Catnip is a fantastic plant to grow indoors, and even better when you have a feline friend to share it with. Catnip is a relatively easy plant to grow, and does so quickly. While it can be grown both indoors and outdoors we’ll be focusing primarily on indoor and container growing. Many of these tips however are applicable regardless of where you grow, so you can apply them to your outdoor garden as well. With that in mind, let’s jump right in and learn how to grow catnip indoors.
Catnip can be potted in a wide range of containers and do perfectly fine. It can be contained to a small windowsill container, but will quickly grow to fill large containers as well. Look to purchase a gardening pot of the size of plant you wish to grow and the catnip will grow to fill it.
When potting, you can start with seeds or seedlings, but you also have the option to take cuttings. This is a great way to start a fresh plant each year as you can simply take a bit of an existing plant and repot it. Give the cutting water and sunlight, and it will quickly blossom into a full grown plant. We’ll talk about taking a cutting later on in this article.
While catnip is a perennial plant, many gardeners find it best to repot it each year, usually using a cutting from the previous year’s plant. This helps keep the plant strong and healthy. You don’t have to do this, but it can help keep your plant healthy year to year.
Lastly, as always, go with a high quality potting soil. Look for one that is well draining and your catnip plant will thank you for it. Most commercial potting soils will work, but you can also use herb specific mixes, either option will work.
Catnip likes a good amount of light, but can do well in moderate light conditions as well. Look to get at least 5+ hours of bright sunlight, or around 8 hours of indirect sunlight. These are minimums to look for though, and a bit more will only help your plant.
If you notice your plant is looking leggy, it has long, weak stems, then it is not getting enough light. This is the plant’s natural response as it tries to “reach” for more light. The solution is simply to give it more light, and potentially add support to weak stems while it regains strength. You can also utilize a grow light which can help supplement lacking natural light.
Watering and Feeding
Catnip plants enjoy being watered frequently, but don’t like sitting in moist soil. An ideal situation is watering every few days, while also providing well draining soil so that it doesn’t sit in too much water or soggy soil. Check that the top inch or so of the soil is dry every other day and water if it is. Do so until you see water begin to leak out of the drainage holes on your container. This is a good indicator that you have thoroughly saturated the soil.
Catnip is fairly resistant to droughts and wilting, and can spring back quickly even if it doesn’t receive water for some time. This gives you a little bit of wiggle room, and you should look underwater rather than overwater. You’re much more likely to harm this plant with too much water rather than too little.
For feeding, use a blanched fertilizer and look to do so every 3-4 weeks during the growing season. For those in cooler climates you can stop fertilizing in late fall into winter, and then pick up again in the spring. This isn’t strictly necessary, especially if you’re planning on re-planting a new cutting each year, but can help spur extra growth during the spring/summer months.
Pruning and Harvesting
It’s best to regularly clip off the leaves of the plant as this will encourage future growth. Simply take a sharp pair of scissors and cut off the leaves of the plant as your see fit. When doing so, never take more than about 1/3 of the plant in one session to ensure the plant has enough strength to recover. You can do this as much as you like, giving a week or two in between harvest/prunings.
You should also be on the lookout for budding stems that will lead to flowering. This flowering, or bolting, takes a lot of energy and will reduce the speed at which your plant grows. For fastest growth, make sure to pinch these off as you see them.
How To Take Catnip Cuttings
Catnip is very easy to grow from cuttings, and many gardeners will start the spring off by taking a fresh cutting to grow. Start by taking a small cutting about 2-3” in length from some new growth of your catnip in the spring. Then, place this into a container with fresh potting soil. Some gardeners will opt to add rooting hormone, but this isn’t strictly necessary.
Then, give the fresh cutting a healthy dose of water and place it in an area that gets indirect light. You don’t want to give the young plant intense, direct sunlight yet as this can burn it out. After several weeks, you should notice new growth and begin to follow standard care. That’s all there is too it, easy right?
How To Grow Catnip Indoors
Catnip is an easy herb to grow and is a great choice for any gardener with a cat or otherwise. In many cases, that will be the biggest challenge; keeping your cat from getting to the plant! Properly cared for though, catnip will grow quickly and easily for many years.
How To Grow Catnip Indoors FAQ
Can You Grow Catnip Indoors?
Yes, catnip is a relatively easy plant to grow both indoors and outdoors. It is a herb, and shares common characteristics with other popular herbs including a quick and easy growth cycle. This makes it a great option for any level of gardener, and its small space requirements mean you can grow it almost anywhere.
How Difficult is Catnip To Grow?
Catnip is relatively easy to grow provided enough light. It also comes back from wilting quickly so can take a bit of forgetfulness on the part of the gardener. The hardest part for many people is keeping their cat away from it.
How Long Does Catnip Grow For?
Catnip is a perennial, and therefore can grow for many years if properly cared for. For indoor growth, many will repot it with cuttings from the previous year’s plant to ensure strong growth.
Can You Move Catnip Outdoors In Summer?
Yes! Catnip does quite well outdoors, and will often have a much more potent taste when give outdoor light. You can even leave your catnip outdoors in the winter; it will die back but will come back once spring rolls around. Catnip overwinters quite well in the majority of climates.