Nepeta / catmint

Genus: Nepeta

Common Name: Catmint


Nepeta spp. (catnip, catmint) is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, but has naturalized widely across North America. Catnip or catmint is routinely cultivated as an ornamental plant for use in gardens. It is also grown for its attractant qualities to house cats (which can sometimes be problematic when attempting to establish this plant in a home garden!) and butterflies.


Many cultivars of Nepeta species are available in nurseries across North America, all of which attract a variety of native bees, including bumble bees, sweat bees, and carder bees. These plants are generally drought tolerant and deer resistant.


The larvae of several butterfly and moth species use Nepeta as a food plant.


Native Regions

Naturalized nationwide, the United States and Canada, except Florida and outlying northern Canadian territories



Routinely available





Bloom Time

Spring through late summer


Average Height

1 foot


Flower Color




Full sun


Water Requirements

Average to dry


Recommended Species

Nepeta cataria (catnip, catmint) is naturalized across North America and sold routinely as an ornamental plant for home gardens. Numerous cultivars exist, most growing to about 12 inches and creating a low spreading mound of silver foliage. The plant produces abundant wands of lavender flowers continuously from spring through late summer. This is a low-maintenance plant, its nectar attracting many native bee and butterfly species.


Nepeta x Faassenii (six hills giant) is a popular hybrid catmint, which grows considerably larger than regular catnip, usually to 2-2.5 feet, with a 3 foot spread. It is widely available in nurseries across the United States. It is a free-flowering vigorous perennial variety, which blooms continuously from spring through early fall. Long wands of lavender flowers shoot from a mound of silver-grey leaves. It is very attractive to numerous species of spring and summer native bees seeking nectar.

bee Visitors

Andrena / Mining Bee

Anthidium / Carder Bee

Anthophora / Digger Bee

Bombus / Bumble Bee

Ceratina / Small Carpenter Bee

Coelioxys / Cuckoo Bee

Hylaeus / Yellow Faced Bee

Megachile / Leafcutter Bee

Melissodes / Long-horned Bee

Lasioglossum / Sweat Bee

Osmia / Mason Bee

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