Catnip, also known as catmint, is a versatile and valuable herb that offers a wide range of benefits for both humans and felines. This perennial plant, belonging to the mint family, is renowned for its aromatic leaves and its ability to attract and stimulate cats. However, catnip’s usefulness extends far beyond its feline-friendly properties.

Usually available: All year
Life cycle: Perennial
Height: 90cm – 1.4m
Position: Sun / part shade
Soil preference: Well drained

Garden Use

In the garden, catnip serves as an excellent companion plant. Its strong scent can help repel certain pests, such as aphids and squash bugs, making it a natural and eco-friendly way to protect your other plants. Catnip’s attractive foliage and delicate white or purple flowers also make it a visually appealing addition to any herb garden or border.

Medicinal Use

Catnip has a long history of medicinal use, dating back to ancient times. It has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, anxiety, and insomnia.

Catnip contains nepetalactone, a compound that has mild sedative effects on humans when consumed as a tea. This makes it a popular natural remedy for promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality.

Culinary Use

In the kitchen, catnip can be used to add a unique flavor to various dishes. Its leaves can be used fresh or dried to make herbal teas, or they can be added to salads, soups, and stews for a subtle, minty flavor.

Catnip is also known to have mild diuretic properties, which can help support kidney and urinary tract health.

Other Uses

Catnip’s essential oil is sometimes used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and relieve stress. The plant’s dried leaves can also be used to make sachets or potpourris, which can help keep clothes and linens smelling fresh while repelling moths and other insects.

In a survival situation, catnip can be a valuable resource. Its insect-repelling properties can help keep mosquitoes and other biting insects at bay, while its medicinal properties can be used to promote relaxation and alleviate minor digestive issues. Additionally, catnip’s ability to attract cats can be useful for trapping small game in a survival scenario.

Catnip is a must-have for any prepper’s garden, as it offers a diverse range of uses and benefits. Its hardiness and adaptability make it a reliable plant to grow in various conditions, ensuring a steady supply of this valuable herb in times of need.

Growing Conditions and Climate

Catnip is well-suited to the diverse climates found in Australia. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions, from cool temperate regions to subtropical areas. Catnip prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.

It is relatively drought-tolerant once established, making it a low-maintenance addition to any garden.

Interesting Facts and Gardening Tips

  • Catnip is known to attract bees and other pollinators, making it a valuable plant for supporting local ecosystems.
  • To encourage bushier growth and prevent the plant from becoming leggy, regularly pinch back the tips of the stems.
  • Catnip can be easily propagated from seed, cuttings, or by dividing mature plants in spring or fall.

Complimentary Plants

Catnip pairs well with other herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and thyme. It also makes a good companion for vegetables like brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, and kale), as it can help deter pests.

Scientific Studies

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2011) found that catnip essential oil exhibited strong insect repellent properties against mosquitoes, making it a potential natural alternative to synthetic repellents.


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