ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Grow Your Own Catnip

Updated on January 2, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia has years of experience with gardening and wild pests in New Hampshire and other locales.

Catnip Nirvana

Even an older, sedentary cat gets excited by catnip.
Even an older, sedentary cat gets excited by catnip. | Source

Why Do Cats Love Catnip?

Those crazy cats! Give them a little sniff of catnip and they start running and jumping and rolling around. They do love their catnip!

But what is it about catnip that makes your cat do crazy things? And more important - is it dangerous?

Catnip is an herb. It's a member of the Mint family. And no, it is not dangerous or addictive for your cat. Or your kids. Or your dog.

It does contain a chemical - nepetalactone - and that's what triggers the response in your cat's brain, if your cat is the type that's susceptible to the charms of catnip. In fact, not every cat has a reaction to catnip. Kittens and older cats often don't even notice it. So if you've noticed that your feline friend really couldn't care less if there's catnip around or not, don't worry. There's nothing wrong with your cat.

Cats don't really eat catnip. What they're trying to do when they bite it is to bruise it to release the smell. It's the smell that triggers their comical response. Sometimes if your cat eats catnip he'll actually become sedate. And if he eats too much, he might get a tummy ache or have diarrhea.

If your cat is the type who goes crazy for catnip, after a 5 to 10 minutes he'll become desensitized to the smell and walk away to find something else to do. Once his nose settles down again, which might take a couple of hours, he'll be right back for another 'catnip fix'!

Cats Just Wanna Have Fun

A cat goes wild when they get a toy filled with dried catnip. Look at this kitten playing!
A cat goes wild when they get a toy filled with dried catnip. Look at this kitten playing! | Source

How To Grow Catnip

Catnip is a perennial herb which means if you let it flower and turn to seed it will keep coming up, year after year. Common catnip (Nepeta cataria) is the variety that most cats prefer. It has white flowers and grows up to 3 feet tall.

Other varieties that your cat might enjoy include: Camphor Catnip which has white flowers and grows to 10 inches and smells like camphor, Lemon Catnip which also has white flowers and grows up to 3 feet tall and smells lemony, and Catmint which has purple flowers and grows to 15 inches high.

Catnip does best when planted in full sun but it will also grow in less sunny areas of your garden. Plant in well-drained loamy or sandy soil and water regularly. Plant late in the fall or early in the spring so the plants have plenty of time to become established.

If starting seeds indoors, start 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost and then plant 18-inches apart when you move them to your garden.

Trim back old growth in the early spring to make room for new growth.


Does Your Cat Love Catnip?

Vote in the Poll

See results

Do TIGERS like catnip??

People Like Catnip, Too

There are some who say that catnip tea has a sedative effect on humans but since it's an herb there's no official scientific evidence to cite. And they also say it helps settle an upset stomach.

Those same folks say that if you place damp catnip leaves on a cut it will heal faster and that catnip tea will also relieve muscle aches and pains and toothaches.

And you can also dry catnip to use as an aromatic herb in sauces and salads.

Even better - Butterflies are attracted to catnip! So plant some in your garden this year and you'll have pretty butterflies to watch - along with your crazy cat!

200 Seeds, Catnip Herb

Package of 600 Seeds, Catnip Herb (Nepeta cataria) Non-GMO Seeds By Seed Needs
Package of 600 Seeds, Catnip Herb (Nepeta cataria) Non-GMO Seeds By Seed Needs

Cat-attracting perennial with gray-green leaves and white flowers.

Prefers an area of full sunlight and grows to a height of about 24 to 48 inches tall.

75-85 days to harvest when started indoors.

Complete planting and growing directions on seed packet.


Growing Herbs : Growing Catnip

I have planted a lot of catnip over the years. My cats went nuts when they smelled it. The flowerbed was absolutely flat! I dried the small bouquets and stuffed it into pieces of socks or just a little bag that I sew. Really nice for my darlings. I love cats.

— Irenemaria from Sweden

Put the Catnip in a Hanging Pot If Your Cat Keeps Damaging the Plants

Catnip is an herb and there's nothing about it that will harm your cat. The problem is keeping your cat from harming the catnip!

Use a Shepherd's hook to raise catnip up out of reach if you're planting outside. Just be sure to position it away from the deck or fence or anything else your cat might be able to use to help climb the pole!

This Pole Stabs Into the Ground and the Plants Hang from the Hooks

Hanging Planters To Keep Catnip Out Of Harm's Way

Hang the catnip out of the cat's reach. Then you can give small amounts at a time. If you have the plant within reach of the cat, it will destroy the plant by rolling and chewing on it.

© 2012 Virginia Allain

Tell Me about Your Experience with Cats and Catnip

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      6 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I liked this lens, and especially the idea of using a hanging planter to grow the catnip. That way butterflies can get to it, but not the neighbor's cat.


    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      6 years ago

      Good idea, but my little Foxy, doesn't like cat nip, but I have had plenty of cats that do. So growing your own is just smart.

    • gypsykitschpres profile image


      7 years ago

      What a great idea. I never even thought to grow my own catnip. Very helpful. Cute kitties too!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well written and informative. I wondered why my older cat doesn't seem to react to catnip.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a fun and informative article on catnip Art! Its interesting that kittens and older cats just might not be interested and that the effect of fascination wears off, guess that's probably a good thing....or they'd be rolling in it and not get anything else done. The video does indicated that many types of cats in the wild love it too...they look like they are in heaven! I was trying to figure out if Now, cats like both butterflies and catnip, I wonder if you planted it to attract butterflies, which one the cats would be most interested in getting at. I've been trying to figure out if Natasha and Willow are Bobcats or Lynx, I think Canadian Lynx because of those ear tufts.

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 

      7 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      I want to grow some catnip! Thanks for the tips :)

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 

      7 years ago from Detroit

      I used to do that, its a great idea if your cat likes it

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Loved the video!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)