Often when you hear catnip and catmint you think that they are the same thing. Often it is mentioned that catnip is catmint. But are they really the same plant? In this article, we go over what the differences are between catnip and catmint plants.
Catnip Vs Catmint: The Similarities
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) and catmint are both part of the mint plant family (Lamiaceae).
Both can spread in a garden or flowerbed, catnip however will spread faster and easier, and it will easily overtake areas if not kept in check. Due to this easy spread, it is a good idea to grow catnip in a container. This can help with containing the plant to a specific area and help reduce the amount of work you would need to do to keep the plant under control.
Both plants also are great to have in the garden to help attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Pollinators love the flowers on these plants can they are a great way to get more pollinators in your garden.
Catnip and catmint both have the ability to repel harmful insects in the garden. Both catmint and catnip can be used as a companion plant to help with organic pest control.
Catnip Vs Catmint: The Differences
Catmint has several species in the Nepeta genus: Nepeta x faassenii, Eastern Catmint (Nepeta racemosa), and Lesser Catmint (Nepeta nepetella) are a few of the common species of catmint that people plant.
Catnip is just one species, Nepeta cataria.
Use in Gardens
Used more often in gardens as an ornamental plant, catmint can be less of a nuisance than catnip in the garden.
While catmint can spread, it is easier to keep from going too far since it is a mounding plant and will not grow several feet tall like catnip does.
Catmint also blooms longer than catnip and is more heat tolerant, making it a better option for attracting pollinators such as bees. But catnip will still bloom and pollinators do still flock to the flowers that it produces.
Cats Like Catnip, not Catmint
One of the most notable differences between catnip and catmint, at least among those who have cats, is that catmint does not attract cats to the extent that catnip does. Catmint does not have the ability to stimulate cats as catnip does.
Catnip is known for its ability to grow like a weed and spread just like mint plants can.
Catmint on the other hand is a small mounding plant, that can spread, but not to the extent that catnip will. This makes catmint a common choice for those who like flowering border plants in flowerbeds.
- Catnip and Catmint; University of Arizona Cooperative Extension; https://cals.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/catnipandcatmint.html
- Catnip, Nepeta cataria; Wisconsin Horticulture Division of Extension; https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/catnip-nepeta-cataria/
- Catmints and catnip: Which is “purrfect” for your garden?; University of Minnesota Extension; https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-news/catmints-and-catnip-which-purrfect-your-garden
- Catmint — A “Must-Have” Perennial; Piedmont Mater Gardeners; https://piedmontmastergardeners.org/article/catmint-a-must-have-perennial/