Catnip dying yet again

blanditronJuly 15, 2014

I've posted on this catnip patch before, but apparently I'm still a gardening "noob" because I have no idea what I'm doing wrong here.

I'm having trouble with my catnip again - after it all died off last summer, it finally came back in the winter. The seeds that had fallen germinated and resulted in a beautiful catnip bed for my cats to play in.

Then I read somewhere on line that if you prune your catnip back it will keep growing year-round. So I trimmed all the plants. Oops. Now my catnip is dying off again.

Is this something that catnip "just does" every year? I wasn't aware that it was an "annual" - I thought it could live from year to year. Is it the late summer Arizona heat that's killing it? Have I over or under watered it? I've been very careful with it and haven't changed my watering or fertilizing routine (10 minutes a day and Miracle Gro All Purpose Plant Food every 2 weeks.) The only difference was the trimming I did.

What can I do to salvage this catnip, or do I need to wait and start over again this winter?

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Several things ...

1 - It prefers afternoon shade in Az. It's cooking.

2 - You are watering too often and too little. The frequent short waterings keep the top few inches of the soil moist, so that's where the roots stay, and the heat kills them. Water it once or twice a week, until the dirt (as tested by a moisture meter) is wet 8-10 inches deep.

OR, if you are in one of the clay-dirt areas of the valley, it's overwatered.

Either way, check with a moisture meter and adjust your watering.

3 - Doesn't need that much fertilizer.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Short lived, self seeding annual...if it has flowered then it is normal for it to die I expect.

You don't say where you live in AZ, but in the lower areas may have more than one crop annually...maybe others with experience can say.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:15PM
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Actually I've found a couple of sources on the web (where all reliable information comes from - lol) that suggest that catnip is a "short lived herbaceous perennial", so I guess it won't live forever but it has the capability to live for more than two years. I am going to try watering it every two days and see if that makes a difference (based on lazygardens' suggestion that it may be overwatered.)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:36PM
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If I let catnip get more than 2-3 hours of sunlight in a row, it always dies like this in the summer for me. All my catnip plants died this year because I tried to give them a little too much sun.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:14AM
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I raise my catnip like I do the mints, more shade, no direct az sun, it fries it..I water it slow and deep about two times a week, and no fertilizer, as the cats eat it and am afraid to have them ingest any of that..twice a year I do side dress with some bone/blood meal.about four times a year,.but it can't take the summer sun at all down here in the low seems to reseed itself pretty well.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 12:44PM
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@iAndy, @quotetheraven - thanks for the additional input. It does seem like it's just getting fried by the sun - I'll hit Home Depot this weekend and see if I can pick up some kind of a sunscreen for it. I would hate to lose it all like I did last year (and my cats would hate it even more!)


    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:04PM
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The temperature zoomed to 112 yesterday and really hammered what was left of the catnip. To give it a fighting chance I put up an emergency sun shield. The rest of the patch is between two houses and only gets 2-3 hours of sun a day - I'm hoping that at least some of the plants will survive the rest of the summer.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:04PM
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