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Is Catmint Invasive? Does It Spread Quickly? [Solved]

Catmints (Nepeta) accompany some houseplants, including Peonies, Roses, Coreopsis, and Delphiniums, but they can be obstacles for others. 

Generally, most varieties of Catmints are fast-growing and can attain 1-3 feet in height and 1-2 feet in width. Thus, they become invasive when left unattended for a longer time.

But regular pruning and deadheading of the spent flowers will help you control the growth habit of the Catmints.

Is Catmint Perennial?

Catmints are soft, low-growing plants that spread over 2 feet, perfectly covering your garden edges.

Belonging to the Mint family, Lamiaceae, Catmints has a similar aroma and resemble Mint in their appearance and size. 

And interestingly, these are nontoxic to your pets and often used as a deterrent for your cat to keep away from other toxic plants like String of Pearls and Kalanchoe, hence the name Catmint.

A catmint plant in a garden.
The Catmint plant looks exactly like a Mint but with some vibrant blooms.

Catmints flaunt their heart-shaped green to gray foliage alongside the upright lavender pink, or blue flower spikes from USDA zone 3-9. 

But in the winter, the above-ground growth of the Catmints dies back.

Needless to worry, these vigorous growers return every spring as the temperature warms.

Generally, the perennial nature of the Catmints is due to the cold hardy roots that go dormant in the winter, protecting themselves from the frost. Also, the self-seeding nature of the plant helps them continue for years and years to come.

After the plants wake up from the dormant winter, Catmints continue growing.

Catmints can attain a size ranging from 1 to 3 feet and 1-2 feet wide, depending upon the varieties.

Moreover, they ensure a rapid growth pace from early spring till late fall, for which they are preferred as an edge and border plant.

However, the speed can sometimes backfire, leading the Catmint to spread quickly, taking over your entire garden.

Is Catmint Invasive?

The sweet nectar and purple flower of Catmints blooming all through the summer to autumn help attract pollinators like bees in the garden.

However, if the spent flowers remain as it is, they may self-seed and compete with other plants in your garden.

Further, the root division and rhizomes produce new shoots extending beyond the original plant allowing the plant to spread horizontally.

Although it’s still debatable whether the fast-growing Catmint is invasive, its spread may burden your garden if you do not inspect timely. 

Some varieties, like Nepeta siberica and Nepeta cataria, can spread vigorously after self-seeding.

While others like Purple Catmint, Walker’s Low Catmint, Persian blue Catmint, Neptune Catmint, Cat’s meow Catmint, and Cat’s pajamas may be more invasive.

How To Control Catmint From Spreading?

If gone widespread, Catmints can be terror the companion plants, so here is how you keep them under control.

  • Prune the Catmint plants regularly to prevent overgrowth and overcrowding. 
  • Dig up the Catmints and divide their roots into smaller clumps every 1-2 years to help control the size and spread of the plant.
  • Deadhead the flowers to completely discourage seed production as the plant can vigorously self-seed and turn invasive.
  • Add a layer of mulch to prevent the self-seeding. Plastic mulch acts as a barrier for the seeds from germinating and spreading.
  • Uproot the Catmint seedling if you notice them in any unwanted areas of your garden.
  • You may also choose to plant the Catmints in a 4 to 5 inches container to avoid their potential battle with your remaining garden plants.
  • If the infestation is severe and no other method seems to work, use glyphosate herbicides as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

From Editorial Team

Keep Distance From Mint Species!

Mints tend to cross-pollinate, which can result in unwanted hybridization.

Avoid planting different mint species near Catmints to maintain their distinct qualities.