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It’s Called Catmint for a Reason!

May 25th, 2011

I have a large number of ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint (Nepeta x fassennii ‘Walker’s Low’) in the garden. It’s a beautiful plant, so easy and carefree to grow. Contrary to what you might think, the name does not imply that it is a small plant, it’s named for a place in England. I have a few mature plants that are about 3 ft square each.

Catmint is a tough as nails. It takes just about any kind of soil but thrives in those dry areas where other plants might languish. ‘Walker’s Low’ doesn’t reseed so you don’t have to worry about invasiveness, although it’s very easy to propagate with cuttings if you want more plants. (from what I understand other varieties of catmint may reseed, but I don’t have any so I can’t say first hand if they do). This plant is also unpalatable to deer, which is a huge bonus here at Chiot’s Run.

This plant is also fabulous because it looks good all summer long. With a little pruning it will bloom from spring to frost. It’s carefree, bugs don’t bother it much, bees and other beneficials love it! The only pests that will bother your catmint plant are CATs! It’s called catmint for a reason. I find our outdoor cats sleeping in it all the time. Small branches are also brought in for the indoor cats as well, who spend hours rolling on them on the floor.

I like this plant so much I would love to acquire a few other versions of catmint like ‘Six Hills Giant’, ‘Dawn to Dusk’, and ‘Little Titch’ which is a dwarf variety that I think would make a fabulous ground cover.

Catmint isn’t just a pretty face in the garden, it’s an herb that can be used medicinally for a wide variety of ailments from arthritis to menstrual cramps. I dry a lot of it for tea as it’s calming, helping ease stress, anxiety and insomnia – it’s perfect for nighttime tea. Since it had natural antibiotic properties, it’s also said to help when you have the flu or a cold. I’ve also read that it can help with arthritis since it’s an anti-inflammatory. I mostly use it for evening teas along with chamomile and mint from the garden.

Do you grow catmint in your garden? Do you use it medicinally?

22 Comments to “It’s Called Catmint for a Reason!”
  1. Sue on May 25, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I grow Nepeta and agree-it’s just a wonderful plant. I don’t use it medicinally, but may try it for tea. The smell is so nice.

    Reply to Sue's comment

  2. Heather on May 25, 2011 at 6:42 am

    It also seems to be a mosquito repelling plant! Have you noticed that effect?

    Reply to Heather's comment

  3. Melissa on May 25, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I just planted some catnip the other day. I hope mine will turn out as big and beautiful as yours! Those blooms are lovely. I don’t have any cats but I couldn’t resist the velvety feel of the leaves!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  4. Dave on May 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I’ve been a big fan of catmint for years now! I’ve never noticed a cat lounging in ours but there are quite a few cats that pass by on a regular basis through our yard. A great plant for attracting bees and pollinators.

    Reply to Dave's comment

  5. Annie on May 25, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I grow catmint and catnip both but only use the ‘nip medicinally. To me, it is much stronger but makes a great tea for insomnia, as you say. I like the mint because it behaves it’s self well and doesn’t spread but have to corral the ‘nip a bit because it reseeds it’s self so readily. I love them both for various reasons but my cat distinctly prefers the ‘nip.

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  6. Daedre Craig on May 25, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I have catmint ‘Blue Ice’. It’s a dwarf with very pale blue-white flowers. Very pretty.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  7. Margaret on May 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I do grow Catmint. I have awful clay soil and I am the watering system. Catmint is forgiving of poor soil, high heat and low water. I’m not sure what kind I have. My cats do not love it like yours do. They will get into the cat nip, but usually only when I am working next to it and release scent. The one plant they all love to get into is my Love In The Mist, not sure why they love it so. I have to stick branches in close together through out some of the plants to keep them from crushing all the flowers.

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  8. Three on Grove on May 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    How do you make your tea? Just pull the leaves and dry them? Sounds interesting! We have cat mint, but I have never used it for anything other than being pretty in the garden!

    Reply to Three on Grove's comment

    • Susy on May 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Yep, cut the leaves and the flowers and dry. I usually mix them with chamomile and mint for tea. Sometimes I add ginger as well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Brenda on May 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    You cat looks so happy and content

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  10. Vivian on May 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    What is the difference between the “mint” and the “nip”? I always buy the catnip plants for my kitties but they usually chew it down to nubs and it doesn’t come back. I have to plant mine in containers as we don’t have a yard (live in the upper level of a condo). They love it!!!

    Reply to Vivian's comment

    • Susy on May 28, 2011 at 7:26 am

      Catmint ‘Nepeta x fassennii’ has a mounding growth habitat with purple flowers, the leaves are bluish and fuzzy. Catmint also has a nice lemony herby scent.

      Catnip ‘Nepeta cataria’ has a taller more vigorous plants that can get kind of scraggly. I blooms with basil type blooms with pink white flowers and has a musky type scent.

      They both contain the same ingredient (from what I read) that makes cat go crazy – but catnip contains more than catmint. If you can’t keep a catnip plant going in the garden you might be able to keep a catmint. They do love the plant, but they don’t seem to eat it as much – our cats just like to roll in it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. judym on May 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I’ve always been hesitant about any kind of mint but this sounds ideal for our garden. Since we’ve put up a fence for a horse (Jason’s) the deer have found another way through the property – straight through the garden! I think I will try some as a deterent. Thanks for the info.

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  12. Elisabeth Putnam on June 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Something sleeps in the middle of our catmint each year, creating a crater. I suppose it might be a cat, but we never see one in our yard or neighbors’ yards. Is there any other critter that might do so?

    Reply to Elisabeth Putnam's comment

    • Susy on June 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      Maybe, but it probably is a cat. I find holes in the middle of ours long before I catch our cats sleeping in them.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Trisha on May 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

      It is probably a raccoon. i have one that keeps flattening my catmint every night..

      Reply to Trisha's comment

  13. Darren on July 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    We have 3 big plants in 2 of our beds, neighbor cats keep wandering by, munch on and roll around in for a few minutes. Our cat, Lucky, just loves it, we take some of her toys and rub them around in the catmint!!

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  14. Linda on October 9, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I bought walker’s low catmint and placed it in front of my hydrangea to deter dear and produce a contrast color. The deer have not munched on my limelights yet.

    Reply to Linda's comment

  15. Cooper D. Rothschild on December 31, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I’ve found it hard to grow- perhaps because cats or deer eat it but yes it makes a great tea. I can’t remember which kind of Catmint it was but I’m going to try growing it again.

    Reply to Cooper D. Rothschild's comment

  16. Karl on May 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    My cat loves catmint.
    I learned to grow it in my terrace, in two pots, so one is available for him, while the other one still growing.
    I like to please my feline friend! :-)

    Reply to Karl's comment

  17. Carol on August 10, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Love catmint! Is it considered a nitrogen fixing plant? Thanks.

    Reply to Carol's comment

    • Susy on August 25, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Doesn’t really fix nitrogen. If you’re looking to fix nitrogen with a perennial consider false indigo.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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