How does catnip ever survive?

I thought it would be fun to grow some catnip and watch the cats play with it, so I planted a couple of small plants across from the front door. I understand the stuff can grow to 3-4' tall.
The problem is that the cats won't let it. One of them was pounded into the ground, it looked like some cat had been rolling around on it. The other was messed up but not as badly. And we have cats walking back and forth across the yard all day now, and we don't even own one.
So I put a wire screen around the plants to see if they could grow some. But it looks like one of them is still getting reached by the cats, right through the wire. The wire has about 2x4" holes, but I thought I circled it far enough from the plants so cats couldn't reach them.
How do you grow catnip without the cats stopping it before it grows to a decent size like that?
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- Mama Bear


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tomato cage or milk crate Directly seeded works better than set as the leaves are not bruised. Once established it will self sow all over the place.
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Direct seeding.
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Find a neat looking bird cage at a garage sale or flea market, throw away the bottom pan and put the cage over your catnip.
Jan
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We've had catnip for 30 years and it has endured our cats and neighbors cats. Nothing kills it. We wack it back severely every fall and it regenerates every Spring and endures another growing season's worth of abuse from the many cats who visit our herb garden. Ours has never grown very tall, but it appears that it would spread out to horizontally to infinity if we allowed it.
I'd suggest one of two things: 1) Let the cats enjoy it and let the plant adapt. 2) Toss some moth balls on the ground around the catnip if you are into catnip but not into cats.
In either case, you should be relatively pleased. Catnip is a very hardy plant.
Good luck, Gideon
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Ah, they don't like mothballs? I actually planted the catnip for the fun of seeing them come and enjoy it, but not before it grows well enough so they don't kill it.
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I think the short answer is plant a lot of it.
I put out a row about 10 feet long, and once Fluffy found it, the poor little plants didn't stand a chance. She determined that not only did the plants need to be grazed flush with the ground, but it was also a great place for rolling and naps.
I think once the plants establish a robust root system, they can take a bit more abuse, but they first have to survive long enough. Various screens or cages might help.
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yup, it can.

you don't have enough plants. i have 5 cats currently, 2 of which are the barn cats & stay outside (let's not start that outside cat thing again, ok? i have a farm & they're very good mousers). all my cats are catnip addicts, although some prefer dried to fresh. i have catnip all over the place. it reseeds with abandon, plus it's perennial.

you'd be amazed what they'll do for thier catnip 'fix' :) try chicken wire or hardware cloth & make a box to cover the plant with about 2' around in all dimentions. a small cat like my Fianna could squeeze through 2" x 4" wire (but Fianna prefers her catnip dried. her brother, Rudh, is a fresh catnip fan. best place to nap, you know)

seriously, there's a lot of truth to the old wive's tale about sowing catnip seed if you want to actually grow it, because the cats *do* tend to decimate transplants (unless you're willing to put in quite a number of them). catnip from seed just quietly grows. transplanting releases the oils in the leaves & every cat for miles will know what you did. lee <Rudh loves when i mow over catnip>
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Ok, next spring I'll sow a packet of it. :)
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says...

Think larger. 3 packets failed to survive my 1 cat.
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Do they sell it by the pound? :)
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Mama Bear wrote:

Sure! Those dogs are sneaky!
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wrote:

http://www.johnnyseeds.com /
By the ounce, $6.30; by the pound, $49. Their site says there are 48,000 seeds per ounce.
Somehow, I think it might be easier to go with the birdcage suggestion!
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says...

yup, Johnny's Selected seeds does. i suspect any herbal seed company also will. it's a good relaxing tea for humans. don't sow all the seeds in one place. plant them in different spots around the garden/yard. catnip appreciates lots of sun, but will grow in lightly shaded areas. if all else fails, buy a pound of dry catnip & sprinkle that around away from your seedlings. lee
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