The Q&A Archives: Catmint

Question: I purchased a very healthy catmint plant. The weather here has been very dry so I have been watering with plant food added. Today it looks as if it is drying up....? Is catmint an annual or perennial and can anything be done to revive it? Thanks!

Answer: Catmint or Nepeta is a drought tolerant perennial plant; inspite of the hot weather, I think you have been overwatering. Nepeta is one of those plants that thrives on neglect. A lean soil and somewhat dry growing conditions will encourage both flowers and scent.

Many of the newer varieties of nepeta are sterile, producing no viable seeds. This is a plus if you don?t like the weedy, self-seeding habit of older nepeta varieties, but it means you will need to either buy plants or make plants from divisions or cuttings.

Most Nepetas will rebloom if sheared back after their initial flowering. Some won?t provide much of a second show, but their foliage will be refreshed and tidied by the shearing. Division is not a requirement, but if you?d like more plants, Nepeta responds well to division in the spring.

At this point I would hold back on watering. If your plant is in the ground try setting a large rock or empty nursery pot in front of it to shield it from hot afternoon sunshine (to help it recover). If it's in a container, move it to a more protected place until it regains its health.

Hope your catmint makes it!

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