Catnip - the magic herb

I have four cats, so catnip (Nepeta cataria) is an essential plant.

Easy to grow, self-seeding and highly prized by my cats, catnip is a perennial herb that is well established in the gardens around my home. Sometimes, too established. But this isn't really a problem since I pull and dry any wayward plant.

Catnip, a member of the mint family, grows in sun or partial-shade. It grows in any type soil and doesn't require much tending. Catnip grows up to 18". The herb has tiny whitish-purple flowers that attract bees and, when seed heads form, goldfinches.

The cats love the nip fresh or dried. The buds are the most potent part. When fresh, catnip has a strong, I think almost skunky, smell. In the winter, I sprinkle dry catnip on the kitchen carpet for the cats to eat and roll in. The oil works its magic slowly; then BAM! the cats are crazed for the next 15 minutes.

I started my nip patches in 1995 with one packet of seeds; a very good investment. So far, Zone 5 and catnip are a perfect match.


  1. yes auntie I love catnip too. Mom puts it in my kittie house and then I am like a bat out of hell!!! Running all over.

  2. I'll bet you are....a cute little cat bat!

  3. I've been trying to get my hands on Nepeta cataria for a while now. Can you possibly believe that only online stores sell it here in Germany? The postage costs more than the package of seeds, so far I have backed off. I have Valeriana officinalis though - the roots have the same effect on my cats.
    Got to get that nip some day...