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How to Grow a Cat Whiskers Plant

Cat’s whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus) are perennial flowering plants that can grow up to 2 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. A somewhat bushy and unusual plant, cat’s whiskers is part of the mint family and originated in tropical East Asia. The orchid-like flowers are white or lavender, sprouting long stamens at their bases that resemble cat’s whiskers. Cat’s whiskers are easy to grow either in containers indoors or outdoors in flower beds. The plant’s nectar attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Cat’s whiskers are harvested to use in herbal teas for treating kidney stones and other urinary ailments.

Plant your cat’s whiskers in full or dappled sunlight. Prepare the planting site by loosening the soil with a pitchfork or rototiller.

Spread a 3-inch layer of organic compost on top of the planting bed and mix it down into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Also mix into the soil 1 lb. of slow-release 12-6-6 NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer per 100 sq. ft. of plant bed.

Water your cat’s whiskers plant two or three times each week during the growing season. Water the plant deeply to moisten the soil down to the root zone.

Feed the plant once each month during the growing season with a balanced flower fertilizer that has a 1-1-1 NPK ratio. Apply the liquid fertilizer during a watering session and according to the directions on the label.

Tip

You can grow cat’s whiskers as a perennial outdoors if you live in a warmer, tropical climate, such as in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 through 11, where minimum winter temperatures are above 20 to 25 degrees F.

Warning

Don’t allow your cat’s whiskers plant to dry out. Water the plant generously, especially during the hotter, drier days in summer.

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