Catnip Fever: The Dos and Don’ts of Growing Catnip Indoors

published Apr 17, 2019
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(Image Credit: Amelia Lawrence)

Curious about growing the feline-friendly catnip (Nepeta cataria)? Why wouldn’t you be? A quick Instagram search brings up thousands of videos of cute kitties going bonkers over the green stuff. But catnip isn’t just for cat owners: It’s a delightful addition to any window herb garden and even consumable by humans. Catnip tea can help with stress and digestion.

Here’s how to grow this purr-fect herb.

Growing catnip: The dos

Give your plant as much sunlight as possible. Too little sun will cause the plant to become leggy—and slow the production of new growth.

Pot in quick-draining soil to discourage root rot. If the soil holds too much moisture, you’ll run into problems.

(Image Credit: Amelia Lawrence)

Fertilize monthly.

Propagate your catnip. Who doesn’t want more catnip? Take a cutting and put it into a pot with new soil. New growth will emerge as long as you give the cutting enough light and water.

(Image Credit: Amelia Lawrence)

Harvest leaves for your feline friend. Use them fresh or hang them to dry for later.

Give your plants space. Make sure your catnip has room to breathe by spacing your pots.

Try growing catnip outside. A balcony or garden is the perfect place to try your hand at growing the ‘nip.

Growing catnip: The don’ts

Bring home a plant with bugs. At the nursery, give the catnip you’re considering purchasing a good once-over for pests before bringing your new baby home.

(Image Credit: Amelia Lawrence)

Let your catnip flower. Cut off any budding stems to encourage plant growth.

(Image Credit: Amelia Lawrence)

Give your feline-friend unlimited access. No, they won’t overdose, but cats will wreck your plant by rubbing up against or sitting in it. Try growing it in a hanging pot.

Drown your catnip. Make sure your container has drainage holes! Stagnant water sitting in the bottom of a closed pot will seal your plant’s fate.

Let moisture sit on the leaves. This encourages bugs and mold. When you water, pour directly on the soil, not on top of the foliage.

(Image Credit: Amelia Lawrence)

Worry if you forget to water it. Catnip will recover with a healthy dose of H2O.

Recycle potting soil. If you’ve lost a plant to fungus or pests, they still might be living in the soil. Toss the infected mix and wash the pot with hot soap and water before using it again.

Did you know: Cats can’t overdose on catnip. When they’ve had enough, they’ll turn it away and refuse to eat or play with it.