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Catnip Nepeta

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Catnip:

Phonetic Spelling
NEP-eh-tuh
Description

Catmint is an herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae (mint) family that has a number of species and hybrids. Catmint originated in Temperate Eurasia and Macaronesia to Eastern Tropical Africa. It came to be called catmint owing to having a strong scent that cats find attractive. 

Catmint requires full sun and good drainage. It is drought tolerant once established. It is less picky about its soil and will grow in clay, loam, sandy, or shallow rocky soil. When flowers begin to fade, shear them off to encourage new growth and another wave of flowering. Catmint has a clumping habit. Propagate it by division or seed. 

As a garden plant, catmint acts as a repellent for certain insects, including aphids and squash bugs. The minty-flavored leaves are edible.  

Catmint's spreading form makes it a good choice for meadows, naturalized areas, and cottage gardens. It works well in containers, planted along walkways, or nestled between rocks in a rock garden.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems though it can be a bit weedy.

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Dwarf'
    Copious blue flowers on upright spikes
  • 'Blue Wonder'
  • 'Limelight'
  • N. cataria Nepta cataria
    N. x faasenii Plant
  • 'Six Hills Giant'
    Used in England
  • 'Walker's Low'
'Blue Dwarf', 'Blue Wonder', 'Limelight', N. cataria, N. x faasenii, 'Six Hills Giant', 'Walker's Low'
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#edible plant#perennials#purple flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#medicinal#cottage garden#air pollution tolerant#seeds#deer resistant#rock gardens#border planting#pollinator plant#edible leaves#naturalized area#late spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#rocky soils tolerant#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#meadows#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Dwarf'
    Copious blue flowers on upright spikes
  • 'Blue Wonder'
  • 'Limelight'
  • N. cataria Nepta cataria
    N. x faasenii Plant
  • 'Six Hills Giant'
    Used in England
  • 'Walker's Low'
'Blue Dwarf', 'Blue Wonder', 'Limelight', N. cataria, N. x faasenii, 'Six Hills Giant', 'Walker's Low'
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#edible plant#perennials#purple flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#medicinal#cottage garden#air pollution tolerant#seeds#deer resistant#rock gardens#border planting#pollinator plant#edible leaves#naturalized area#late spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#rocky soils tolerant#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#meadows#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Nepeta
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    As a garden plant, catnip acts as a repellent for certain insects, including aphids and squash bugs.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Temperate. Eurasia, Macaronesia to Eastern Tropical Africa
    Distribution:
    Much of Canada and US
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies.
    Edibility:
    Herbal teas from leaves. Fresh leaves (minty flavor) may be chopped and added to soups, stews, sauces, vegetables, or pasta
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Long ovoid smooth or ribbed nutlets
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small, two-lipped, white (with pale purple spotting) flowers (1/4" long) bloom in spike-like terminal clusters at the stem ends from late spring well into summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Rhomboidal
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-inch aromatic grey-green leaves have downy stems and leaves which help give the plant its grey-green appearance.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Downy stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Pollution
    Problems:
    Weedy