Nepeta cataria or catnip is one of the best herbs to grow. Usually, people choose to grow catnip indoors because it has a small size like shrubs. Its strong scent like mint has a benefit to repel some mosquitoes in your house. Here is the guide to let this spice grow well.
- 1 Catnip Growing Tips
- 2 How to Grow Catnip Indoors
- 3 Do’s and Don’t of Growing Catnip
- 4 Disease and Pests
- 5 Harvest and Preserve Catnip Indoors
Catnip Growing Tips
Like other herbs, catnip doesn’t need extra effort to be maintained. You can grow catnip indoors and get the best result. But, there are several things that you need to prepare before you grow it.
As long as the soil quality is good and rich in organic, this herb can grow well. Choose the well-drained soil like loamy sand to prevent the rot of root. If you find the soil is too dry, you need to mix it first with some compost before planting.
Since you grow catnip indoors, you don’t need the strong fertilizer. The weak one is also good for them. Choose the liquid one during the growing season. It’s easy to use and absorb well too. Give it once every two-weeks.
Because you put the catnip indoor, this plant has to get exposure by placing the container near the window. The plant needs at least 5 hours of sunlight during the day. Like growing oregano indoors, if it doesn’t get the light, the growth won’t be good, spindly and leggy.
When you grow catnip indoors, the amount of water isn’t as much as outdoors. The soul must be moist from average to medium. The container has some holes as drainage is a must. Too dry soil makes the leaves wilted, meanwhile too wet makes the root rot.
How to Grow Catnip Indoors
1. Decide the place to grow
Since it’s planted indoors, you need to decide which container that will be used to grow it. You can choose beautiful pots, the light-medium plastic is preferable. So you can move the post easily like going to the sink for watering and bringing it back to the permanent location.
Another option is a container from used items. Seek the items in your kitchen. If you have container from plastic or aluminum, you can use them. But make the drainage holes first. The, find the plant saucer that fits the container to prevent the soil and water excess from the holes.
2. Choose the location
The perfect spot to grow catnip indoors is next to the window. It needs at least five-hour-light to grow well, especially if you live in the North. In the day light, make sure the window doesn’t have the shade. Check the plant regularly because the light might evaporate the moist of the soil. Check out some plants for your window garden.
3. Start to plant
After the containers, prepare the others such as soil, compost, plant saucer, and the seed or cutting. Mix the soil and the compost with ratio 2:1. After that, put the soil inside the container. Poke the soil and place the cutting. Don’t get too deep. The, put the container on the plant saucer.
If you start with the seeds, you can sow them in another post first. Provide them with sunlight or the lamp above the pot. As they’re germinating, water them properly. The best time to grow catnip indoors form seed in spring or fall.
Do’s and Don’t of Growing Catnip
1. Don’t be over-watering
Too much water will increase the possibility of rot, especially the root part. If the plant has grown, water the plant buy spraying the water on the leaves. Let the water drop to the soil. This method prevents from over-watering. If the soil has been moist, end it.
2. Do the removing deadhead
After it blooms, you might find out that some leaves have died or turned into yellow. Pick them all to promote the new growth. If you do it consistently, the plant will be bushier than before. Do it gently so you won’t damage the other parts.
3. Avoid from your cat
If you grow catnip indoors and have a cat, it’s probably hard. Catnip can attract your cat. So, you need to find a proper place where your cat can’t reach the pots. You can place it on high desk, so your cat won’t jump into it easily.
4. Do the recycling soil
The problem like fungus might attack the plants. Sometimes, spraying them isn’t a solution. You need to recycle the soil once you find this problem. Fungus can live there and wait to attack the plant again. Wash the pot first with soap. This is the best way to grow catnip indoors.
Disease and Pests
Even though you grow catnip indoors, pest attack might occur especially if you open the window next to the pot. Some of them are spider mites, flea beetles, and thrips. They usually attack the leaves by chewing them and turning them into yellow and brown.
The best way to prevent the pest is spraying the plant with insecticidal soap. It doesn’t contain harmful material, you the leaves stay safe to be eaten. Spray the plants in the afternoon or night because the watery-soap won’t evaporate easily because of the light.
Fungal disease is possible when you grow catnip indoors. The name of the fungal is cercospora. The sign that your catnip is attacked is yellow spot on the leaves. Over the time, the spots turn grey and leaves drop. The fungal also spreads easily.
How to prevent this problem happening? Fungal can be caused by watering the plant. The best time to do it is in the morning, so the plants won’t get wet. To minimize the fungal can use the copper fungicidal. Rotating the soil is also a help since the fungus love to live there.
Harvest and Preserve Catnip Indoors
This plant grows quickly. You only need to wait at least two until three months to get the bushes. Once they’re ready to harvest, cut the stem near the soil. Or you can pick the fresh leaves if you want to regrow some leaves for the next harvest.
The best time to harvest is in mid-season. You’ll see the flower when you grow catnip indoors though it’s not as many as outdoors. Let the dew dry first before harvest. Do it in the morning to get the fresh and best flavor.
Storing catnip is easy. Dry herbs vs herbs won’t be a problem for both. You can place the leaves in a sealed bag then put them in a refrigerator to extend the freshness and life. If you love the dried catnip, hang the leaves in a cool place. After that, store them in a jar and avoid the sunlight exposure.
Choosing to grow catnip indoors is an excellent way if you don’t have any garden at home. This herb is compatible to live indoors and controllable. But be careful if you have kittens or cat because this plant can attract that animal.