What Are the Best Tips for Planting Catnip Seeds?

L. Whitaker
L. Whitaker
The catnip herb can grow up to 4 feet high.
The catnip herb can grow up to 4 feet high.

When planting catnip seeds, the best results can be achieved through the use of proper seed preparation, adequate spacing between seed rows, and appropriate watering. As the first step, a process of freezing and refreezing catnip seeds will allow them to germinate more easily. Transplanting seedlings several inches apart in a garden bed, then thinning seedlings as necessary after they have produced two sets of leaves will help produce prime growing results. Keeping catnip seeds moist with a mister, rather than overwatering, is one key to success with these plants indoors or outdoors.

To fully prepare catnip seeds for germination, it helps to break down the tough seed coating. One way to achieve this goal is by putting seeds in a plastic baggie in the freezer for one month. Next, let the seeds thaw completely, and then freeze them for one additional month. Finally, let the seeds thaw again overnight by immersing them in warm water.

Nepeta cataria, sometimes known as catmint, can grow up to 4 feet (120 cm) high. The spacing of plants is important for successful growth. Ideally, plant catnip seeds with about 15 inches (38 cm) between rows. Transplant the seedlings outdoors to a sunny bed after the last spring frost, allowing a spacing of about 20 inches (50.8 cm) between plants.

It is important to be aware that any cats in the area are likely to be attracted to these plants, so avoid placing catnip directly adjacent to delicate plants that could be easily damaged. One way to avoid the interference of cats is to place the catnip in a hanging basket that cannot be reached by felines. Some sources indicate that birds, butterflies, and bees are also attracted to flowering catnip.

If growing catnip seeds indoors, place them initially in a warm location, such as a windowsill out of direct sunlight. When sprouts appear, move the pot to a sunnier windowsill. It is said that indoor catnip will grow best if gently stimulated with an oscillating fan for a couple of hours each day.

Catnip thrives on moist but not soggy soil. It is best to use frequent misting to maintain an appropriate level of water for catnip plants. Avoid soaking the soil. Appropriate soil alternatives for catnip seeds can include coco peat, perlite, rockwood, or vermiculite. Catnip prefers a soil pH of approximately 6.4 but will do well within a range of slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.

Like any mint, catnip will spread quickly. This can be avoided by planting potted catnip in the garden bed with soil to the rim of the pot, in order to contain its spread. Catnip will self-seed if flowers are not deadheaded. It can also be propagated via cuttings or by dividing the rootballs.

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Discussion Comments


The biggest issue I had when I first planted catnip was keeping cats out of it until the plant grew large enough. I had to put wiring around it in the garden because my cats and the neighborhood cats were rolling around in it. Some of the buds got destroyed that way.


@SarahGen-- How long it takes for seeds to sprout depends on the soil, amount of sunlight and the amount of water the seeds are getting. Like the article said, catnip seeds have a tough coating, so it can take a while for sprouting to take place. Make sure that your pot is by the window and getting enough sunlight. Don't water it too much and make sure that the room is not too cold.

If your friend has fresh catnip in the garden, you can also ask for a cutting. Catnip grows perfectly well from cuttings also.


My friend gave me some catnip seeds recently. I planted them in a pot inside because I heard that it can easily take over a garden. I want to grow it for my cat who loves catnip.

It has been a week, but I'm not seeing any sprouts. I thought that it takes about five days for the seeds to sprout. Am I wrong?

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    • The catnip herb can grow up to 4 feet high.
      The catnip herb can grow up to 4 feet high.