Care of Catnip Plants


Catnip (Nepeta cataria), also known as catmint, is a perennial herb related to the mint plant, and has a pungent aroma that is especially appealing to cats. Catnip is a hardy herb, easy enough for kids to raise their own plant in a sunny window. Catnip can also be planted outdoors, where the bright purple blooms atop 3- to 4-foot stems will provide a colorful backdrop for smaller plants.

Step 1

Plant catnip where it will be exposed to sunlight at least six hours each day. Although catnip will grow in partial shade, full sunlight will result in larger plants and bigger, brighter blooms. If you're growing catnip indoors, put it in a sunny window, or supplement available light with a grow light.

Step 2

Cut the catnip plants down with a pair of scissors or garden shears after the first blooms have faded. Cutting the plant back will encourage the plant to grow and bloom again. Use the cut blooms in a bouquet, or dry the leaves and blooms by hanging them upside down in a well-ventilated room.

Step 3

Water catnip regularly, but don't over water. The soil should be kept evenly moist, but not soaked. If the catnip is grown indoors, be sure to plant it in a pot with a drainage hole, and never allow the pot to sit in water.

Tips and Warnings

  • Catnip will reseed itself and can become invasive. If this is a concern, be sure to remove the blooms as soon as they fade.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors or garden shears
  • Pot with drainage hole


  • HerbGardening: Catnip, Catmint
  • West Virginia University: Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
  • Thrifty Fun: Growing Catnip Indoors
Keywords: catnip, catnip plant, catmint

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.