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
How do you grow catnip without the cats stopping it before it grows
to a decent size like that?
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.
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.
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>
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.
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