Nepeta cataria. Perennial in zone 3-9.
Catnip is a member of the mint family and is especially suited for gardeners whose household includes members of the cat family. Our cats love catnip and can often be found laying in the shade of the catnip patch on summer afternoons, but cats aren’t the only reason to grow catnip. Drought tolerant and deer resistant, it may also repel aphids, ants, flea beetles, and squash bugs, even as it attracts many types of beneficial insects. A strong infusion of catnip leaves has been said to repel fleas from carpets and pets. Leaves may be used as a culinary herb and may also be used medicinally by humans for relaxation and to aid sleep. Catnip also has a history of being used in treating digestive disorders, reducing fevers, and a whole slew of other ailments. Plants can reach 5′ in their second year. Germination is sometimes slow and unpredictable.
Surface-sow indoors for transplant 6 weeks before last frost. Germination in 10 – 20 days. Thin plants or transplant to 12” apart in full sun or partial shade. Keep seedlings well protected from cats! Perennial.
Cut seedheads when seeds are dry, thresh by hand or by dancing, winnow to clean. Some cross-pollination may occur, isolate from varieties of the same species by 1/4 mile.