Physical Characteristics Perennial growing to 1m by 0.6 m.
It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to November, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
It is noted for attracting wildlife. We rate it 3 out of 5 for usefulness. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil.
It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.
Habitats and Possible Locations Hedgerow
Edible Uses Condiment; Leaves; Tea. Young leaves - raw.
A mint-like flavour, they make an aromatic flavouring in salads. Older leaves are used as a flavouring in cooked foods.
They can be used fresh or dried to make an aromatic herb tea. The tea should be infused in a closed container in order to preserve the essential oils, boiling is said to spoil it.
Medicinal Uses: Disclaimer Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Astringent; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Emmenagogue; Nervine; Refrigerant; Sedative; Stimulant; Stomachic; Tonic.
Catmint has a long history of use as a household herbal remedy, being employed especially in treating disorders of the digestive system and, as it stimulates sweating, it is useful in reducing fevers. The herbs pleasant taste and gentle action makes it suitable for treating colds, flu and fevers in children. It is more effective when used in conjunction with elder flower (Sambucus nigra).
The leaves and flowering tops are strongly antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, slightly emmenagogue, refrigerant, sedative, slightly stimulant, stomachic and tonic.
The flowering stems are harvested in August when the plant is in full flower, they are dried and stored for use as required. An infusion produces free perspiration, it is considered to be beneficial in the treatment of fevers and colds. It is also very useful in the treatment of restlessness and nervousness, being very useful as a mild nervine for children. A tea made from the leaves can also be used. The infusion is also applied externally to bruises, especially black eyes. Other Uses Essential; Herbicide; Pot-pourri; Repellent. The plant is said to deter insects such as ants and flea beetles as well as rats and mice. (The idea behind it being a rat repellent is probably based on the plants attraction to cats, see notes above.) A strong infusion can be used to repel fleas from carpets or the fur of animals. An extract from the leaves (called nepetalactone) has herbicidal and insect repellent properties. The freshly harvested flowering tops contain 0.3-1% essential oil by distillation.
It is mainly used for medicinal purposes. The dried leaves retain their fragrance and can be used in pot-pourri. Cultivation details Easily grown in a light sandy soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in heavier soils if the drainage is very good. Plants are hardy to about -25°C. Catmint emits a scent that is irresistible to many cats, who will then avidly attack the plant. The smell is said to be similar to certain cat hormones and is more effective with male cats. Quite often a cat will completely destroy even a fairly large plant, small plants especially might need protection until well established. Sometimes grown in the herb garden, there are some named varieties.
Citriodora has lemon-scented leaves that are more attractive to people and less attractive to cats. If the plants are cut back hard when they are flowering a second crop of leaves will be produced. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.
Catmint is a good companion plant to grow in the garden. It is said to repel various cabbage pests, aphis (including peach aphis), flea beetles, cucumber beetles, squash bugs and ants from plants they grow near to. The flowers are very attractive to bees.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in the autumn. The germination of spring sown seed can be erratic, it is best sown in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. The seed remains viable for about 5 years. A fast-growing plant, the seedlings can reach flowering size in their first year. If you have sufficient freshly ripe seed then it is well worth trying a sowing outdoors in situ in the autumn.
Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Basal cuttings in late spring or early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8-10 cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well.
Plant them out in the summer.
Котовник лимонный - Nepeta cataria ssp. citrina.
Многолетнее растение с лимонным запахом и пряно-горьким вкусом, высотой 40-120 см. Посев в середине мая на глубину 1-2 см. Цветёт в июле-августе.
Обладает острым приятным запахом, напоминающим лимонный запах мелиссы. Это растение называют ещё Кошачьей мятой, потому что его сильный аромат привлекает кошек так же, как и запах валерианы...
В морозные зимы может подмерзать, но легко восстанавливается, поскольку даёт обильный самосев.
Eng.: Catnip, catmint, catnep. Suom.: Aitokissanminttu, kissanminttu. Sven.: Kattmynta. Pharm.: herba catariae, herba nepetae. Bot. syn.: Cataria vulgaris Moench.