  • Be sure that the soil is well draining and the plants receive full sun.
  • If it doesn't rain, water the cat nip plants once a week.

Catnip Harvest:

  • You can harvest catnip once it has reached an appropriate height, about 18 inches.
  • Harvest by cutting the stem from the bottom and do so in the mid-mornings.
  • Remember that the more catnip you cut, the more the plant will grow. Eventually, your catnip plant will have a high output and it's also an invasive plant. Keep away from other plants to prevent spreading.
  • Dry out the catnip leaves on a paper towel. Dried leaves make excellent tea or alternatively, you can stuff them in sachets to make a catnip toy for your fur baby.

So now that you know how to grow catnip, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!

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How to Grow Catnip
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