How to Plant Catnip in Gardens


Catnip (Nepeta cataria) grows up to 4 feet in height. A hardy perennial, often utilized for tea and cat toys, the herb is a member of the mint family. The plant produces large clusters of purplish, yellow or white flowers depending on the variety. Bees flock to the flowers of the catnip plant. The heart-shaped foliage sports a strong aroma that is often compared to the odor of a lemon. Plant catnip in containers or directly into the garden. When planting in the garden, provide the plant with ample space so it does not overtake other garden plants due to its vigorous growth habits.

Step 1

Choose a location in the garden that offers full sunlight. Sow seeds 1/8-inch deep in the soil. Well-draining soil that is slightly sandy is ideal.

Step 2

Thin seedlings from 12 inches to 20 inches apart. The plants are capable of withstanding heavy crowding with ease so if the space is limited and you want an abundance of catnip to harvest, consider allowing the plants to grow in large clumps with only minimal thinning.

Step 3

Pinch back catnip when it has grown 2 inches in height. Remove the top two leaves. This will allow the plants to bush out and appear less leggy.

Step 4

Water catnip regularly so the soil stays moist. Never allow the soil to become water-logged.

Step 5

Fertilize catnip once per month using a water soluble general plant fertilizer. Mix the fertilizer at half strength and apply.

Things You'll Need

  • General purpose water-soluble plant fertilizer


  • University of Oklahoma: Nepeta cataria
  • USA Gardener: Catnip
  • The Gardeners Network: Catnip
  • Growing Herbs: How to Grow Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Who Can Help

  • Southern University and A&M College System: Biological Characteristics, Nutritional and Medicinal
Keywords: growing catnip, care of catnip, catnip gardening

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.