days to maturity: 75 - 85 Days
plant spacing: 4 plant per square foot
sunlight requirement: 8 - 14 hours
look out for: cats!
harvest notes: harvest branches and leaves as needed
Nepeta cataria, aka catnip is cultivated as an ornamental plant for use in gardens. It is also grown for its attractant qualities to house cats and butterflies.The plant is drought- tolerant and deer-resistant. It can be a repellent for certain insects, including aphids and squash bugs. Catnip is best grown in full sunlight and grows as a loosely branching, low perennial. Nepetalactone is a mosquito and fly repellent, and the compound iridodial, extracted from catnip oil, has been found to attract lacewings which eat aphids and mites. The use of catnip leaves and flowers in herbal teas was documented at least as early as 1735 in the General Irish Herbal. Medicinally, the plant has been used to treat intestinal cramps, for indigestion, to cause sweating, to induce menstruation, as a sedative, and to increase appetite. Additionally, the plant has been used to treat diarrhea, colic, the common cold, and cancer. In Appalachia, nervous conditions, stomach ailments, hives, and the common cold have been treated with catnip tea. The dried leaves have been smoked to relieve respiratory ailments, and a poultice has been used externally to reduce swelling.
Adorable image courtesy of Eden Brothers.