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Catnip – not just for cats

Catnip, or catmint (Nepeta cataria) is a lovely plant to add to a sunny location in your North Central Texas garden. It is drought tolerant, bloom consistently (even during milder winters), and attracts  beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies.

100_2029 As you might guess from it’s common name, catmint is a member of the mint family and can be used to make a soothing, bedtime tea.  (However, we strongly recommend that you do your research before making tea with this plant. We do not recommend any particular dosages and this post is not meant to offer medical or homeopathic advice).

The dried leaves can also be used in cat toys. The plant can also be enjoyed by your outdoor cat. Ours LOVES her catnip plant!

Here is another shot of the dainty flower stalks:

 

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Catmint/catnip will need to be replaced every few years, as it is a biennial plant. However, you can collect seed, which is easily started, or you can allow it to self-seed when you plant your original plant.

Be aware that catmint / catnip can be invasive — as are all members of the mint family. To solve this, you can use the “bottomless pot” method when you plant it:

  • Cut the bottom out of a plastic pot that is large enough to give your plant plenty of room to grow.
  • Dig your planting hole and situate the bottomless plastic pot in the hole with the rim at ground level.
  • Plant your catnip / catmint inside the bottomless pot.

100_2030The plant shown above was potted in our yard two years ago using the “bottomless pot” method and we have had NO problems with it spreading.

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