By: Amy Grant
Catnip,Nepeta cataria, is a hardy perennialherb that will drive your feline friends wild. It is a no-fuss, easy-to-growmember of the mint family that requires little maintenance. What about pruningcatnip plants though? Is cutting back catnip necessary? Read on to find outabout pruning catnip plants and, if need be, how to prune catnip.
Catnip will grow well in almost any soil but prefers amoderately rich loam that is well-draining. This herb prefers full sun but willtolerate partial shade. Water young plants twice a week but as they establish,reduce watering to once a week depending upon weather conditions.
Really, that’s about it with regards to caring for theseherbs, with the exception of pruning catnip plants. If you’re asking, “when shouldI prune catnip,” or even why, then here’s your answer:
Catnip blooms and sets seeds profusely and, as such, is arather aggressive self-sower. If you do not want catnip all over the place, itis best to prune the flowers as they begin to fade before they go to seed.
Once the herb flowers, catnip tends to look downrightscraggly. Cutting back catnip will restore the plant. Prune after the firstround of blooming to encourage a second flowering prior to winter.
Then, after the first frost, you can cut the plants down to3-4 inches (8-10 cm.) in height, which will encourage new growth in the spring.
Staying on top of catnip pruning is a great way to keep theplant in bounds. Keep in mind, however, that catnip can also be easily grown incontainers too.
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Steph is a certified Square Food Gardening Instructor who has been gardening for more than 10 years in Canada where the winters are long and cold, and the summers are unpredictable. She is a volunteer for her community's Incredible Edible project. In the past she created an educational gardening space for seniors and taught classes at a local community center where she created her own curriculum and activities. She participated in several local municipal garden days where she set up a booth to educate citizens about the joy of gardening.
I’ve never failed at growing beans. Even when I’m careless in my planting, and the weather goes a little haywire, I end up with a sizeable harvest. In other words, beans are easy to grow – and edamame is no exception.
Edamame is the first bean I planted when I started gardening. Although shelling them was a massive pain in the butt, the exceptional flavor was well worth the punishing task of hand shelling them all.
If you love to nosh on a pile of steamed, salted pods, or if you’re hoping to make your own tofu, learning all about growing edamame is the first step to success.
Catnip can be planted in your garden in spring or fall, from seed or plants. It will sprout in two to three weeks if started from seed. Cutting back the plants after the first bloom set will allow enough time for it to completely regrow and bloom again.
Some species of Nepeta will spread out of control unless you take measures to keep them from doing so. To contain and shape catnip plants, pinch them often while they are growing to obtain dense, well-shaped plants. The plants will also reseed all over your property if you let them and you will have new plants springing up in unexpected places for years to come. To prevent the plant from blooming, simply pinch off the top of the plant when flowers start to form.
To avoid damage from unwelcome neighborhood cats, consider protecting your catnip with some type of enclosure. Insects and rodents are not a problem, and catnip does not tend to suffer diseases.
While some perennials can be difficult to grow from seed, catnip is not. The catnip seeds typically have a good germination rate and are very inexpensive to buy.
You’ll need to start your catnip seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before you plant them outside, which will be after the danger of frost has passed.
In order to grow from seed, you’ll need seed-starting flats, a good seed starter mix, and lighting (fluorescent lights and sunny windows with full sun both work fine).
Start by soaking your seeds overnight or up to 24 hours. You can do this by getting a paper towel wet, squeezing out excess water, and laying out your seeds on one half of the towel.
Fold the paper towel over so that the seeds are sandwiched, and store them in a plastic bag until you’re ready to sow.
Get your planting flats ready by moistening your seed starter mix with water. Mix in water until the soil just holds together in a clump when you squeeze it with your hand. You don’t want the soil to be either dry or soaking wet.
Growing catnip from seed is easy and will give you lots of catnip plants for you and your cats to enjoy. Soak the seeds before planting them, and you’ll see germination in 7-10 days.
Fill up your trays with your starter mix and drop them lightly on a hard surface to get rid of any air pockets. Add more mix if needed and level out the top of the soil so that it’s flat.
Once your trays for the plants are ready, you can get your pre-soaked seeds out. Put one seed into each cell or sow in rows if you have open flats. Lightly press the seeds into the soil and cover with a sprinkle of extra soil but no more than that.
Once you’ve finished sowing the catnip, water the trays and put them somewhere warm to germinate. If you have them, you can put plastic covers over the trays to keep the soil moist.
Your seeds should start germinating in 7-10 days, so be on the lookout. Once the growing plants sprout, remove the plastic covers if you have them on and move the trays under lighting or into a sunny spot.
Keep the soil moist but not overly wet and let them continue to grow. If you sowed in rows, you’ll need to start thinning your seedlings so that there’s a few inches between each one.
Once your seedlings have been growing for a few weeks, you’ll need to transplant them to larger pots so the plants can grow into the full-sized plants. You can use 8-12” round, plastic pots and a good potting soil for this step.
Moisten the potting soil like you did for the seed starting mix. Fill up your pots almost to the top.
Make a hole in the center of one pot that will just fit a seedling. Then, take a seedling out of your trays, put it in the hole, and pack around it with soil. Repeat this process until all your growing seedlings are transplanted.
Transplant your growing seedlings from the trays to plastic pots like these ones. Let them continue to grow in the pots until you’re ready to plant outside.
Water your new transplants and keep the pots under lighting or on a sunny ledge inside your house.
About a week before you’re ready to plant, you can take the pots outside during the daytime so that the plants can gradually get accustomed to the elements. This is called hardening off and needs to be done to reduce transplant shock when you actually plant them.
The Princess flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) is native to Brazil and South America. The large purple flowers bloom in the months from May to January. It is a warm-weather plant requiring full sun for the best growth. In colder areas it will grow to the size of a small bush. Flowering in these areas occurs in the late summer months.
This plant can be pruned or shaped at anytime to maintain its growth. This plant tends to be "leggy," which describes the growth of certain branches to be higher and faster than others. Pinching or the snapping off of the longer stems will help to round out the plant and allow other ends of the stems to bud and produce flowers.
Once a branch starts growing away from the main plant, simply pinch off the excess stem so that the branch heals and starts its growth again. In the meantime, this will allow other surrounding branches to catch up and grow. This will round out the plant, giving each stem room to bud and bloom. As the plant grows in size, more branching will occur. This is also anticipated as the smaller branches of the original stem are allowed to grow and will also produce flowers.