Summer is over in Dayton, Ohio and the outdoor growing season is about over. The good news is that if you can find any perennial herbs, the nurseries will almost pay you to take them off their hands. If you do find some bargain perennials, there is still time to plant them for next year if you hurry; you will need to get them into the ground immediately and protect them from any frosts so that they root before the first freeze.
Those of you living in the southern states can grow herbs year-round of course. We hate you.
Catnip vs catmint – both perennials
Neopeta cateriais a single species with white or lilac dotted flowers and is a European native. It is apparently known both as Catnip and Catmint,
just to confuse things, but is certainly the one most people call Catnip.
N. Nussinii is catmint
Catmint (n.nussinii), is a member of the mint family. It is an extremely easily grown plant with few pests or problems. The green-grey, smoky/minty fragranced foliage is topped with spikes of flowers in early summer; blooms repeat throughout the season. Flowers may be white, pink, or bluish-lavender.
Catmint enjoys light conditions ranging from partial shade to fun sun and grows in mounds up to two feet in height. It thrives on neglect, lean soil and dry growing conditions
Cats love it, deer don’t
While certain varieties of neopeta are very attractive to cats, both as a living plant and dried, neopeta is deer resistant.
What’s it good for?
The flowering spikes have the highest concentration of medicinal properties, but the leaves and stems will be relished and provide healthful benefits to your small pets as well.
Catmint acts as a general tonic, an antispasmodic, and has relaxing qualities as well. Catmint eases a gassy belly and calms a nervous or restless pet.
Catmint may be offered to your small pet either as a fresh sprig, or dried (try sprinkling finely crushed dried catmint over their food pellets). Another means of offering catmint is as a tea – infuse ½ ounce to a cup of just-boiled water and let steep. DO NOT boil the catnip as boiling will negate the medicinal properties. After making the tea be sure to cover any unused tea to avoid loss of medicinal properties.
A rabbit may be given ½ teaspoon of cooled tea twice daily to start, for relief of gas and colic; see how s/he tolerates that before increasing (as you would with any new food item).
Personal note: as my readers know, my Oreo has been unusually anxious as she adapts to her loss of vision. This herb has provided her with remarkable anxiety relief; I offer her small (one-inch) sprigs several times daily.
Best place to buy catmint: head to Wick’s on North Fairfield Rd – all their perennials are buy one get one, and the prices had already been reduced before this sale. As of last week they still had some lovely catmint available (see photo).
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