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How To Grow Catnip: Your Cat Will Love You!

Most kitties adore catnip & it sends them into a frenzy. Buy a plant & your cat will love you! Get care tips so you can grow this sprawling herb.

How To Grow Catnip: Your Cat Will Love You!


Kitties , most of them anyway, love to frolic and roll in catnip.  I keep a pot of it out on my front porch so Oscar, my 15 year old tuxedo boy, won’t totally devastate it in the house in 1 fell swoop. My other feline Riley could care less about this herb. That’s how it goes with cats and catnip – some love it, others don’t.



The catnip replaced this arrangement of succulents (they’ve been planted elsewhere).

Oscars rolls in it, drools a lot, gets a wound up and then passes out.  Catnip, whose fancy pants botanic name is Nepeta cataria,  is a perennial but is usually treated like an annual, even in the garden.  Besides the fact that some cat will probably get to it, it’s a notoriously short lived plant.  Don’t plant it near any tender plants because they will be flattened because in the kitty/catnip love fest. Growing it indoors is a bit more difficult – scroll down towards the bottom for that info.

Here’s how to grow this loose & sprawling herb:

Size:  2-4′ x 2-4′.  As a warning, some catnip will never reach this size.

Exposure:  Full sun. It will tolerate part sun but will become even more leggy.

Water:  Average. Make sure it’s not dry but not soaking wet either. Like most herbs, it needs good drainage.

Growing Zones:  3-9.  Catnip takes temps as low as 30 below.

Pruning:  It needs to be cut back in fall or spring.  You’ll see new growth will reappear from the base when the weather warms up.

Growing catnip indoors is more difficult because it likes high light and seasonal temperature fluctuations.  Take into account the fact that your cat will decimate it in no fact flat – that’s why mine lives on the front porch and my kitties live inside. Here’s my #1 tip for you when growing catnip in the house: plan on replacing it as often as needed.

If you choose to dry it for Fluffy to enjoy later, make sure those no moisture on the leaves or stems. Simply hang it upside down in a dry, dark place. So, get some catnip and make your kitty happy as can be!

IMG_5307_newOscar at rest after a round with the nip.


Yes, another Oscar picture. Blogs are really an excuse to show off our pets!

Here’s where the certified organic catnip that I bought at our farmers market is grown.

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  1. I was happily surprised to see the recurrence of little shoots when I was convinced that the catnip was dead. It is truly resilient and my furry housemate has learned patience to allow the greens to be restored so she can enjoy her salad of fresh catnip.

  2. Susan – Catnip goes dormant in the garden in the colder months so it’s used to coming back. It’s just hard to keep those kitties away from it – your will have to be patient while it comes back! Nell

  3. What a great post about catnip! I’ve tried growing it before but did not succeed. I have some dried catnip for my cats but love the challenge of growing plants from seeds, so I should try to grow catnip sometime again. It can be tricky growing plants in my balcony since some parts get more sun than others.

  4. Thank you Ann. Another challenge with growing catnip is keeping your kitties away from it! Nell

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