Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is well known for its affects on cats. Anyone who’s ever seen a cat given a catnip toy knows that they lose all their reserve and act like they’re totally uninhibited, drunk possibly.
Catnip seems to have that same affect on all the pollinators. Right now my catnip is in full bloom and it is covered in every sort of flying nectar drinker I’ve ever seen. There are bees, green flies, butterflies, etc. They just don’t seem to be able to get enough of the nectar.
I originally planted catnip, because it was supposed to repel ants. Well that didn’t work at all. I was about to pull the plants up, as I didn’t really see any use for them since they failed to eradicate the massive ant population on our property.
For whatever reason I never got to it last fall and then didn’t have the heart to do it once it started growing this spring. Now that I know that it draws pollinators I’m going to keep it in the landscape. The past couple of years I’ve had a hard time with pollination of my vegetable garden. Now things seem to be much better. I’ve got lots of baby vegetables coming on.
Now that it is going to be a part of my landscape I decided to see what other uses it has other than cheap entertainment for your cat, and you watching your cat.
There’s a long list of ailments catnip is supposed to help. The main being that it is a relaxant. It’ll help you get to sleep when you are restless. So, don’t drink it before driving as it causes drowsiness. It also helps with respiratory infections, fevers, cold or flu, colic, gas, headaches, indigestion, menstrual cramps, etc. As with any herb if you are pregnant consult with a knowledgeable herbalist before using.
Catnip growing specs: 3-5’ tall, Zone 3a to 9b, full sun/part shade, water regularly, don’t overwater. Will freely self sow in some conditions (like my garden) deadhead if you don’t want seedlings (I have lots).