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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.


•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.


•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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