Live to Plant

Catnip Plant Harvesting:
Optimal Time and Technique

Updated: June 22, 2022

As a cat owner or enthusiast, you may want to grow catnip in your garden to provide a source of entertainment for your furry friends. However, harvesting catnip can be a challenge. In this article, we will discuss the optimal time and technique for harvesting catnip plants.

When to Harvest Catnip Plants

The best time to harvest catnip plants is when they are in full bloom. The leaves and flowers of the plant contain nepetalactone, the compound responsible for attracting cats. Nepetalactone is at its highest concentration in the leaves and flowers just before the plant blooms.

Harvesting the plant after it has bloomed will not harm the plant, but the concentration of nepetalactone will decrease. Therefore, it is best to harvest the plant before it blooms.

How to Harvest Catnip Plants

To harvest catnip plants, you will need a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. Cut the stems of the plant just above a leaf node. A leaf node is where a leaf grows out of the stem. Cutting just above a leaf node encourages new growth and helps keep the plant healthy.

After cutting the stems, you can either dry the leaves and flowers or use them fresh. To dry them, tie the stems together and hang them upside down in a dry, dark place with good ventilation. Once they are fully dry, remove the leaves and flowers from the stems and store them in an airtight container.

Fresh catnip can be given to your cat as is, or you can crush the leaves and sprinkle them on their toys or scratching posts.


Can I harvest catnip more than once?

Yes, you can harvest catnip multiple times throughout its growing season. However, it is best to wait until the plant has fully regrown before harvesting again.

Can I harvest catnip in the morning or evening?

It is best to harvest catnip in the morning when the dew has dried. This will prevent the leaves and flowers from becoming moldy during the drying process.

How long does it take for catnip to dry?

It can take anywhere from a few days to a week for catnip to dry completely. The drying time will depend on the humidity and air circulation in the drying location.

Can I freeze fresh catnip?

Yes, you can freeze fresh catnip. However, freezing may affect the potency of the nepetalactone. It is best to use frozen catnip within six months.

In conclusion, harvesting catnip plants is easy with the right timing and technique. Harvesting before blooming and cutting just above a leaf node will ensure healthy new growth and maximum potency for your cats’ enjoyment.