This short article on catnips is dedicated to all felines, who are very fond of flowering Nepeta. We are encouraging everyone to plant a nice patch of ‘nip. Buyer Che says that “God-willing and the spittle bugs don’t rise” we will be carrying these varieties and more at Berkeley Hort. this season:

Nepeta racemosa ‘Walkers Low’
This low-growing variety only gets to about 2 ft. high. Spikes of lavender blue flowers rise above the soft, quilted leaves. Cats love it!

Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’
This ‘nip is a soft lavender blue, like the other varieties of the Faassen’s Catnip, but it is distinctly larger, to about 3 feet tall and equally wide. Dr. C. tells of wading through a bee-loud glade of this giant ‘nip in Scotland, an experience that should be possible to reproduce in any well-drained sunny or lightly shaded spot with adequate irrigation during dry spells. If you can’t immediately plant the seven hills of Rome with this variety, then how about some of the seven hills in San Francisco?

Nepeta x faassenii ‘Dropmore’
‘Dropmore’ blooms bright lavender-blue, and is half the height, or less, of its cousin ‘Six Hills Giant’. Its foliage is a bit greener than that of most catnips. Cut back after the first flush of bloom to encourage continued flowering. This one is great in containers, and also makes nice curtains for the knobby ankles of hybrid tea and other roses.

The main things to remember about the needs of most ‘nips is that they require what most kitties adore: sun, not too much water, and well-drained soil (though it needn’t be as well-draining as litter). Unlike kitties, they require very little food, and appreciate hard pruning in late spring.