Growing catnip indoors is an easy activity. This plant belongs to the mint family, so indoor gardeners should have no problems propagating or caring for it.
Still, paying attention to the details of cultivating any herb is necessary, and for that reason, you must learn a few things about catnip before growing it.
This article will serve as your complete guide on how to grow catnip indoors. It includes all the key information you should focus on.
1- Growing Catnip Indoors – Plant Care
Catnip can grow in many types of soil. However, you should avoid clay or sandy soil, especially that you will most likely grow the herb in containers.
The best soil to use in this case is a well-drained potting mix that has a moderate amount of nutrients.
Miracle-Gro and Fox Farm potting mixes, for example, are suitable to grow catnip because they have a very firm texture that keeps water and oxygen levels balanced and enable roots to expand.
Remember, in no case should you go for cheap soil brands full of pests and diseases.
Although catnip can grow well under partial sun, it will become spindly, weak and ill if it doesn’t get the least amount of light it needs.
Some indoor gardeners have a hard time providing catnip with the required supply of sunlight, but many others have figured out how to do so easily.
Catnip will grow where the sun shines for at least 4 hours. So, it’s essential first to measure the number of hours of sunlight that your windows receive per day.
In case you can’t find a window that provides your herb with the minimum amount of light, use a grow light to fill the deficit.
Grow lights, such as full-spectrum LEDs, are affordable, easy-to-use, and widely available today.
Catnip is a drought-tolerant herb that requires moderate amounts of water for optimal growth. This characteristic enables the herb to grow in many environments.
But, when your catnip lives in a pot, the demand for water is automatically increased. The shallowness of the soil in a container restrains it from storing water for long periods of time. You need to water your catnip every time the potting soil becomes dry.
Remember that you should also maintain good drainage. If the levels of moisture surrounding the roots become high enough, your catnip will be at risk of rotting.
To ensure proper drainage, make sure that the pot has enough pores at the bottom to keep the volume of trapped water under control.
The herb prefers moderate temperatures, but it’s good at handling extreme ones as well.
Catnip can manage frosty conditions pretty well. At the same time, the herb’s drought-tolerance allows it to withstand heat for prolonged periods.
But since you’re growing the plant inside, it won’t be exposed to extreme weather and will most probably grow at its optimal temperature.
Using fertilizers for catnip is unnecessary. In fact, fertilizers can change the ratios of essential oils within the plant, which may affect its smell and taste.
You must change the soil of the pot every few months for several important reasons.
The potting soil has a limited quantity of nutrients that the plant will ultimately use up. Also, the texture of potting soil changes and becomes less water-draining with prolonged use.
If you keep your catnip in the same potting soil for a long time, it will stop growing and eventually die.
Repot your plant just by changing the soil without transferring it to a new container in case there’s no need for that.
Catnip is a fast-growing herb, particularly under the soil, so you will need to transplant it at some point during its growth. Proper transplanting keeps your catnip from becoming root-bound.
Whenever you think that the plant has become big for its pot, transfer it to a new container which should be at least double the size of the old one.
Note that you should only change the pot once the plant outgrows it. Excessive transplanting can exhaust your catnip.
2- Growing Catnip Indoors – Plant Propagation
· From Seeds
Growing catnip from seeds is reliable and productive.
Start first by getting the seeds. You can find them in your local plant stores and nurseries, or on online stores, such as Amazon.
Once you buy the seeds, stratify them before sowing. Stratification of catnip seeds boosts their germination rate.
You can stratify seeds by placing them in a ziplock bag with sand and a few drops of water, then transferring them to the freezer for two to three weeks.
Some gardeners soak their catnip seeds in water for two to three days, instead of stratifying them for a long period. This method isn’t as effective as stratification, but it suits people who are in a big hurry to grow their catnip.
Sow your seeds in seedling trays filled with moistened seed starting mix that has a light texture and is empty of pests, weeds, and pathogens.
Keep the seeds moist by spraying them with water every day. The optimal germination temperature for catnip is 27°C (81°F). The colder the temperature is, the longer it takes for the seeds to germinate.
On average, your seeds should take around one week to germinate.
· From Cuttings
Growing cuttings is a very effective way of propagating catnip, but it only works if you already have the plant.
The ideal length of a mature catnip cutting is around 4-6 (10-15) inches tall.
Using a clean pruning shear, cut just below the last node you find while measuring the cutting.
Nodes are segments on the stem from which leaves and tiny buds grow.
Remove the lower leaves of your catnip cutting and place it in a glass of water. Keep the cutting in a bright location away from direct sunlight and change the water every other day.
The cutting should develop a root system in two weeks. You can then transfer your catnip to a small pot where it should stay away from the sun for the first 24-48 hours.
You can place the cutting in the soil directly and let it develop roots there. But you need to spray it with water daily to keep the humidity levels around as high as possible.
1- Avoid taking any cuttings from flowering stems before snipping off their flowers
2- Take your catnip cuttings in the early morning while the plant is full of water. This method gives your catnip a higher chance of rooting.
Catnip is a lovely, beautiful, and invigorating plant. In case you have a cat, growing this herb inside will insert more happiness and joy into your place.
Enjoy growing your catnip indoors and don’t forget to share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!