Cats love catnip. Even the big ones—lions, tigers, but not bears…well maybe. As soon as they get a wiff of the stuff, they act…well, kinda strange. Jumping around, rubbing their bodies, head and nose in the stuff. They meow and drool looking quite out of sorts for about a cool 10 minutes. When that 10 minutes is up, for the next 30 minutes catnip has absolutely no affect on them…go figure. Another cool little fun fact is that kittens are not affected by catnip until they become mature enough for sex. So don’t start growing your catnip until your cat starts to show a little interest in the opposite sex next door—then you can get the party started.
Catnip is a type of mint that has in it acids, volatile oils, tannins and sterols. It is a plant that originates on the continents Asia, Europe and Africa, but bought to the united states by settlers. It’s now an herb in your average garden where it grows like a weed. But don’t worry, your cat won’t get addicted to it, in fact it won’t harm your cat at all. So with that in mind, lets learn how to grow the stuff.
The easiest way to grow catnip is from a prestarted plant that you can purchase from most any garden center. Alternatively, you can grow catnip from seeds—which you can order. It grows lovely in a bed of flowers, because it blends so well with everything. You can even plant seeds in a pot and grow it as a house plant. Because catnip is a perennial, it blooms mid to late summer. Allow the sun to fully shine on it, as this is a robust plant and it is very hard to mess this up.
What You’ll Need:
• Catnip Seeds (Amazon)
• Storage Bags (Amazon)
How To Harvest And Dry Catnip
You can give catnip to your cat anytime, but it’s at its best when it is in full bloom. You can feed your cat the flower, leaves and stems. While catnip is edible when fresh, drying it is an ideal method to preserve it. When dried, you can also use the catnip in DIY toys.
Below are a few great ways to dry catnip:
Dry while hanging:
Cut a group of stems with the leaves and flowers still attached. Put them together, then hang them. Make sure the flowers are pointing down in a dark and cool space. Once it dries and the leaves crumble, it is ready to be served.
Drying in the oven:
This is fairly easy. Just place the catnip on a tray and bake them at the lowest possible setting. Bake for a few hours until they are dry to the point of crumbling.
Using a dehydrator, spread leaves, flowers and stems on a tray, then dehydrate for 6-8 hours. It is unnecessary to blanch the catnip first. (Amazon)
How to store catnip
Place dried catnip in a plastic bag and store it in a cool space–freezing it is also an option. Your catnip will last for a few months, but will weaken in time, so it is good to replace it each season. (Amazon)
If you’re interested in prestarted catnip plants, click on the link below.
Catnip Plant (Amazon)
I’m sure that if you apply these tips, you’ll have no problem growing your own catnip. If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments. Thanks for reading.