Growing and Using Catnip (and Cat Grass)

Botanical Name:

Nepta cataria

Common names:



This is the type of catnip that is most often used to fill those aromatic toys that cats go crazy for. It has soft, gray-green leaves that release a mint aroma when crushed, and mauve or white flowers on shoots 24 to 36 inches in height.

Life Cycle:

hardy perennial


full sun


Catnip will grow readily from seeds in any type of soil. If you don't want it trampled, you'll need to protect it with wire or mesh to keep cats away. Avoid planting along paths and walkways because this herb attracts bees. Propagation is easy by division in early spring unless a large number of seedlings are needed, or sow seeds directly into the ground in the spring or fall.


basil cuttings (spring), division (spring), and seeds

Parts Used:


Harvesting and Storage:

Harvest fresh leaves as needed. Dry leaves by cutting off stems and hanging them upside down to dry. Store in airtight containers.

Medicinal Uses:

Catnip contains medicinal properties that when made into a tea may be used for treating coughs and colds and insomnia.

Culinary Uses:

use sparingly in salads.

Other Uses:

perennial border, edging, skin and hair care and used for causing moments of euphoria in cats.
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7 More Solutions

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March 22, 2003

Catnip is a plant that the West Nile mosquito is allergic to. I protect my family all I can - pills to build up the immune system and non smell repellant. Throw some catnip on the bar-b-que.

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Catherine Forman
May 31, 2006

Cats are carnivores. That means the bulk of their dietary needs are satisfied by eating meat.

Cat sleeping on potted plants.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 15, 2011

I bought the catnip seeds and planted them 3 weeks ago and I haven't seen any sprouting. I was doing this procedure that I found on the net. I put 2 inches of potting soil, then I pushed down the seed very gently and covered with a little bit of soil. I watered them twice a day. Kept them covered with the plastic to keep the moisture and placed the pots not directly to the sunlight.

Like I said before nothing has came out the soil. Please help me out.

By Roger from Caracas-Venezuela


March 18, 20110 found this helpful

If you still have the seed packet, check the packing date, you may have old seeds that won't grow. If they are supposed to still be viable take them back to where you bought them and ask for another pack. Be sure to show them how you tried to grow them. Also was the potting soil fresh? If you were trying to re-use old potting soil that could have been the problem, you also might want to try a seed starting mix instead of regular potting soil, sometimes that is too heavy for seed starting. Without knowing all the veriables it's hard to say exactly what went wrong, but these are some starting off points.

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March 19, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know about growing catnip from seeds. But I bought 3 small plants several years ago and they come up every year. In fact, my catnip is already up and I just came in from some yard work and brought my 3 kitties a treat.

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How do you grow cat grass and catnip?


May 29, 20180 found this helpful

Its easy to grow from seed. Keep it evenly watered.

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May 30, 20180 found this helpful

Just one thought...unless you want the cats to play with as it grows, grow it out of the reach of the cat (either inside or outside).

That may be a challenge as cats are good at going everywhere and getting into everything.

If you decide to use something to protect it, be sure it is something not dangerous to the no wire mesh or barbs that can hurt their little paws.

For indoor growth, if you have a room with a window that the cat does not get into, that might be a good indoor location.

For outside growth, try You can lashings several old CDs on to shortened tomato stakes and sometimes the reflection of the sun onto the disc deters animals from coming near the garden.

This site has some helpful starting and growing info...

This site actually encourages planting it to attract cats to your garden...if you want to go that route!

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June 27, 2014

I have a catnip plant and the tips of the branches have turned red. I know plants turn red sometimes because of a lack of nutrients or sunburning. But could it just be because of too much fertilizer or compost?

By Carmen


May 6, 20190 found this helpful

Ive noticed this with mine as well. The only answer I can find is that it needs to be fertilized.

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March 18, 2012

I was in my garden and I wanted to know is catmint edible?

By E. H.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 15, 2011

Would it be possible for me to grow catnip inside in the winter, so I could have a fresh supply for my cats all year round? And if so, what would be the proper procedure.

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Pets CatsDecember 18, 2012
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