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Plants That Smell Like Cat Urine

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Landscaping your yard is an effective way to improve your home’s curb appeal and provide a backdrop for family gatherings. The last thing you want while entertaining is to have the smell of cat urine wafting in the air. Beware before you buy —talk to your local nursery to find out if there are any plants of which you should be aware. This is particularly important if you are sensitive to odors since there are several plants which smell very similar to cat urine.


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Boxwood is commonly used in landscaping and has a very distinctive odor, similar to cat urine. Boxwood has been used in landscaping since colonial times and can be found in all types of landscaping -- ranging from colonial to modern. It is a versatile shrub that can be used to define areas, create a natural screen and grow as topiary shrubs. Boxwoods come in approximately 30 different species. The two most widely used boxwood species are buxus sempervirens (American boxwood) and buxus microphylla (Japanese boxwood). American boxwood reaches heights of 5 to 10 feet and is generally cold-weather tolerant. Japanese Boxwood is a low-growing shrub that rarely exceeds 3 feet in height.


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Valerian is an odiferous herb that grows in grassland areas and may be used as a landscaping plant in a garden setting. Stems are straight and hollow with deep green leaves. Valerian blooms with small, pink or light purple flowers between June and September; flowers may have a sweet fragrance. However, the rest of the valerian plant (leaves, stem and roots) produces a smell that can be rather repelling to the human nose and which may resemble that of cat urine. The herb is frequently used in alternative medicine. Taken as a supplement, valerian has soothing properties which can alleviate sleeplessness associated with insomnia and calm anxiety.

Viburnum tinus

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Viburnum tinus, or Laurustinus viburnum, is an evergreen shrub that grows to heights of 6 to 12 feet and widths between 6 and 10 feet. It is frequently used in landscaping due to its lustrous green foliage and eye-catching white flowers that begin blooming in late winter. Viburnum is relatively easy to grow since it does well in alkaline or acidic soils and flourishes in a sunny location. While viburnum adds evergreen color to the landscape and is well suited to many growing conditions, the plants will emit a strong odor on rainy days -- the smell may be reminiscent of cat urine to some.

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