Catnip Seeds (edible) (appx 150 seeds)
Catnip, or Kattesminte (Catmint), also called catwort, cat’s heal-all, and cat’s-play, is an extremely well-known and popular aromatic perennial herb. The common name ‘catnip’ is usually limited to this Nepeta cataria species while the term ‘catmint’ refers to practically all other species. These catnip seeds were wild collected by us during our travels to the Cascade Mountains.
Catnip is often found in dry locations, in well-drained, chalky or gravelly soils, often in disturbed sites. It’s extremely drought resistant and requires far less moisture than its mint relatives. Tolerates lean soil, but more fertile soils encourage bushiness. Prefers full sun, but will grow just fine in part shade. Winter wetness can be fatal.
Like many flowering plants, Catnip has hermaphrodite flowers (both male and female organs) that are small, white and gather in spikes. They bloom from late spring through autumn and are particularly appreciated by bees and butterflies. The flowers don’t have a particular fragrance, however, the foliage, being in the mint family, has a pungent aroma that’s reminiscent of thyme and oregano.
Catnip spreads via self-seeding and by its generous rhizome growth, which can eventually produce clonal colonies. Cut out last years spent stems in early spring, which will create room for new ones. Cutting the plants completely down after the first blooms will allow enough time for the plant to regrow and bloom again.
Seeds planted indoors will require cold stratification for 2 weeks first, or some time in the freezer before sitting under heat, light, and humidity.
The effects of Catnip on cats has been well documented for millennia. Each cat seems to have a unique reaction to catnip: with some going crazy for it, and others indifferent toward it. Approximately one-third of cats are not affected by it, which is hereditary. Cats eat it and smell it, and will even roll in it. The active ingredient in the leaves, nepetalactone, is a terpene that mimics the pheromones in the urine of male cats, which acts as an aphrodisiac, has a euphoric effect, and can be rejuvenating even for lazy or elderly animals. A cats mood can improve simply by sniffing this plant. There happen to be other plants that have catnip-like effects on cats too, including valerian (Valeriana officinalis) roots and leaves; silver vine (Actinidia polygama), which is also called Matatabi, and is the most popular feline attractant in Asia, and Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) wood. Many cats that do not respond to catnip are likely to respond to one or more of these alternatives.
Catnip is not only useful for cats, but for humans too because it has so many beneficial, medicinal properties: It acts as an anti-tussive, astringent, anti-catarrhal, carminative, diaphoretic, sedative, and a tonic.
Attracts cats, beneficial pollinators and birds. Repels rodents and insects.
Partial shade to full sun.
Perennial in zones 3-9