-Catnip is a hardy perennial plant that grows 3 to 4 feet tall. The heart-shaped leaves are green above and gray below with purple flowers.
Catnip is from the mint family with plus or minus 72 species. Native to Europe, it now grows wild throughout the United States.
USDA Growing Zones: Zone 3a-9b
Catnip grows best in soil that is moist, sandy and well-drained; Catnip will grow in a variety of soil types with varying pH, in sun or shade.
Keep in mind that Catnip will grow aggressively in your garden as will other members of the Mint family. It is able spread by reseeding or by roots. Be aware that the mint Catnip may spread into other parts of your herb garden and could become a very invasive pest.
Catnip Propagation: Can be accomplished by seed, root division or plant cuttings.
Cut and hang the mature leafy tops and leaves of the catnip away from direct sunlight in an area with good air-flow. Your catnip should be dry within a week. If it takes longer than a week, the herb will begin to lose color and flavor.
In spite of what many websites say, DO NOT USE A MICROWAVE OVEN to dry catnip or any of your herbs!! It is the quickest path to a ruined harvest.
Consider the purchase of good a food dehydrator to be used as your herb drier. You will be able to control the heat at 90 degrees F. Your food dehydrator will also produce good air-flow to safely dry the catnip leaves and other herbs from your herb garden.
Storing catnip, like any other herb, in airtight containers in a cool and dry storage area.
Catnip, before catnip oil was first distilled, was used by the Romans in salads that used a mix of herbs and greens. In the Middle Ages, some used it against leprosy. But its most common use was as a tea to ease cold symptoms, its mint scent a comfort. Today, some people use the leaves in tea, as a meat tenderizer and even as a folk treatment for fevers, colds, cramps and migraines.
Catnip leaves and flowering heads have been used in teas as a sleeping aid or to ease digestion. In a hot infusion, catnip plant can promote sweating and thereby helps with colds, flu or childhood illnesses. Catnip is also believed to calm upset stomachs and counter diarrhea and flatulence.