kellybaby(z6 CT)May 17, 2006

Hi Everyone:

I have a quick question - last weekend, my daughter and I went to the local Home Depot to pick up a few plants. One of the plants she wanted was catnip (we have a cat). The place was so busy and I picked up the container that said catnip on the tag, not really paying attention. When we got it home, I rubbed the leaves and they had a scent of kinda minty/lemony. Now, I went online to see what the leaves of catnip look like and it does look like it, but the scent is throwing me off. Does catnip have that kind of smell? Also, the cat hardly looked at the plant. I did read that the plant will give off a scent if rubbed, but I didn't think it was that kind of smell.

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could be lemon balm, which is a relative and looks similar. More than this, I'd need a picture.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 11:10AM
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There is also a Lemon Catmint that looks like regular Catnip. If your plant has a "skunky" smell(don't know how else to describe it, though not as bad as real skunk) in addition to the lemon, it is probably Lemon Catmint. If it just has a nice lemony scent, it is probably Lemon Balm. Just the skunky smell(which goes away when dried) would be the Catnip and your cat would be all over it. I've grown all three and done numerous cat tests :D All three have similar leaves, but I believe the Catnip leaves are larger than the other two although this may depend on growing conditions. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 3:52PM
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Just to add to the confusion. Catmint (Nepeta faassenii) is often also commonly called Catnip, and while some cats go for it, a lot don't. Its smell is much more pleasant than that of Catnip, which is Nepeta cataria. If you really want your cat to go ape over a plant, get Catgrass (Dactylis glomerata).

Catnip and Catmint are two plants which are commonly incorrectly labelled.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 5:36PM
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granite(z6 NC)

Here is a picture of catmint(Nepeta mussinii), it is in the right hand side of the picture.

Mine blooms regularly from spring to fall and stays in a neat small cushion shape. I also have six hills giant catmint (Nepeta faassenii) which does resemble catnip more but has no strong scent.
Catmint (Nepeta mussinii) has a nice mint scent and is good in dried arrangements and potpourri, but do NOT put it in a arrangement in water or it will make the water smell like sewer. I don't know why it has that bad habit when it smells so great dry!

Catnip has a "fug" smell to it, and is a tall gangly plant.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 9:19AM
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nightwatcher(Zone 5 Ohio)

I have catnip (Nepeta cataria) in my yard to use as a mosquito repellent. It works. I live in a rural area and in the past, whenever the farmer planted corn in a field west of my property, the mosquitoes would attack me in great numbers. I had to cover myself with Deet. If I missed a spot applying the Deet, the mosquitoes would go after my ears for example. It got so bad that I bought one of those propane foggers to clear out my backyard of mosquitoes. The mosquitoes must love corn fields. Whenever the farmer planted soy beans, the mosquito population wasn't so bad.

I read about catnip (Nepeta cataria) being a great natural mosquito repellent so I bought a pound of seeds and planted catnip seeds on the west part of my yard, next to the farmer's field. After about 2 years, the catnip spread like crazy. It became invasive in a way. I believe that birds eat the seeds because I had catnip growing in my front garden (east). I pull out catnip where I don't want it. My catnip grows over 5 feet tall and I use those 5 foot tall tomato cages to keep it upright.
Another thing about my catnip, it has a mild scent of a skunk when I walk through it or when a breeze blows through it.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2014 at 6:52PM
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