Catnip, catmint, cat mint or to give it the botanical name, Nepeta Cataria is a plant that many cat lovers like to keep in their gardens.
It grows about 12 to 20 inches tall depending on the species and
has flower spikes ranging from white tinted lilac to dark purple. Most commonly they are a brilliant blue.
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It is one of the best herbs to grow to feed bees as they are attracted to its flowers. There is an added bonus that it attracts butterflies because leaves are used to feed their larvae.
I have always grown Nepata Cataria for my cats - the look of ecstasy on their faces as they roll in the plant is wonderful.
This photo here is of my friend Corinne's cat, Alfie, lying in his own personal patch of catmint - he looks like he is 'out of this world.!!
Of course the plant will be flattened, but it will soon spring up again, growing strong and healthy.
You can buy a plant or take a few runners from somebody elses.
Catnip impregnated toys can be bought commercially or you can make your own.
You will need to dry the leaves and flowers as you would any other herb - microwave, oven or air dry and then sew a piece of cotton cloth into a bag.
It can be as elaborate as you like, but overall your cat won't care what it looks like - so if you're challenged in the needlework department, a simple square shape will do.
Just make sure that the cloth is a solid weave - such as cotton - and then stuff some dried catmint inside.
Your cat will love his new toy.
This video shows that even the Big Cats love it - it's a very feline thing. Aren't they gorgeous?
This is a photo of a beautiful healthy cat mint plant.
You might be able to see the price of £3.49 - that's about $5.50 and it's not that big.
Catmint does grow very quickly and if you were patient, you would be able to have a good patch by just begging a runner from a friend and leaving it to establish for a year.
You can take a pot indoors for the winter if you have room. Bear in mind that your cat will rub it and probably knock the pot over so, keep it low on the ground and put some paper underneath to keep mess to a minimum.
This photo here is of catnip before a cat flattens it!
It is quite tall and all the species I have grown have had a brilliant blue flower.
Catnip oil is reputed to be a mosquito repellant - it's quite complicated to distill oil from herbs but try it out for yourself, by rubbing a few leaves on your skin and see what happens.
Unlike other mints, you allow this one to flower - if you nip out the flower stems as they begin to fade, you should get a second flush.
Where would you like to go next?The Herb Guide › Herbs › Cat Mint