Catnip is an herb best known for its effect on felines, but this plant also has other uses. It is said that catnip can be calming for people and also works as a repellent for certain harmful insects. It can be attractive to butterflies and bees.
Catnip is a perennial that is part of the mint family. The catnip plant has green leaves with small, usually white flowers. The plant has a strong fragrance that will most likely attract cats to it, so keep this in mind when you use catnip in your garden. If you wish to deter feline visitors from rolling in your catnip, push a few long sticks in the ground amidst the catnip to prevent problems.
Planting, Growing, and Harvesting:
The catnip plant can be grown successfully out in the garden or in containers. It prefers plenty of sun and well-drained soil, but the plant is quite hardy and can tolerate many soil conditions as well as partial shade. Catnip can grow to be fairly tall and may spread quickly, so give it enough space when planning your garden. It can reach a height of 30 inches. You may also need to cut back the plant each year to ensure it doesn’t take over.
Harvest the catnip leaves by cutting the stems at the plant’s base. You can dry the catnip out by hanging it or spreading on a drying rack.
Recipes/How to Use:
Catnip can be used either dry or fresh. Crumble dried catnip leaves and use to entice your cat to play. You can use fresh catnip in salads or as a tea. Cats will also enjoy the catnip leaves fresh.
Soothing Catnip Tea
• Catnip leaves, about 4 teaspoons if fresh or 1 teaspoon if dried
• Honey, to add sweetness if desired
Heat enough water to fill a mug. Add catnip leaves, then let steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain the leaves from the water, add honey, and enjoy. Serves 1.