Growing Catnip Indoors: A Complete Guide

Are you wondering how to grow catnip indoors and get all the benefits of this herb without leaving your house? Look no further! With Gardyn’s help and advice, you can make a successful herb garden at home.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of cultivating catnip indoors. You will learn everything you need to know to grow catnip indoors, from choosing the right seeds and making sure they germinate to giving them the right care and attention.

Catnip is a minty, aromatic herb that is beloved by cat owners for its irresistible appeal to felines But did you know that catnip is also an easy-to-grow houseplant that offers benefits beyond just entertaining cats?

In this comprehensive guide, learn all about growing catnip indoors – from ideal conditions and care to harvesting leaves for your furry friends or for culinary and medicinal uses

What is Catnip?

Catnip, also known as catmint, is a perennial herb from the mint family Lamiaceae. The botanical name is Nepeta cataria. Native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, catnip is now naturalized across North America.

Catnip contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone that is irresistible to domestic cats and some wild felines When cats inhale the scent of catnip, it triggers a euphoric reaction that causes hyperactive behavior like rolling, pouncing, and playfulness.

In addition to being a cat attractant, catnip has a long history of use in herbal remedies, as a culinary herb, and also in natural insect repellents. The leaves have a pleasant minty, lemon-tinged flavor.

Growing Catnip Indoors

Catnip thrives when grown indoors as a houseplant and is quite easy to cultivate successfully inside. Here are some key considerations for growing catnip indoors:

Light Requirements

Catnip grows best in full sun and needs around 6 hours of direct sunlight daily (or 12-14 hours under grow lights). A bright, south-facing window is ideal. With insufficient light, growth will be stunted and sparse.


Ideal temperatures for growing catnip indoors are between 60-70°F. As a cold hardy perennial, catnip can tolerate lower temperatures but growth slows below 50°F. High heat above 80°F can cause floppy, leggy growth.


Catnip prefers evenly moist soil but not constantly soggy. Water whenever the top inch becomes dry. Drooping leaves often indicate under watering. Ensure the pot has drainage holes and do not allow water to pool in the saucer.


Use a well-draining potting mix made for herbs and vegetables. Soil pH between 6.0-7.0 is optimal. Mix in sand or perlite if your soil retains too much moisture.


Feed monthly with a liquid fertilizer for herbs at half strength concentration. Avoid over-fertilizing as this causes excessive leaf growth at the expense of flavor.


Choose containers at least 4” deep with drainage holes. Shallow pots dry out too quickly. Catnip has a taproot and appreciates deeper pots.

How to Grow Catnip from Seed

Growing catnip from seed indoors is fast and easy. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill starter pots or trays with moist potting soil. Level and lightly compact.

  2. Sow seeds just below the surface, 1⁄4 inch deep. Space 1-2 inches apart.

  3. Cover seeds gently with soil or vermiculite. Water gently to avoid displacing seeds.

  4. Place in a warm spot with 65-75°F temperatures. Keep soil moist but not saturated.

  5. Germination occurs within 7-14 days. Provide ample sunlight once sprouted.

  6. Transplant seedlings once they reach 3-4 inches tall. Pinch back tips to encourage bushiness.

Growing Catnip from a Seedling

You can also grow catnip indoors from a nursery seedling or plant purchased at a garden center. Look for young plants about 3-4 inches tall. Follow these tips:

  • Gently loosen root ball before transplanting into potting mix, being careful not to damage roots.

  • Bury stem up to the first set of leaves. Tamp down soil gently.

  • Water thoroughly after transplanting and let excess drain fully.

  • Allow 1-2 weeks for seedling to adjust before resuming fertilizing.

  • Pinch back the tips of each stem by 1/3 to promote bushy growth.

Caring for Catnip

Once established, catnip requires minimal care. Follow these growing tips:

  • Pinch back leggy stems often to encourage full, bushy growth.

  • Remove flower buds to prolong leaf production. Catnip flowers diminish flavor.

  • Check soil moisture regularly. Water when the top 1-2 inches become dry.

  • Mist leaves occasionally to boost humidity around the catnip.

  • Turn pots frequently so all sides receive equal light exposure.

  • Keep catnip away from drafts from heating/cooling vents.

  • Rotate catnip plants outside in summer to refresh plants.

Harvesting and Using Catnip

  • Snip sprigs of catnip once plant is at least 6 inches tall. Cut back to a leaf node.

  • Harvest in morning after dew dries for highest oil concentration.

  • Cutting often encourages more growth. Leave some stems when harvesting.

  • Hang upside down to dry. Crumble dried leaves to fill cat toys or use in teas.

  • Add fresh leaves to salads, soups, pesto or other dishes. Imparts a light minty flavor.

  • Make catnip tea from dried leaves to aid relaxation and sleep. Also used for upset stomach.

Troubleshooting Common Catnip Problems

Yellow leaves – Overwatering or insufficient fertilizer

Leggy growth – Needs more sun exposure

Wilting – Under watering or pot-bound roots

Slow growth – Low temperatures or insufficient sunlight

Flowering – Remove buds to prolong leaf production

White powdery coating – Powdery mildew fungus, increase air circulation

Chewed leaves – Cats find it irresistible! Keep indoor plants out of reach.

Enjoy Growing Catnip Indoors!

Catnip is one of the easiest indoor herbs to cultivate. A sun-loving mint, catnip thrives with minimal care beyond adequate sunlight, water and good drainage. Harvest fresh or dried leaves to fill cat toys or for your own herbal concoctions. Growing catnip indoors provides a sensory treat for your feline companions and a bounty of uses for you too!

Harvesting and Using Your Catnip

As soon as your catnip plants are the right size, it’s time to harvest them and use them. Here are the best ways to gather and use catnip, whether you want to cook with it, use it as medicine, decorate with it, or give it to your pet.

How to Plant Catnip Indoors?

Growing catnip is a straightforward and rewarding experience. This herb is known for its resilience and adaptability, making it an ideal choice for all environments. We will show you how to successfully plant catnip indoors now that you know what you need to grow this herb.

How To Grow Your Own Catnip


Can I grow catnip indoors year round?

Even when it is not summer or spring, its natural outdoor growing season, you can still grow catnip indoors to have a fresh and readily available supply all year long. You are no longer limited by the constraints of changing seasons or unpredictable weather conditions.

How long does potted catnip last?

Catnip is like any dried herb, it’ll be good for longer if it’s kept in an airtight container but it’s really only going to keep for a maximum of 6 months even then. If you have a bright windowsill, or a balcony or garden, it is really easy to grow it from seed. The seeds are really cheap as well.

Should I let my catnip flower?

Catnip can become invasive, and to prevent it from reseeding itself, remove the flowers prior to them going to seed.

Does catnip come back every year?

Catnip grows best in a sunny location and doesn’t require much maintenance. As a perennial, this herbaceous flowering plant will return each year with proper care. Keep in mind that catnip requires plenty of room to grow and flourish, much like most felines.

Can you grow catnip indoors?

Growing catnip indoors is a very easy task to achieve. Growing catnip is safe and non- toxic to humans and pets. The plant is an aggressive grower, though, so it is best to give the catnip plant a lot of space to grow, especially if you plan to develop it for the long haul.

Can catnip grow in containers?

Catnip also grows well in containers. In fact, a planting site with some kind of boundary, such as a pot, raised garden bed, or stone wall will help to contain catnip’s spread. You can also grow an indoor catnip plant. All you need is a sunny sill with direct light. Space catnip plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the garden.

Where do catnip plants grow best?

Indoor catnip plants grow best in a sunny window. Catnip grows well in a variety of soils, including rocky and dry soil. However, they thrive in loamy and sandy soil. Whatever you choose, make sure the soil has good drainage. These plants do well with little water.

Can catnip grow in hot weather?

Don’t overwater or allow the plant to sit in soggy soil. The preferred growing temperature for catnip plants is 55°F to 85°F. Catnip prefers a moderate climate—too hot or too humid, and it begins to suffer. If you live in a high-humidity area and want to grow catnip, good air circulation is important to reduce the chances of fungal growth.

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