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Catmint

Katzenminze bei Lubera kaufenThe most striking feature of catnip is the strong scent of its leaves. If you rub a leaf lightly between two fingers, a mild, difficult todescribe and yet very intense smell rises into your nose. With its relatively small flowers, catnip may initially seem inconspicuous, but it takes on a not to be underestimated role in the perennial flowerbed. With elegant restraint, the catnip highlights the magnificent shrubs that surround it and supports the overall design effect.

Catnip from the Lubera Garden Shop

Catnip belongs to the mint family, which includes well-known garden plants such as sage. Overall, there are over 250 different species of the genus Nepeta , the botanical name of catnip. They bloom in classic blue-violet colours and also sometimes in pink or white. Originally they came from southern Europe and Asia. If you would like to buy catnip, you will find a wide selection in the Lubera garden shop.

   
 
   
 

Catnip for your health

Catnip is not only ornamental, but it is also a medicinal plant. In folk medicine, the contained essential oils were very effective against colds. In addition, the leaves can be chewed for the relief of a toothache.  The leaves of the traditional catnip (Nepeta cataria) can also be used to brew tea, which can be antispasmodic.  If you grow real catnip in your own garden you will have no need to buy dried leaves from the health store. Particularly recommended for the preparation of tea are the leaves of the variety `White Melissa`, which has a pleasant lemony fragrance. It blooms white-pink and is prolific! Because of its diverse healing properties, catnip has always been found in many monastery gardens and later conquered its place in the traditional cottage garden.

Flowers from blue to white

Depending on the variety, catnip blooms between May and September. It has an upright and compact habit. In addition to low growing varieties such as Nepeta racemosa `Snowflake`, which is only about 30 cm high, there are also higher catnip varieties available such as Nepeta x faassenii, one of the much-used classics. The variety `Six Hills Giant` grows up to 90 cm high and is characterised by its good stability and very long flowering period. It has slightly furry leaves and, like all catnip, it attracts bees. An attractive bedding plant is Nepeta nervosa `Blue Moon`, the catnip that has veined, grey-green leaves. With its lanceolate, very delicate foliage, it has a lavender-like appearance.

Catnip is the ideal companion for roses, but also for perennials such as torch lily (red hot poker), iris or daylily.

Soils from dry to fresh

Grey-leaved varieties like a warm location in the full sun.  The soil should be permeable and can also be somewhat barren. The green foliage types, on the other hand, prefer fresher soils. They like sunny beds, but they do not like being exposed to excessive heat. Generally, catnip grows well in pots and can also be used on terraces or balconies.

Why do cats love Nepeta?

Anyone who buys catnip and places it in his or her garden will attract cats. Above all, tomcats succumb to the scent that the catnip plants exude. This is due to certain contents of the leaves, which are similar to a substance excreted by female animals. Their effect can be so euphoric that the cats lie down in the middle of the plants and sometimes nibble the leaves. This can make our four-legged friends a little bit of a nuisance in the garden. Especially with young plants, it may therefore be advisable in cat-rich areas to protect them with a wire mesh until they are a little higher and more robust. The smell of catnip attracts not all animals equally: many insects do not like it, so this perennial hardly has any pests.

Easy to grow

Anyone who consistently cuts back catnip plants immediately after flowering not only supports the compact growth habit, but at the same time ensures that, with a bit of luck, it will blossom again in late summer. Pruning can also be used selectively for those varieties that are prolific. Their spreading can be contained where necessary.

Varieties such as Nepeta x faassenii do not sow themselves. If you still want to propagate the plant, do so in the spring or autumn with cuttings. You can also buy seeds of different catnip varieties. Sowing should take place from March to April on a windowsill or later directly in the garden. Whether you buy catnip as a seed plant or sow it yourself, it is an all-rounder that fits in any garden!

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