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August 8, 2017 Back to Picks >

Catmint is an aromatic perennial flowering herb that produces mounds of somewhat graygreen leaves and generous clusters of lavender-blue flowers — easily-grown, it is also historically enriching, as stories of its use extend back in time to the Roman Empire. A distinct advantage over catnip is that cats are much less attracted to catmint — hence less damage from the feline marauder! Plant catmint in the Spring, and give it about a foot of space in every direction. Air circulation will help prevent powdery mildew, which can appear during our hot, humid summers. Water the new plants until well-established, and mulch to help retain moisture and discourage weeds. When the new plant is about 9 inches tall, begin pinching back for more fullness, and deadhead spent blooms throughout the growing season. In the fall, shear the plants back to about half their size. Catmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen for culinary or other herbal use. The leaves and shoots (soft stems) can be added to soups and sauces, and a lovely tea is made with the leaves, fresh or dried.