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Can Catnip Grow in Shade? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 09:16 am

Like every other plant, catnip needs sunlight to grow. However, unlike other plants, it is not extremely particular about the quantity of sunlight it requires.

Although if you’re looking for the best results, then you should know that catnip thrives in full sun.

That said, can catnip grow in shade? Catnip can grow in shady spots, away from the full glare of the sunlight. Even though catnip, like most plants of the mint family, prefers full sunlight, it will thrive with some afternoon shade.

Can Catnip Grow In Partial Shade?

Catnip is generally not a picky plant; it can grow well in the direst of conditions. It can grow both with full sun and in partial shade.

It is also drought tolerant and heat resistant. Even deer avoid catnip, so it is pretty much a very easy herb to cultivate.

However, catnip prefers the full light from the sun if it is to thrive and produce lots of vibrant foliage, be that as it may, catnip does not grow exclusively by full sunlight.

Catnip will also grow in partial shade, like maybe under a tree in the garden or the shadow of larger plants. But like most perennials, it prefers full sunlight.

As such, you will enjoy your catnip and have it bloom to its fullest potential if you avoid growing it in partial or fully shaded areas of your garden. It will be better to plant it in an open location, where it can access full sunlight.

You should also make sure that there are no taller plants nearby, creating shade for the catnip. Although if you live in a scorching area, it won’t be a bad idea to provide shade for catnip for a few hours during the day.

Related: Can Catmint Grow In the shade?

Otherwise, it can wilt and die from too much heat.

Furthermore, the fact that catnip thrives better in full sunlight does not mean it will not grow in partial shade. The plant also grows reasonably well in partial shade.

The only difference is that it will not grow as well as it does when exposed to full sunlight. As such, even if your catnip is indoors or in the garage or the porch. It can still grow.

If it is indoors, all you need to do is keep it close to a windowsill. Even if the place is shaded, as long as it can get a little sunlight once a day, both you and your catnip will be fine.

How Many Hours Of Sun Do Catnip Need?

Catnip loves sunlight, which means it has to receive at least six hours of sunlight regularly. At least most days of the week, although even without sufficient sunlight, the plant can grow.

But even if it grows, if it does not receive sufficient sunlight during the period of growth. It could cause

  • Spindly, leggy plants
  • Also, the plant can have scarce, sparse foliage.
  • Lack of sunlight can also slow down the plant’s growth, producing fresh foliage much more slowly.

Indoors, catnip also requires at least five hours of direct sunlight, so if you’re growing your catnip indoors, place it near a windowsill to have access to direct sunlight for at least five hours during the day.

However, you can also use artificial lights in place of direct sunlight if you cannot access direct sunlight. However, artificial light may not be as adequate as direct sunlight when it comes to providing your plant’s nutritional needs.

T5 fluorescent grow light

Finally, if your plant is not receiving enough sunlight, or even if it is, you can still supplement that with artificial grow lights. You can use a T5 fluorescent grow light.

Check out the Latest Price of T5 fluorescent grow light on Amazon“.

Just suspend the grow light fixture over the plant; make sure it’s at least 12 inches above it. Make sure you expose the plants to it for at least 10-12 hours a day.

Do Catnip Grow Back Every Year?

Catnip grows back every year; being a loosely growing perennial. It usually dies in the winter and then comes back during the spring with new growth.

However, in some areas, it may not die back at all and simply go dormant during the winter. Catnip plants can die back in the winter, and fresh plants emerge in the spring.

Winter is the most threatening period for catnip, and it is during winter, your plant is most likely to die. Because although catnip is a perennial herb, it prefers bright sunlight, and it is not hardy enough to tolerate freezing temperatures.

Luckily, however, catnip spreads very quickly by seed. It spreads so quickly that you have to remove the flower before it goes to seed. Once it goes to seed, it can spread relentlessly. Some gardeners have even described catnip as an invasive herb.

That being the case, you can grow catnip all year round. Since it is likely to go dormant during winter, you may want to grow it so that you can harvest it even during winter.

Below are some helpful care tips that you can use to maintain your plant throughout the year, even during winter.

1. You can grow your catnip indoors. You either move the plant from your outdoor garden indoors or propagate it in water inside the house. Either way, the plant will be safe from the freeze and cold.

2. If it’s indoors, whether in a glass of water or a vase with soil, keep it close to a sunny window for at least five hours during the day.

3. You can supplement the natural light with artificial grow lights.

4. If you’re growing the plant from scratch, water at least once every two to three days. If it’s a mature plant, however, water only when the soil seems too dry. Just to keep the plant moisture-rich.

5. If your plant is not potted, you can prepare it for winter by trimming it down. Cut the foliage down and occasionally trim any new growth, so the cold does not damage the plant.

6. Shortly before the onset of winter, water the herb adequately. Give it a good watering, and do not water it at all once winter sets in.

7. If the freeze gets too severe, you can use a cloche to cover the plant but make sure to keep a Keen eye on it. Remove it once the freeze passes. Otherwise, the plant will get too warm and start to wilt.


Catnip is a hardy, bushy perennial herb. And like most perennials, it grows even in severe weather conditions. And although catnip grows best in full sunlight, it can grow under shaded areas as well.

However, if it is not exposed to sufficient sunlight, its growth can be slow and its foliage less.

In addition to that, catnip grows back every year and seeds incessantly. However, you can grow it as an indoor herb or simply grow it in pots and move it indoors during the winter.

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