Catnip Nepeta - cataria
Perennial. Hardy to USDA zone 3. Enjoy a cup of hot lemony-mint flavored catnip tea while watching your cats frolic in a patch of this fragrant, attractive plant. Plants can also be grown indoors on a windowsill, so cats can enjoy the fresh leaves year round. A very hardy plant, it grows in almost any soil. (Although, most cats are crazy for catnip, 10-30% of the cat population does not respond to it. Though, the affinity for it is genetic, this indifference is pronounced in very young kittens and older cats.) If your cat loves catnip, you can grow your own to make him or her silly happy all year long. =^_^=
When to plant outside: : Early spring, 2 to 4 weeks before average last frost. Plant as late as 2 months before first fall frost.
When to start inside: 6 weeks before average last spring frost for transplanting outdoors. Can be started any time of year to be grown as a houseplant.
Special Germination Instructions: Seed requires light to germinate. Either donï¿½t cover seeds at all and mist them regularly to keep them moist or cover them very lightly so seeds can still receive light. Seed germinates best in cool conditions.
Important note: If you don't want your cats or the neighbor's cats to roll over or eat your plants, start with seed. Cats seem to go after transplants right away, but don't seem to notice seeded plants as quickly.
Special Care: Cut back stems and blooms after the first flush of flowers: this will encourage additional fall flowers.
To Make Tea: : Pour 1 cup of boiling water over dried catnip and let steep. Use a little more catnip than you would regular tea leaves.
To Harvest Leaves for Cats or for Tea: In late morning, after the dew has dried, cut stems 3-4 inches from the ground. Tie branches in small bunches with rubber bands or twine and hang upside down in a brown paper bag (to keep dust off). In 3-4 days or shortly thereafter (depending on the humidity of your climate), the leaves will be dry and can be stripped from the stems. Store thoroughly dried leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.