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How To Grow Catmint Nepeta

May 18, 2022



If you’re looking for a perennial that is long-blooming, heat tolerant, and easy to grow, try catmint (or Nepeta). 

These plants are good for mass planting or edging and are suitable near vegetables as an insect deterrent — especially for aphids and Japanese beetles.

How To Grow

Grow catmint in sunny borders or raised beds in free-draining soil. The low spreading growth and soft color makes catmint ideal for underplanting rose bushes and it looks especially striking planted in groups or in long drifts.

Buy pot-grown plants at any time of year, although spring or autumn are ideal times to plant. Trim back faded stems to encourage more blooms during summer and once growth dies back in autumn, cut back to the ground before spring.

Catmint Blue Wonder Nepeta
Catmint Cats Meow Nepeta


The best times to plant catmint is in autumn or spring, although container-grown plants can be planted during summer so long as they’re kept watered during dry spells until established. Depending on the ultimate spread of the variety, space plants between 12 and 24 inches apart.


Once established, catmint is easy to grow and requires little care. Flowers are produced over a long period, but it’s a good idea to trim them back after blooming to keep the plant neat and to encourage more to form. Once growth dies back in late autumn, cut back the dead stems before new growth appears in spring.

The dead leaves are a favorite hibernation place for ladybirds so, if possible, delay cutting back until early spring. Catmint benefits from being divided every few years as flowering declines when plants form large, congested clumps.

Catmint Junior Walker Nepeta
Catmint Whispurr Pink Nepeta


Catmint can be used fresh, dried, or frozen for both culinary and herbal use. Harvest leaves as flowers begin to bloom, cutting the top leaves, stems, and flowers if desired. Spread out to dry in a cool, ventilated area and store the dried herb in an airtight container or bag to preserve its potency.

The leaves and shoots can be added to soups and sauces. Tea made from the leaves and flowers can be used for calming nerves and relieving coughs, congestion, and menstrual cramps.


Perennial Catmint ‘Nepeta’

Common NameBinomial Name LightHeightSpreadZone
Catmint ‘Blue Wonder’Nepeta racemosaSun, Part Shade9-18′12-18″3-8
Catmint ‘Cat’s Pajamas’Nepeta hybridSun12-14″18-20″3-8
Catmint ‘Cats Meow’Nepeta faasseniiSun17-20″2-3′3-8
Catmint ‘Whispurr Pink’Nepeta f.Sun24-28″18-22″4-9


Slugs can sometimes be attracted to larger leafed species, especially during the springtime. If you notice slugs lurking on your plants, you can handpick them in the evening, especially after wet weather.

You can also try baiting them with beer traps. Just fill a shallow cup with beer and sink it into a hole in the soil. The slugs will be attracted to the beer and fall in.

Spider mites may appear as tiny black dots on the foliage, causing affected leaves to become yellow and dry.

Whiteflies and aphids can potentially congregate on leaves and suck the sap from plants. Both of these pests secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can cause sooty mold to develop.

A strong stream of water can be sprayed on plants to remove these pests. If the problem is significant, you can also spray insecticidal soap on the leaves every couple of days until the infestation subsides.

Bumbleberry Sage Salvia


Keep an eye out for a few bacterial and fungal diseases that can affect nepeta plants as well.

Bacterial leaf spot, caused by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas, can impact plants during cool, wet weather. You may notice yellow ringed spots with red centers on foliage, and disfigured flowers. 

Splashing water can spread this disease, so avoid handling plants when they’re wet and limit overhead watering. Remove infected foliage, and in severe cases, remove and dispose of infected plants.

Caused by the Cercospora species of fungi, leaves with blight may develop small spots surrounded by yellow halos that brown over time, eventually causing foliage to wilt and drop. Infected plants should be removed and destroyed.

Always rotate crops if you can, and avoid planting catmint in places that have had issues with blight in the past.

Caused by a number of different pathogens, root rot can cause roots to soften and darken, ultimately causing stems to weaken, and plants to die.

There isn’t a good way to treat root rot, but you can greatly reduce risk by planting in a location with good drainage. Remove and dispose of infected plants.

Septoria leaf spot is a fungal disease caused by Septoria lycopersici. During very wet weather, circular spots with dark edges and gray centers may appear on older leaves, eventually causing leaf drop.

Avoid handling plants when they are wet, keep weeds down, and remove and dispose of infected foliage.