Does Catmint attract cats and alternatives

paulsiu(5a)June 12, 2011

I had an idea of planting a row of Catmint down the side off a friend's drive way with some spring bulbs. The idea is that in spring, the bulbs will flower and as they died off gets covered by catmints. However, the owner of the place has a bird and do not want anything that attracts cats because it drives the bird crazy.

Does catmint attract birds?

What are the alternatives? I was thinking of Russian Sage or Lavendar, but is looking for something with a really long bloom period like catmint.


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I'll preface this with the fact that I have not owned cat mint because my research led me to believe that yes, cat mint is in the same family as "cat nip" and it indeed will attract cats.

I have a ferral cat problem in my neighborhood, and I bought a cat nip, "Walker's Low" from home depot, and did some googling on here and returned it.

Others with direct experience could speak up, but it sounds like that cat mint is just a weaker variety of "cat mint", but both are attractive to cats.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 11:30AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Catnip, Nepeta cataria, is the plant that cats go crazy over. It's not as ornamental as the cat mint, which apparently cats like too, but if catnip was available, they'd probably ignore catmint. If you're trying to not attract cats, then to be safe I wouldn't grow either.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 12:06PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Cats around here have gone crazy for my 'Walker's Low' catmint. Never bloomed very much since the neighborhood cats would roll on it and chew it down. I even potted some up to give away and I found the pots knocked over with cat fur stuck on it!! So yes, I would say catmint (some kinds at least) attract the kitties ;-) Although they don't seem to bother my Nepeta subsessilis...

'Vision Violet' perennial Geranium might be a good alternative. Mine do great in full hot sun and bloom for a fairly long time.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 2:06PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Next-door neighbor has three cats who roam (don't even get me started on that...), and while I often see them patrolling my yard, I've never seen them given the catmint any bother. I think they're too zeroed in on the resident chipmunks to give the plants any notice. I've also found them relaxing under my larger hostas (or maybe they're using as camoflauge for their stakeout, who knows), but they never seem to do any damage to anything. Actually, my one dog is more destructive, trampling anything in her way as she gallops across the yard, while the cats will tip-toe gracefully down the paths/walkway.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 4:49PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I'm another who has flattened Walkers Low and Little Titch regularly - cats both lay on it and chew it. I don't have a cat.

I found a Siamese I'd never seen before acting territorial over a clump in a front bed one afternoon, even picking it up and giving it a gentle toss with appropriate Shoo! noises away from my yard didn't disuade it til I got serious with the garden hose. Darned thing acted like a drunk without a care in the world, belly up to 'my bar' for the long haul and I was in its way :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 5:58PM
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njmomma(z6 NJ)

I just planted Walker's Low in my front bed and it's first time I've seen a cat in my yard! Yesterday and today shmoozing with the catmint. Wasn't even afraid of me either. Hmph.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 6:37PM
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I notice the neighbor has catmint and I asked her if it attracted cats. She indicated a stray often wandered around her yard but ignore the catmint. This is probably the same cat terrorizing the bird.

This mean growing catmint will probably be OK. I'll try to discourage the cat by installing plastic nails beds.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 9:00PM
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tepelus z6a SW MI

I planted three new Walker's Low a few weeks ago, and the other day my cat Mr. Black walked right past it and didn't care. I gave a little piece of it to my indoor cats and although they did eat it, they don't go crazy like they do with the nip. They love the nip, but the mint, not so much.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Nancy zone 6

Isn't it funny, I have 3 cats, catmint, & catnip. None of the cats have the least interest in the plants. Once or twice when I've pulled up the catnip, they have noticed it a bit, but only for a couple of minutes. I supposed I've crushed the leaves & made it more noticeable, but then it is just brief.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 7:54AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in my z5.. sage and lavender are foo foo plants.. i would struggle on the edge of a driveway ... unless you make a very large bed ... cant tell from the facts .. or i missed it.. coffee buzz going here.. lol ..

and i would not in this lifetime.. plant a row of anything called a mint ...

heck.. plant one.. you will have a row in a year or two .. they are all invasive weeds.. but for the gardener who is actually out there fondling them every single day.. and keeping them in place ...

and i dont care how tame anyone elses mint is... we live in different worlds.. lol ..

why are you planting the neighbors driveway ... and do you hate this neighbor?? if so.. can i suggest chameleon plant??? hoya-toya or something or another.. lol ..


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 8:24AM
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Well, I was trying to figure out which plant would be best for low maintenance and have long bloom. Catmint certainly fits the bill. As far as a mint goes, Catmint don't seem overly invasive. The neigbor already has a bunch all over her yard, which she divide and spread and it has not made it into our yard.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 8:43AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey.. dont get me wrong ...

you asked opinions.. and my opinion.. is i hate them all ...

whatever you ultimately decide is peachy with me ...

and lets be clear ... i am talking about true mints .... and i did not research whether catmint is a true mint ...

but this cracked me up: The neighbor already has a bunch all over her yard

the thought there.. is that it is so aggressive.. that she keeps whacking it back with the shovel.. and covering her whole yard with it.. to me.. that is an aggressive plant ...

whatever.. you have fun doing whatever you decide ..


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:08AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Mint (Mentha) and Catmint (Nepeta) not of the same genus at all. Don't lump them all into one category because they may all be in the Lamiaceae family or have a similar sounding common name.

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' is NOT invasive. Most online sites even say 'WL' is sterile so will not reseed. And as far as creeping, mine was very slow to do any spreading.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

Had a large catmint plant ... for entertainment of the two indoor cats we have. The plant became very nice over the years... 2.5 ft tall.. nice blooms.

The neighborhood cats would roll all over it in the spring.. but it grew so quickly it would get tall enough for them to only be able to nibble on the sides. I pulled it out 2 years back for more room and i still get seedlings in the bed in late spring when i turn anything.

The catmint WL, has never been messed with by the same cats... when i had catnit down the way.. and now when i have just the catmint. I assume it's up to the cats to decide!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 2:06PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

I've had the same plant for close to ten years now. It's never needed dividing, come up beautifully every year, has never seeded and pretty much blooms continuously. As far as I can tell, no cat has ever checked it out.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 2:40PM
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No offensive intended or received. I assume that all opinions are opinions.

By the way, is there a difference between the catmint cultivars? There appears to be a dropmore and a walker low, and something with the name blue, but not too much info on what the differences are.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 3:26PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

I bought some a few years ago and before I even had a chance to put it in the ground, my dear little kitty had chewed it down to nubs. I had noticed how he went trotting off purposefully in that direction before I noticed what he was up to. Even after it was quite dead, he continued to visit it just to rub his chin on the stumps. And this was definitely cat mint, not cat nip.

It's too bad because cat mint is highly recommended for its long bloom period and easy care and I love the color. From the comments here, it sounds like it may be more attractive to some cats or that some cat mint plants are more attractive to cats than others.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 3:18AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Catmint is attractive to some cats and not to others. My old cat, now passed on, loved to lie on my Walkers Low. My two present cats have no interest in it whatsoever. It is not invasive and is not a mint.

For an alternative, consider some of newer, better Coreopsis. Darrell Probst, the Epimedium man, has bred a number of gorgeous cultivars, including white ones and white streaked with red as well as soft yellows. They get quite large and bushy and would cover spring bulb foliage. They also don't need deadheading and, beginning bloom soon here in zone 6, will bloom until frost.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 5:47AM
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