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Catmint

Guest Author - Hellie T.

Yes, Catmint is the famous catnip that cats are so addicted to! Luckily the leaves are only aromatic when they are torn. There is even a traditional saying about catmint -

'If you set it, the cats will eat it,
If you sow it, the cats don't know it.'

Meaning if you try to transplant catmint, you will probably damage a few leaves in the process and the cats, smelling it, will come and eat the rest. But when catmint is grown from seed, the leaves aren't ever damaged, and the cats don't realize what lurks within the plant or so they say!

Catmint was traditionally used in teas, and for some reason it repels rodents (maybe the same reason that cats love it?) so it would often be planted around the edges of a garden.

Catnip is an English Garden hardy perennial and pretty easy to grow.In Massachusetts and Gloucestershire - where winters can get roughish - it pops right back every year.

It looks good planted in front of shrub roses especially the older varieties and is a good companion plant for roses as it is said to deter greenfly.
Also it can be used as an edging plant - plant with hyssop or pink salvias for extra effect.

Here catmint is planted on the path edge with small pink roses.

The flowers will attract bees into your garden - good for your fruit and veggies.

Catmint prefers a really sunny spot, but it will grow in partial shade as long as it gets a good dose of sunshine!
It prefers well-drained sandy soil and depending on variety will grow from 18 inches to 3 foot (45cm - 1 metre)and grows well in zones 4 to 11.
If you cut it back by at least half when it has finished flowering you will get a second flush of flowers later in the year.

Propagate by division in spring or take cuttings in spring which will root very easily.If you get your seeds planted in early spring your plants will flower in their first summer.

Try growing these varieties

  • Nepeta Six Hills Giant - this will grow to 3 ft or 90cm, with long spikes of lavender coloured flowers that have a minty lemon scent
  • Nepeta mussinii Blue Wonder - these also come in white and pink.



Enjoy your garden!

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Content copyright © 2014 by Hellie T.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Hellie T.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Carol Chernega for details.

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