Catnip, also known as catmint and catnep, is a hardy perennial herb with a bushy habit and aromatic silver-grey leaves with spikes of pretty whitish-purple flowers. It is simply adored by cats and the flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects. It prefers sun or partial shade, grows to around 80cm in height and flowers from June to September.
Sow: your catnip seeds direct in late Spring/early Summer, or in pots/seed trays, lightly covered with a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite, from February to May.
Aftercare: direct sown seedlings should be thinned to 30cm apart and indoor sown seedlings should be transplanted once the first set of true leaves appear. Catnip is pretty self-sufficient and requires very little care. It will die back in the late Autumn with fresh growth appearing the following Spring.
Harvest: leaves and flowers as required.
Catnip leaves can be added to soups and other dishes for flavouring and they also make delicious herbal teas. It reputedly has various medicinal benefits, including the treatment of colds and flu. Catnip leaves can also be dried if you wish to make toys for your feline friends!
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