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How to Plant and Grow Catmint

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Written by Dena Bolton   



how to plant and grow catmintIntro:  There does seem to be some confusion as to the difference between "catmint" and "catnip."  (Yes, there is a difference.  See my article:  Catmint or Catnip?  How to Tell the Difference.)  Catmint is an easy-to-grow plant that emits an absolutely fantastic fragrance.  (To me, it has a slightly spicy smell.)  It is not as invasive as other mints.  In fact, it grows in rather well-behaved clumps.  The leaves are a gray-green, and it produces spikes of long-lasting blooms in a lavender or lavender-blue.  My catmint is one of the first perennials to begin making its appearance in the spring and lasts well into the fall.  Most varieties of catmint are hard in Zones 3-8.

Step 1:  Choose a site in full sun or, if you live in a warmer climate, in an area that receives afternoon shade.

Step 2:  Plant you catmint either in the front of the border as an edging plant or in a space where it can grow into a specimen plant. (Most varieties grow to be about 15 inches tall and form 18-inch mounds.)

Step 3:  Catmint is not overly picky about the type of soil in which it is planted; therefore, just use a good garden soil or compost.

Step 4:  Water regularly when you first plant it until it is well-established.  (It will start growing rather quickly when it does establish itself in the garden.)  After that, do not overwater.  Catmint is drought-tolerant; therefore, you really need only water it deeply -- set your sprinkler to run for about 20 minutes -- about once a week.

Step 5:  Cut back any of the spent blooms to encourage a bushier growth and re-blooming.

Step 6:  At the end of the season, cut the entire plant back to the ground and mulch.

Tips:

•Catmint is known to repel mice and rats.

•The most popular variety is 'Walker's Low', with grows to be about 18-inches tall.  There are larger varieties; e.g., 'Six Hills Giant' which grows to be 30-inches tall and 'Souvenir d'Andre Chaudron' Siberian catmint which can get to be 2-3-feet tall.

•Catmint is a good companion for roses.  Plant it in front to hide the not-so-attractive crown of your rose bush.

Warnings:

•Catmint bouquets bring the wonderful fragrance into your home.  However, if you have a cat, the bouquet will not last long.  Cats love the smell of it and will often lay under it outside.

•Sometimes cats will lay in the middle of your catmint; though, I have not had this problem.  It will not hurt the plant; however, you can throw some mesh over it to keep the cats out if it bothers you.

 






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