Catmint vs. Catnip

Cats love these plants! They are related to one another and found in many gardens.  Do you know what they are? 


Even though catnip and catmint are similar in many ways, they are two different plants.

Catmint

Also known by the Latin name Nepeta, Catnip is a resilient perennial that grows well in Niagara gardens. It is recommended to plant in average to well-drained soil, with a part-sunny exposure. Catmint is hardy enough to withstand the hot, dry Southern Ontario summer.  It shows silvery leaves and displays aromatic blue, pink, or white flowers in the fall and summer.  To encourage more flowers, deadhead throughout the season and cut back after first bloom.  They grow from 6”-3ft and 12-24” wide.

Catmint is a deer resistant plant, attracts birds, and can be used as cut flowers.

Catnip

Also known by the Latin name Nepeta Cataria, Catnip’s main differences from Catmint is that the shape of its leaves are different, the colour of the flower is only white, the height is a bit taller on the small side at 1-3 feet, and the flower blooms only in the summertime.  It is considered a herb;  found on windowsills and outdoor gardens. 

Bonus!  If you love having your cats around, but don’t like mosquitos, plant catnip near your patio or outdoor sitting area to for a pesticide-free solution to keeping those pesky insects away.

If you don’t want your cats in ALL your gardens, create a ‘cat-friendly’ garden plot! 

Cats often like to smell and eat the flowers. And, if cats could smile, you would see a big Cheshire grin on these cats as they frolic and roll around in these plants.  Since these plants can be known to seed freely and spread plant them in a raised bed, create a border to stop it from spreading too far, plant it in a wild area, or plant in a low and stable container.