Catmint planted in the ground?

sable_ca(z9CA)April 28, 2011

We are having our front yard professionally landscaped, as I can no longer plant and care for a garden/yard by myself, due to the usual arthritis, etc., problems.

So far they have done a terrific job, putting in just what we wanted - drought-tolerant native California and Mediterranean plants. We have lots of lavender, some sage, rosemary, yarrow, succulents, some low-growing grasses, a couple of mallows, and other things whose names I can't remember. Anyway, the "plant-lady" member of the team bought and had the actual gardener put in some catmint in a few places next to the walkway. It's lovely - fast-growing (uh-oh) and with those pretty purple flowers.

Then I remembered: the two years I spent in Chicago trying to get rid of mint in my garden there. Endless yanking up of runners and new sprouts just when I'd think it was all gone. So - should I ask the gardener to remove the catmint? Will it spread the same way? For the first time in our lives we'll have a gardener coming around to tend the place every so often, but I don't want him having to yank up some invasive horror.

What should I do?



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Catmint is the common name for Nepeta which does not propagate itself (spread by underground runners) in the same way as culinary mint although it does seed itself quite well. Relax.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 7:11AM
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Why thank you Ink! Taking you at your word, I will indeed relax and enjoy the catmint.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 9:28PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

"Enjoy" is the operative word. I spent part of today in our picturesque downtown area, where some of the raised beds are planted with large patches of particularly enthusiastic blue nepeta.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 10:12PM
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I Googled it & also called catnip so you may attract cats, which you may or may not like. I don't like cleaning up after dogs & cats. So might want to consider that also.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 1:18AM
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My catmint does attract cats, so I sprinkle hot pepper on it - that helps until the next rain.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 3:27AM
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Catnip, Nepeta cataria, is a different plant than catmint, Nepeta x faassenii. Catnip's attraction to cats is much stronger and if they discover the planted version of catnip, they generally just roll on it and smash the plant, releasing the scented oils they find so appealing.

Not all plants in the mint family (Lamiaceae) are aggressive spreaders. As others have noted, catmint is a long blooming, low maintenance, low water use and well-behaved perennial. In fact, Nepeta 'Walker's Low' was the Perennial Plant Association's 2007 Plant of the Year.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 10:33AM
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If a cat or two came around our yard that wouldn't bother me. There are only two roaming cats in our area. They will mainly entertain our two kitties, who are indoors only. I'll keep an eye out for them, though. So far the catmint is thriving and I'm enjoying not worrying about it.

Thanks for the helpful information!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 2:32AM
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Having solved the dilemma of whether to relax or enjoy you have decided to do both: good move. Nepeta will get straggly after a while but it is a very robust plant and trimming it will not be a problem. The smell resembles the smell of a cats sex (I am told !)and you may get one laying in the middle of a bush but this problem too can be solved by trimming (not waxing).

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 6:56AM
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Ink - I would never wax a cat. Trimming their claws is difficult enough. Giving you the last word, though...Carry On.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 1:13PM
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I love my catmint and so does our cat. he has the best breath after noshing on sprigs of it and it does make him a little frisky. I do have a wire circular plant support in the middle of it to keep "Fat Boy" from rolling on it. It is covered up in a few weeks of growth. No problems with self sowing or spreading and it has been in the same location for years. I give it a hair cut when it gets a little ragged and it recovers quickly.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:40PM
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