MAY 2001

Lemon Catnip – Nepeta cataria v. citrata

Origin: Variation of the heirloom catnip. Developed in Holland 



These lemon-scented leaves get a big non-opposable thumbs-up from our resident catnip expert, Mini-Me. You can use them dried or fresh from the plant. Lemon catnip offers an added attraction that traditional catnip does not. Your feline friend will get a buzz from the "nip" portion, and then the fresh lemony smell  kicks in, giving them lots of olfactory enjoyment. Many zoos use lemon extract as scent enrichment or treat for the big cats. In my opinion, lemon catnip works as well if not better because it is a natural rather than a synthetic extract. 

 A perennial, lemon catnip, grows two to three feet in height. They can be grown in containers or outsides in zones 3 – 7. As adult plants, they are fairly drought tolerant and do well in partial to full sun.  The only "pest" that I know of for these hardy plants are impatient kitties.

 In addition, catnip is known to be used medicinally (for humans) as a digestive or sleeping aid. The lemon-scented leaves brew up to make fine tea.  Try a plant or two, and enjoy its benefits along with your feline friends.