Gardening

How to plant catnip

Nepeta cataria

Catnip, catnip or gate weed is a plant that owes its name to the fact that it attracts cats when rubbed or cut. The substance nepetalactone present in the plant causes a state of euphoria in approximately 80% of domestic cats, as well as in some other felines such as leopards and tigers. In humans it has no noticeable effect, and young leaves and branches can be used as a spice or as tea. Its flavor and aroma is similar to that of mint or mint. The plant can exceed 1 m in height, although it is usually smaller when cultivated. Its blatant flowers are white, pink or lilac, and are a good source of food for bees.

Climate

Catnip grows best in the temperature range from 4 ° C to 21 ° C, although it can withstand lower or higher temperatures.

Brightness

This plant grows best with at least a few hours a day of direct sunlight.

Ground

It can be grown in almost any type of soil, as long as it is well drained. The best results are obtained in moderately fertile sandy soils. This plant is also quite tolerant of soil pH.

Irrigation

Irrigate in order to keep the soil moist for the first few months, but without getting soaked. Well-developed plants can be irrigated more sparingly. Excess water in the soil can harm these plants.

Planting

Sow in the final location of the garden or in seedlings and other containers, and transplant about 1 month after germination, which usually takes a week or two, but can also be time-consuming and irregular. The seeds, which are small, should not be more than 0.5 cm deep in the soil. Alternatively, the seeds can be left on the surface of the soil, and can be covered only by a light layer of sieved soil or fine sawdust.

Catnip can also be propagated by dividing well-developed plants or by cutting, using the younger branches of a well-developed plant.

The spacing between the plants can be from 30 to 60 cm. Catnip can also be easily kept in large pots and bibs.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Intact plants do not usually attract cats, but plants that have been cut or their leaves rubbed can be destroyed by cats. Thus, this plant may need protection from cats, especially when it is still underdeveloped.

Harvest

Leaves and branches can be harvested when necessary on plants that have reached at least 20 cm in height. The leaves are most aromatic when flowering occurs. Although they can be dried to be stored for long periods, the aroma and flavor are more intense on fresh leaves and branches. The effect on cats is also greatest with fresh grass.

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