Catmint Plant: A Perennial You Should Consider Growing

Catmint plant is a hardy perennial that is beautiful and easy to grow. How can you incorporate it into your garden?

When I first started my garden, I wanted something beautiful, long-blooming, pest resistant, easy to grow, and perennial. After extensive research, I determined that catmint was the ideal plant for me.

Looking back over the years, I’m glad I chose this purple flowering plant in my garden.

General Information

Lavender, rosemary, thyme, bee balm, and giant hyssop all belong to the same plant family as catmint—the mint family (Lamiaceae). In addition to fragrant foliage, these plants have two-lipped blossoms, square stems, and opposing leaves.

Violet, trumpet-shaped clusters of blossoms and grey-green leaves with a strong mint aroma are the most distinguishing characteristics of the cool-weather-loving catmint.

The plant can grow to be 3 feet tall, but it likes to sprawl, producing a grey-green ground cover. 

It blooms in late spring and early summer. With warmer temperatures, it will frequently stop flowering for a spell in mid-summer, only to resume in early autumn, especially if aggressively pruned.

Catmint blossoms will attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects.

A bush of Catmint plant blossoming in the garden

Catmint vs. Catnip

Catmint is frequently confused with catnip (Nepeta cataria). Despite their close resemblance, catnip is more aromatic and has less ornamental appeal than catmint.

Catnip is a plant that attracts cats. It contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which can cause feelings of euphoria in our feline friends.

In contrast to catmint, which is a gorgeous, blooming perennial in beds, catnip has a weedier appearance. Catmint also flowers for a longer time than catnip, and while catnip flowers are typically white, catmint flowers are purple.

How and When to Plant

The best time to plant your catmint is in the spring. Young plants require plenty of space and should be separated by at least a foot (31 cm). Powdery mildew or leaf spot can appear on overcrowded plants, especially in hot, humid climates.

Some catmint plant species should be planted with caution since they can be aggressive growers. As a result, you might want to give them some edging. You might also plant them in containers.

General Care Tips


Water new plants or transplants on a regular basis during the first growing season until they get established. They will only require little watering after that.

Full bloom nepeta catmint flowers during summer


Catmint does not require fertilizing if grown properly and doing so may result in floppy stems and fewer blooms.


Certain plants may undergo a summer downturn after the initial flush of flowers fades. Shearing your plants by a third or more of their original height will reenergize them and produce lush new foliage for a second bloom cycle. Even if they are not clipped, they will frequently bloom again, albeit not as prolifically.

Because hybrid seeds are sterile, deadheading isn’t required to keep them from self-sowing. It may, however, help in the development of new flowers.

Pests and Disease

Thrips can be a nuisance, but they can be controlled with insecticidal soap. Catmint has been known to repel mosquitoes, aphids, squash bugs, and other pests.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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