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Xela's Garden


Genus: Nepeta.

Species: Nepeta cataria.

This is the true catmint (not nepeta mussinii, which is often referred to as Catmint) and a wild mint. The plant has greyish leaves which are woolly underneath, and white-purple flowers in summer. Cats adore the plant for some reason, rolling in it and even eating it. Pollinated by bees and butterflies. Found in the wild in hedgerows and wasteland.

Nepeta comes from the town Nepete in Italy, where Catmint was cultivated.

Catmint has many medicinal uses, including relieving childhood colic, reducing fever in cough remedies, and treatment of piles. It was also used as a tranquilliser in ancient Rome, so a very old plant. It is also reputed to provide one with courage - folk lore has it that hangmen used to chew Catmint roots for this reason before a hanging. It has also been drunk to relieve headache. In the Middle Ages, Catmint was rubbed on to meat before cooking. Catmint tea is good for nausea and diarrhoea. Add to bath for skin irritation. Catmint reduces fever, induces sleep and perspiration and has been drunk to relieve headache.

Use with rose petals in love sachets. It was once believed that smoking the leaves would produce a mild hallucinogenic effect. Catmint can calm agitated children and diminish nightmares.

"It is much commended of some, if the juice thereof be drunke with wine, to help those that are bruised by some fall or other accident", John Parkinson, 1629.

To produce a second flush of flowers, cut back hard after flowering.

Dried Catmint leaves can be stuffed into toys to keep kittens and cats amused! Catmint is also said to repel rats so put up bunches where you rats are not welcome.

Hardy Herbaceous Perennial

* Flowers: June - Sept
* Germination : Easy
* Aftercare : Easy
* Ideal for : Borders, Edging
* Special Features : Edible Flowers, Flowers in 1st Year, Scented
* Height : 36 inches

Photos of this plant

Reminders for this plant

Due over 15 years ago:


Remove cover when seedlings appear.
Germination takes 14-28 days

Prick out

when large enough to handle prick out 2" apart in trays.

Due about 15 years ago:

Harden off

Stand outside for a few days after last frosts.


Plant out 12" apart in final flowering position

Due about 11 years ago:


cut back hard after flowering (in summer) to produce a second flush of flowers,.