How To Grow Catnip From Seed Indoors
How To Grow Catnip From Seed Indoors: Your primary mission in life as a cat owner (according to your cats!) is to spoil them every day.
Growing catnip inside is an easy way to give your cat the attention she craves. The second rule in the cat owner’s Bible is to garden for your cat. Of course, the first guideline is to adore and adore all the time!
Catnip (Nepeta cataria), a mint family member, isn’t simply for cats. It’s a calming herb that tastes great in salads and savoury dishes and makes an excellent tea. Catnip is a mild sedative that works in the same way that chamomile does in humans.
Catnip, also known as catmint, is a perennial herb with unbranched leaves. It thrives in USDA winter hardiness zones 3-9 and makes a lovely container plant. Catmint blooms throughout the spring and summer and then dies in the winter.
The herb bears small, unnoticeable white blossoms. Catnip’s growth, like mint’s, is solely limited by the container in which it is placed. Plants grow into and out of the containers they are placed in.
Despite the fact that the plant is perennial, many individuals prefer to start a new plant every year to keep the growth under control. Growing catnip indoors is a simple project that all cat owners should consider. It will save you money and become your cat’s favourite pet for a short period of time.
Cats rarely attack or damage growing plants until the leaves are crushed or stroked, releasing a chemical that draws them and causes catnip fever, which is all too prevalent. Most cats aren’t interested in the plant when it’s first sprouting.
Of course, some cats are so enamoured with the plant that they will lie on it for hours.
Why Do Cats Love Catnip?
Catnip is well-known among our feline pals due to the presence of nepetalactone. When catnip leaves are rubbed or crushed, the essential oil is released, and the perfume serves as a warning signal to all around cats – a mild case of catnip fever!
The cats go mad when they smell the perfume and scamper around the neighbourhood like crazy. When catnip is ingested, however, the effect is exactly the opposite. After taking catnip, cats typically roll about, become calmer, and frequently shut down. Some cats, on the other hand, have the opposite reaction and become wild or vicious.
Catnip does not have the same effect on all cats. The sensitivity of a cat to catnip is hereditary, with just 50-60% of cats reacting. Kittens do not react to catnip because sensitivity does not appear until later in life.
Cats do not develop the catnip trait until they are between 3 and 6 months old. When you initially start giving your cats catnip, watch them see where they fall on the catnip sensitivity spectrum.
The effects of catnip typically last 1 to 2 hours, with the first 10 to 15 minutes being the most potent. Some cats have been known to overheat, but this is unusual. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t eat too much.
Catnip grows beautifully on a bright, sunny windowsill. Catnip requires little upkeep when grown indoors, making it a great houseplant for novices with a green thumb.
Don’t forget to incorporate catnip in your herb garden in the window. It’s an easy addition to any herb garden, both inside and out. This post will teach you how to make catnip so that you may make all of the cats in your house your best friends.
Indoors and outdoors, catnip has the same growing season. The plant’s growth decreases throughout the winter months as it goes dormant.
Catnip seeds grow best when they are stacked before planting. This may appear to be a challenging task, but it is actually rather simple. Place the seeds in a bag or tray and place them in the freezer overnight.
The next day, place them in a water dish and leave them for 12-24 hours. This technique reduces the natural protective covering of the seed, allowing it to germinate more quickly and reliably.
This approach of nurturing allows plants to grow faster and more successfully.
Use a pot that is at least 8 inches deep and 8 inches wide to allow for catnip development. Make certain that the pot’s bottom contains drainage holes. If your feline buddies get too excited and try to knock the container over, we strongly advise against using delicate containers (such as clay or ceramic).
Combine potting soil and water in a large mixing bowl until moist but not saturated.
Fill the container halfway with the potting soil mixture and press down lightly.
Sprinkle the catnip seeds on top of the dirt and gently press them in until lightly covered.
Place the pot or container in a warm, sunny, and well-lit location. The growth of luxuriant catnip necessitates the presence of light.
Keep the soil moist by spraying it with water every day, but don’t get it too wet.
The seeds will sprout in 8 to 15 days.
After the seedlings have germinated, reduce watering to every 4-7 days. Continue this procedure until the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall and well-established in their pot.
Water the plant every 7-12 days once it has established itself, or when the top inch of soil becomes slightly dry.
When the catnip has reached a height of 6-8 inches, begin harvesting by pinching off the leaves for your cat.
It is good for removing flower buds since it promotes leaf growth and spares the plant from expending energy on blossom production. Allow the blossoms to bloom and then clip them off as soon as they fade so they don’t go to seed if you want to enjoy them.
Reduce winter watering and allow the plant to go dormant.
Harvest from pots as needed during the growing season. This perennial plant will continue to grow if properly cared for.
Fresh and dried catnip are both popular among felines. You can get the plant’s leaves directly from it for your pet. To release the cat-friendly aroma, crush the leaves between your fingers.
Dried catnip is also tasty. Use a dehydrator or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the plant to dry in direct sunlight. Be prepared for a sudden influx of neighbourhood kittens if you dry catnip outside!
Dry catnip should be kept in a cool, dry area in an airtight container. Could you also put it in the fridge for optimum effect? The efficacy of the herb deteriorates over time. As a result, keep growing plants to replace your house’s supply of catnip.
The most difficult component of growing catnip indoors is making sure the plants get enough light. Plants require approximately six hours of direct sunlight per day to grow.
If you detect blossoms on the plant, remove them. The leaves will benefit by growing faster as a result of this. It will be appreciated by your feline buddies!
Keep your plants well-watered. Watering frequency is controlled by the plant’s location, however, the growing plant should be watered at least once a week. Watering can be done once the top layer of soil is completely dry.
The surface should be completely dry to the touch.
If you don’t have a windowsill or a sunny place, use grow lights. Indoor gardening frequently demands the addition of additional light sources, especially during the winter months. T5 fluorescent plant lights, as well as energy-saving LED lights, are ideal alternatives.
If your plant becomes lean, you should trim it. Alternatively, please wait until the plant has flowered before removing it, leaving around 3′′ in the pot. New growth will appear in a few weeks.
Catmint is susceptible to root rot, so water sparingly and only in pots or containers with drainage holes. It is advisable to water insufficiently rather than excessively. Avoid getting the soil too wet, as root rot is the major cause.
Propagation of catnip plants.
A single plant can provide the basis of an entire catnip garden (Nepeta cataria). Catnip grows swiftly from cuttings and seeds. Your feline pals think this is a fantastic idea! Your cat desires a catnip-filled kitchen garden.
At the start of the season, remove a little portion of the plant’s fresh sprout. To protect the plant, cut the stem using scissors.
Lightly bury the clipping in a pot or container filled with moist potting soil. You can start numerous new plants at once.
The plant, like all plants developed from seed, requires plenty of sunlight and regular hydration. Never, however, let the soil become too wet.
The catnip plants will be established whenever new growth appears and can be added to the watering routine of your existing plants.
Catnip isn’t only for cats.
Tea – Catnip tastes great when prepared in a teapot. Fresh and dried leaves both work well.
Salad: Toss fresh catnip leaves into a green salad for a unique flavour twist.
Pesto: Try replacing some of the basil leaves in pesto with catnip leaves.
Roasted vegetables: Finely chop catnip leaves and toss them into a vegetable marinade.
Finally, think about it.
If you have cats, you must have a catnip plant in the kitchen or on the windowsill (your cat informed me!). Every cat owner should keep several pots of catnip on hand. Growing catnip is a certain way to enrich your cat’s life, provide a unique culinary spice for people, and turn your home into a miniature garden.