Nepeta, commonly known as Catmint, is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants, native to Europe, Asia and Africa. Nepeta belongs to the Lamiaceae family, known for its aromatic members.
These long-lived, extremely versatile and easy-to-grow perennials make a great addition to your garden. Their aromatic, gray-green leaves and beautiful flowers look great in borders and rock gardens. Because of its self-sufficiency and lack of problems, Nepeta is a good choice for beginner gardeners.
The genus name refers to “Nepete”, an ancient Etruscan city of modern Italy, where the plant was common.
Nepeta represents happiness, fertility and love.
Folklore says Nepeta can be used, in special way, to capture someone’s heart.
Interesting facts about Nepeta:
Does Catmint Attract Cats?
Nepeta’s common names (Catmint, Catnip and Cataria) all have “cats” as their root word. Remember, this plant can make your garden a cat-friendly.
An essential oil, called Nepetalactone, causes a hallucinogenic reaction by mimicking the effects of a cat pheromone. This can cause strange behaviour in cats such as growling, jumping, hissing, biting, head shaking and even salivating. Allowing the cats to eat or sniff Nepeta is just like giving marijuana to people. It will make them high.
The plant is not toxic to cats. However, they may experience vomiting or diarrhea if the exposure is severe.
Benefits and Uses
The plant has been used in traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of coughs, fevers, hives, headaches, arthritis, indigestion, cramping and flatulence. The sedative effect of the herb can help relax the body both mentally and physically. It helps calm the nerves and can be used to treat insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Nepeta contains many nutrients such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, calcium, Vitamin A, B and C.
Nepeta comes in shades of blue, purple, white and even pink and yellow.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
Nepeta grows between 20 cm and 2 metres (8 inches to 7 ft) high, depending on variety.
Nepeta prefers moist and well drained soil, with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.0.