The catnip plant was named so for a reason. The fact is that it has an unusual effect on cats that leads to narcotic intoxication. Despite this, catnip is becoming more and more popular with gardeners every year. And it is valued not only for its high decorative value, but also for its medicinal properties. And also catnip grows and for household needs.
It differs in its unpretentiousness and undemanding to growing conditions.
Brush catnip throughout the summer period is decorated with small flowers. They are often planted on the borders of paths and lawns as well as in alpinaries and heather or rose beds.
Peculiarities of catnip
The catnip plant (Nepeta L.) is a member of the Jasper family.
This genus includes approximately 250 different species. In nature catnip occurs in temperate latitudes of Europe (24 species) and Asia, and therefore it can be found in Russia. Also catnip grows in the tropical mountain regions of northern Africa. It is also found almost throughout the European part of Russia, in the Caucasus and Siberia. This perennial plant prefers to grow on stony, dry soil.
The word "Nepeta" refers directly to the city of Nepeta in Italy (formerly an Etruscan state). In that city, catnip grew literally at every turn.
Catnip Mint is a perennial plant, but annual species are also found. The shrub can range in height from 100 to 120 centimeters. Its heart-shaped, opposite-supronate, single, fragrant leaves with teeth on the edges.
This plant blooms in July. Its whorled inflorescences consist of small white and blue flowers. Rarely are bushes with yellow inflorescences. The lower petals join together to form a bell-shaped or funnel-shaped tube, which ends in two lips. There is a pair of spots on the upper lip.
Each flower has four stamens, which are two in bunches. The lower pair of stamens is slightly shorter than the upper one, but none of them protrudes from the tube of the crown. When the plant is in bloom, the flowers are arranged in a cone at the top of the stem and remain ornamental until October. After flowering, the inflorescences produce a fruit, which is a nut.
Mint and catnip are related plants.
However, the leaves of these plants smell almost identical. However, catnip gives off a particular active volatile substance composed of a compound called nepetalactone. It is capable of influencing the behavior of cats through the respiratory tract.
Catnip, Catnip. A perennial essential oil plant, Catnip
Potting Catnip in the open air
When to plant
There is nothing difficult about planting Catnip in the open air.
Shrubs are planted in garden beds in the springtime. However, flower pots and containers can also be used for this purpose. If desired, this herbaceous plant can be grown from seeds, but often gardeners use ready-made seedlings for planting, they can be bought in a specialized store. A faster and easier way of growing catnip is to plant ready-made seedlings. And they can be planted outdoors in the early spring as well as in the fall.
The optimal place for planting
Catnip Mint is not very demanding in terms of growing conditions. However, it grows best in soil with good water and air permeability. On sandy soil the shrubs grow more fragrant. Also when choosing a suitable location, you should pay special attention to lighting, if possible choose the western or southern side of the building. The cocklebur will also do very well in a quiet slope or in a herb garden which should be well protected from the wind.
Please note that different species and cultivars have different requirements for the selection of the best place to plant. For example:
- Gray-leaved varieties. A well warmed sunny area is suitable for their cultivation, and the soil should be moisture- and air-permeable. At the same time, species with gray leaves in nature often grow in sparse stony soil, so they do not need frequent feeding and can withstand short drought.
- Green-leaved varieties.
They grow best in moist, nutritious soil, but the site should not be excessively wet. They prefer well-lit areas, but grow quite well in shaded areas too. These cultivars should not be planted in well heated areas, on the south side of the house for example.
To improve the growth and development of the catnip during planting, a little dolomite or lime must be added to the soil. When choosing a location for planting, also take into account that this herbaceous plant propagates very well by self-sowing.
Growing catnip from seed is quite easy but with a few details to follow:
- Since the seeds are very hard, immediately before sowing they should be placed in a freezer for one night.
- After the seed has been removed from the freezer, it is poured into a container of water and left for one day. As a result of such preparation it will be possible to destroy the protective layer of the seeds, which will greatly accelerate their germination.
- Sow the seeds in a seedling box or in the open ground.
- The first sprouts should appear after 1-1.
5 weeks. After they have grown a little, they are transplanted.
Planning and care "Blue Carpet Cottonberry"
Planning in the open soil
The growth rate of the cottontail depends directly on the species and variety. In the most suitable conditions, however, the bushes can grow quite dense. So when planting bushes, a distance of 0.
3 - 0.5 meters should be kept between them. As a rule of thumb, 3 to 8 catnip bushes can be planted per 1m. Bushes can be planted more densely in containers or pots to create a nice looking composition.
Step-by-step instructions for putting catnip in the ground:
- remove all weeds from the plot and dig the soil;
- the roots of the seedlings should be immersed in a container of water so that they can soak in moisture, this way they will be less sick and will quickly take root in their new place;
- Make small holes in the prepared soil;
- Place the bushes in the holes at the depth they were in the container;
- Fill the bushes with soil and make a small depression around them;
- Water the planted catnip well.
How to care for the catnip
The catnip does not need much care, so even an inexperienced gardener will be able to grow it in his garden.
How to water
The newly sown or planted catnip must be watered. It is then watered regularly for several weeks. While the bushes are young, it is recommended to water them once every few days. Mature shrubs need additional moisture only during a prolonged drought, and watering should be abundant.
Remember not to allow any stagnant liquid in the soil, as this can cause the flower to die.
Gray-leaved varieties are highly drought-resistant. Still, if it hasn't rained in a very long time, it is better to water the bushes.
This herbaceous plant does not need additional feedings. If there is too much nutrient in the soil, it will be very bad for the growth of the shrub.
If the soil on the plot is too sparse, you can add compost mixed with soil. You can also fertilise the shrubs with multi-nutrient fertiliser after the first flowering and pruning season so that they will flower abundantly again.
When the first flowering is over, it is best to cut the stems off. After only a short time, they will grow back and then the second wave of blooming will begin. Some varieties can bloom all the way to the fall.
Since this plant propagates easily by self-seeding, cutting it back in time helps to prevent it. However, the Fassen cultivars do not form seeds.
To collect the leaves after a few days of rain or watering, the leaves are at their most scented.
In fall, shorten the faded bushes to 2/3 of their height. This will help them survive the winter better and encourage the bush to grow wider.
As the plant is relatively winter-hardy, it is recommended to cover it for the winter only in the coldest regions. Cover the site with lapnuts or cover with felt covers. Remove the cover as soon as frost has passed so that the plant does not rot.
Crop grows like a weed and quickly takes over new areas. That is why it is recommended to be planted in confined areas such as: rockeries, fenced beds, vases, etc.
Shrub division can be done in the fall or spring (April to June). Remove the mature sprout that has grown and has two or three stems. Dip the clod in water, and when it is completely soaked, proceed to untangle the roots. In doing so, try not to traumatize them. With a clean, sharp knife, divide the bush into parts, which are then planted in the previously prepared holes.
The planted dividers need regular watering for a few weeks. This method of propagation also helps to rejuvenate the shrub, whose flowering over the years becomes more sparse. In doing so, severely overgrown bushes look withered inside.
In the last spring or first summer weeks, cut cuttings. For this purpose, choose strong stems from adult shrubs that do not yet have flowers on them.
On rooting, they are planted in a well-drained soil mixture, provide them with systematic watering and protect them from direct sunlight. From above, cuttings can be covered with a transparent hood, and they are regularly aired and condensation is removed in time. Rooted cuttings are planted in individual containers. And with the onset of spring, they are transplanted to the garden.
Growing from seeds
Seeds are sown in small boxes, and are sown in the last days of August or the first days of September.
Substrates containing coconut, crushed bark or perlite are recommended for sowing. At a temperature of not less than 18 degrees the seedlings will appear after 7-15 days.
Pests and diseases
If the summer period is dry and hot, then the catnip can be affected by powdery mildew. Remove all diseased foliage and treat the plant with Nimrod 25 WP or Bayleton 5 WP, a fungicide. As a preventive measure, cover the soil surface on the plot with mulch and do not allow water to reach the leaves when watering.
Mites and whiteflies sometimes settle on shrubs and you can get rid of them with acaricide and insecticide treatments.
Cats, which love the smell of the plant, can cause great damage. This is why catnip is not recommended to be planted near valuable garden crops.
Scented catnip - spice and flowerbed decoration
Pictures and varieties of catnip with photos and names
Specialists know of 251 species of catnip. Some species are cultivated as ornamental plants, with the Fassena catnip (Faassena N.
× faasenii) being particularly popular for its fragrant foliage and light purple inflorescences. Catnip or catnip (N. cataria) is used to prepare infusions, which have a psychedelic effect and are used in phytotherapy. Some species contain a substance nepetalactone, which has an unusual effect on cats, driving them into euphoria. At the same time, animals often destroy catnip bushes themselves.
Species found in Russia
The following species of catnip occur in Russia:
Mussinii, or Musina catnip (Nepeta mussinii Spreng. ex Henckel)
The bush is 45x60 centimeters in size and is decorated with purple-blue inflorescences and fragrant leaves that contain no nepetalactone.
Sunflower (Nepeta transcaucasica)
Sunflower Hungarian (naked) (Nepeta pannonica L. syn. N.
It grows in Ukraine, Asia, Belarus and southern Russia. The surface of the erect stem is bare or slightly pubescent. It grows 0.3 to 0.
5 cm across and can vary in height from 0.5 to 1.2 m. The shrubs bloom in July and bloom in September. All this time they are decorated with purple inflorescences.
The species prefers to grow along roadsides and on dry slopes.
Large Flowered Cottonwood (Nepeta grandiflora M. Bieb.)
The bush is about 0.7 m tall.
Its flowers are large bluish-lilac.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria L.)
Bush size 100x60 centimeters. It produces fragrant greenery and pinkish or purple-white inflorescences during flowering. The Citriodora variety has leaves that smell pleasantly of citrus.
K. kubanica (Nepeta kubanica)
This species grows in southern regions. The height of the plant grows from 0.5 to 0.7 m but it flowers from June to September.
Siberian cloverberry (Nepeta sibirica)
Bush is decorated with fragrant foliage and dense lavender-colored inflorescences. The shrub measures 40 x 60 centimeters. The Blue Beauty variety differs from the main type in its blue flowers.
Houseplant (Nepeta nervosa)
Bush size of this small species is 30x30 centimeters. It has fragrant foliage and blue inflorescences.
Besides this, the following species are of interest to gardeners: Nepeta italica, Nepeta subsessilis, Nepeta ispahanica and Nepeta ucranica.
Low-growing species with grey foliage
The most widely cultivated perennial species with grey foliage are the drought-resistant ones. They grow well in warm, sunlit areas in well-drained, loose soil. Bushes reach the height of only 20 to 30 centimeters, but they strongly proliferate in width and are able to form a dense carpet. That is why such species are used for decorative framing of flowerbeds, bases of statues or fountains.
Their stems are intertwined with the shoots of other garden crops. Because of this, for example, catnip can decorate the bed with irises when they bloom. The tasseled catnip (Nepeta racemosa) does a particularly good job.
The best varieties:
Gardeners are recommended to look out for this variety, which was created in 1804. This plant is one of the most spectacular and powerful low-growing varieties.
Flowering lasts from the last days of April to the first days of July. At this time many bluish-lilac inflorescences are formed on the bushes. If trimmed in time, the bushes will decorate the inflorescences until the fall.
The Grog variety
It is similar to the Superba variety. It is a variety that differs from the others with its characteristic strong aroma of mint and fresh lemon.
The variety 'Odeur Citron'
His foliage smells of lemon.
This plant is decorated with white inflorescences, a great rarity for the catnip.
Higher species and varieties with grey foliage
The most popular species in landscape design are the large-flowered catnip and the Fassena. These are fast-growing species with bushes about 0.6 m tall.
The Faassena perennial can reach a height of about half a meter. The stems are covered with silvery green heart-shaped foliage. Flowering is observed in May and October. Inflorescences are colored purple-blue. Absolutely all parts of the bush are fragrant, but the foliage exudes the strongest fragrance.
The best place to grow this species is in a well-lit area, and the soil should be air- and water-permeable and saturated with nutrients. Short droughts are not afraid of this plant. However, during a long dry period, it is necessary to water the bushes. Strong-growing varieties need to be tied to a support. At the end of the first flowering, it is recommended to prune the catnip, so it will bloom again.
Pruning also has a positive effect on propagation. This species is a valuable honeybee and therefore attracts insect pollinators to the site. It can also repel some insects (e.g. mosquitoes and flies).
Popular varieties of catnip Fassena:
This variety flowers much later than others, with delicate foliage adorning its branching shoots;
Branches of this English variety can reach about a meter in height and produce dark colored inflorescences;
Flowers of dark purple hue.
The best varieties of large-flowered catnip:
Six Hills Giant
The flowers are bluish-purple and look great with purple geraniums or roses.
Dawn to dusk
The flowers are pink.
"Gletschereis" This variety is distinguished from the others by its delicate silvery-blue flowers. Its fine foliage makes it a perfect match for other crops with grey leaves.
In nature, the large-flowered catnip can be found in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. In spite of its name, its flowers are hardly large. The stems can reach a height of about 1.2 meters. Strongly growing ornamental herbaceous plants and roses look very well in the company of such catnip.
The most popular ones among gardeners are the large-flowered catnip varieties such as:
- "Pool Bank" and "Wild Cat" with purple-blue flowers;
- "Blue Danube" with compact shrubs;
- "Dawn to Dusk" with pinkish flowers.
Species with green foliage
There are also species of catnip with green foliage that grow best in shaded areas. A planting place for such a flower to grow and develop properly should be chosen more carefully.
Species with green leaves:
Semi-seeded cottontail (Nepeta subsessilis)
This plant is native to Japan and differs from other species in its very large flowers. It is a shade-loving plant and is recommended to grow next to brunnera, cloverberry, hostas, geraniums or Canada phlox.
Siberian catnip (Nepeta sibirica)
When planted in nutritious soil it forms strong shoots. However, for good growth, it needs other garden crops growing next to it to form dense bushes. The variety Souvenir d'André Chaudron is more long-lived than the species plant and looks very well next to lilies and roses.
Nepeta kubanica and Nepeta pratti
These species are the most widely cultivated. During flowering, the bushes are decorated with lush inflorescences consisting of large flowers.
Such catnip flowers look great in flowerbeds next to Astrantia major or Campanula lactiflora.
It is used not only as an ornamental plant but also as a honeybee, in phytotherapy and in agriculture.
In landscape design, a honeybee
It is not uncommon to plant catnip in rockeries and English-style gardens and to frame lawns. It is also planted on poorly cultivated uneven areas where it can replace a lawn. It is also used to decorate steep slopes.
Also catnip is used to attract butterflies and bees to the site. It is recommended to plant it near an apiary as it is an excellent honey producer (150-200kg of honey per hectare).
The young stems of this plant are used in sauces, soups or vegetable salads. Chopped dried leaves are added to meat dishes. Catnip leaf tea, which is very high in vitamin C, has been very popular not so long ago.
The leaves and stems are gathered after flowering. They are gathered in bunches and hung in a well-ventilated dry place protected from direct sunlight.
Dried catnip flowers are used in phytotherapy for making tincture or tea. This plant has several medicinal properties:
- It improves the digestive system and is often used for flatulence;
- applied to upper respiratory tract infections to thin phlegm;
- tonic and diaphoretic.
To obtain a medicinal tea, simply pour the raw material over freshly boiled water and let the mixture steep.
In the household
An extract of catnip is used by gardeners to kill aphids and also to repel cockroaches, mosquitoes and termites. The scent of catnip repels rats.
Influence on cats and flies
About 2/3 of all cats are susceptible to catnip scent. This peculiarity is hereditary. Animals are attracted to the substance nepetalactone.
A cat can fall in the bushes, lick them and meow loudly for ten minutes, after which it loses interest for about a couple of hours. Kittens only at the age of five or six months begin to show interest in him. Older cats are practically not interested in the catnip.
The cattail can repel house flies and also the fall vigilante fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) and cockroaches.
How to tell the difference between the cattail and the MELISSA?