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Is Catnip A Perennial? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 10:38 am

Do you have a catnip in your garden and would like to maximize its lifespan? If your answer to this question is positive, then you’re one of the many gardeners who have asked me how long catnip lives.

Today, catnip is grown in homes and gardens as ornamental plants and commercially for oils and leaves.

Although not everyone appreciates its sharp, pungent odor, you must be a pretty dedicated gardener to have this plant in your garden. Notwithstanding, because of catnip’s many benefits, you may ponder on how long the plant lives.

So, is catnip a perennial? Having the ability to survive multiple growing seasons and even being a vigorous plant, catnip is considered a perennial. Nonetheless, it is a relatively short-lived herbaceous perennial.

Does Catnip Grow Back Every Year?

Due to the strength, liveliness, and aggressiveness of catnip, it can withstand many stressful conditions and tolerate many pest and disease attacks. So, the causes of death of catnip plants are usually a result of fungal, bacterial, and viral diseases.

However, catnip is known to generally complete its life cycle in winter, where it dies off. Because catnip is a low perennial, it has to die in the winter and return in spring as another life cycle. So, catnip grows back every year.

Even in a situation in which catnip is lost to a fungal infection or pest attack, it can be brought back by throwing away the infected mix of soil because the pest or fungal disease could still be alive there in the pot.

Then recovery can kick in with a decent (moderate) water supply.

Does Catnip Grow Back After You Cut It?

When it comes to cutting off catnip, there are typically two ways you would cut your catnip based on the reasons. You can carry this out either as pruning or harvesting;

1. Pruning

Pruning Shear

When catnip is not regularly trimmed, it becomes scruffy, making it lose its decorative touch in the home or garden you have grown. But with regular pruning, you not only make it attractive and presentable, but you will also aid it in growing bushy.

Once the flowering period of catnip is passed, I will encourage you to prune, taking the plant back to the height of four inches above ground level.

This will pave the way for new growth after two weeks, which will, in turn, spark a new flowering cycle. However, this also means removing dead or dried leaves, which might bring about insect and disease infestation and infection.

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2. Harvesting

There are many reasons why you will want to harvest your catnip. It could be that you want to get some as a treat for your cat, for the oil during the flowering period, for cooking, or even for medical use.

But no matter the reason, I will advise you to allow it to grow to at least six and a half inches tall, then by using a pair of sharp scissors to cut off the stem toward the soil surface completely.

Therefore, one good thing about catnip is that it can grow back quickly after you may have cut it off. But it is much easier and quicker to regrow from the stems than from single leaves.

So it will be better for you to cut entire stems close to the plant’s base than just a single leaf. Doing this well will ensure that you harvest catnip at least twice in one growing season.

How Do You Winterize Catnip?

Catnip can withstand extreme frost and survive through winter without you giving it much attention.

But when you exert effort to winterize your catnip, you would be giving it a better and healthy production chance upon the arrival of spring.

So to prevent the top of catnip from eventually wilting and dying off, the following ways can help you to winterize your catnip accurately;

  • Once the temperature is around 37 to 39 degrees, it is reasonable to cut the catnip back to a few inches away from the ground.
  • Endeavor to clear all weeds to avoid nutrient struggle between catnip and weeds.
  • Covering the roots with dried leaves to protect the plant is also a wise action to take.

The very first observable sign of spring is that catnip will try to emerge again. Catnips usually self-seed themselves during winter.

Therefore, when this flower becomes visible, it signifies the end of its life cycle and the seeding for the next growing season (year).

Should You Let Catnip Flower?

From the end of spring through fall, catnips flower will begin to bloom for one to two months.

At this point, the flowers are born with spike-like racemes at the terminal, having a color of white with pale purple or pink spotting on the lower lip of the bilabiate (two-lipped) flowers.

Seeds are then known to replace flowers. The seed capsule usually contains four smooth nutlets with oval shapes. It is at this point other agents of dispersal like the goldfinches carry and spread these seeds.

So allowing catnip to flower is necessary for the formation of seeds that are essential for its arrival in spring and spread from one location to another. And after letting the leaves grow bushy, the flowers also add it’s ornamental beauty to the home.

What Is the Lowest Temperature Catnip Can Tolerate?

Strikingly, catnip can very well survive in part shade and tolerate freezing weather; it prefers the ideal temperature of 55 and 85 degrees.

Catnip can also survive the harshest of cold weather and even survives hard frost. So telling us that there is no temperature limit cannot cross if appropriate winterizing of catnip is carried out.


Considering all that you have read, l hope it is clear that catnip is a perennial, yes, a short-lived herbaceous perennial that can survive multiple growing seasons.

And not just something loved by and cultivated solely for cats, but also a man for so many purposes. And that you now understand that catnip can grow every year by flowering and reseeding during winter, which then dies and then comes back again during spring for another life cycle.

Although there are many for you cutting catnip, depending on your reasons, it could either be for the sake of pruning it or for the aim of harvesting. Yet I hope I  have firmly established that it can grow back, most especially from stems much more and quicker than from single leaves.

In winterizing catnip, you have come to see that you can do it by cutting back down the catnip plant just before the temperature reaches 40 degrees, removing the weeds, and covering the root to shield it from the effect of the temperature.

And you have finally come to see that your letting catnip to the flower will be based on whether you want it to spread out or remain in a particular position.

And also, the catnip plant has no limit to its low-temperature tolerance for as long as appropriate winterizing is done.


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