How to Plant Catmint


Gardeners prize the catmint plant for its low-water needs---it's often found in arid locations and rock gardens---and its white, blue or purple blossoms, notes the Department of Horticultural Science (DHS) at North Carolina State University. The shrub gets its name from its propensity to attract cats, although catmint isn't quite as effective at that as its close relative, the catnip plant. Grow this low-maintenance plant from rooted starts, whether you want catmint for your pet cat or simply to enjoy its aesthetics.

Step 1

Choose a sunny location in your garden. Catmint thrives in full sun, according to Cornell University. Though it can handle some shade, catmint grown in the shade may be less dense and have faded colors.

Step 2

Prepare the soil. Catmint plants are hardy and can handle all types of soil, but they prefer well-drained ground, according to the DHS. Break up the soil with a spade to a depth of 6 inches, then stir in 3 to 4 inches of compost. This improves drainage and helps retain moisture for a more-hydrated catmint plant.

Step 3

Plant the catmint. Use either rooted cuttings or rooted pieces divided from a preexisting catmint plant (according to Cornell University, catmint can't be grown from seed). Bury the starts up to their crowns (the point on the plant where the stem or vegetation meets the roots). If you're growing more than one catmint plant, space them about 2 feet apart to account for the plant's mature size.

Step 4

Water the planted catmint enough each day to moisten the soil to a depth of 4 to 5 inches. Once established---marked by the appearance of new growth---reduce watering to once a week.

Tips and Warnings

  • The plant may attract all the cats in your neighborhood, notes the University of Kentucky's Horticulture Department, and these feline visitors may lie in the shrubs or dig in your flower beds.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Compost
  • Catmint starts
  • Water


  • "Your Backyard Herb Garden"; Miranda Smith; 1999
  • Cornell University: Catmint
  • North Carolina State University: Catmint
  • University of Kentucky: Ground Covers
Keywords: growing catmint, planting catmint, starting catmint

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.