How to Dry Catnip (An Updated Guide)
Drying catnip is essential to keeping its essential oils. However, if you dry it too quickly, these oils may be lost, causing you to waste your herb. Also, drying catnip in too humid an area may cause mold growth, so it is vital to know how to dry catnip properly. The ideal humidity level for drying catnip is 45 to 55%.
Harvesting Catnip Before It Flowers
Harvesting catnip before it flowers is an ideal time of year for a healthy crop. While the plant can be harvested anytime during the growing season, the oils are at their highest concentration during the flowering cycle. The easiest way to dry catnip is to bundle the stems upside down and hang them in a cool place. You can also dry it in an oven on low heat.
Harvesting catnip before it flowers is best when the plant is at least 6 inches tall. The flowers and leaves should be bright green, and not yellow. The stems should also be covered with a sticky substance called nectar, which comes from glands at the base of the flower petals. This substance is highly attractive to bees and butterflies. Once harvested, you should store the stalks and flowers in an airtight container and store them for later use.
Catnip grows well in a variety of soil types. It grows best in soil that is well-drained and is pH-balanced at around 6.6. Plants should be spaced about 18-24 inches apart. In a hot climate, choose a partial shade location where the sun does not heat the soil too much.
Catnip is an annual plant that thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones three through nine. It grows on square stems, similar to those of mint, and has small, toothed leaves and flowers. Some varieties are more desirable for medicinal or ornamental use. The best variety for pleasing cats is white catnip, which has flowers that are white with a faint purple spotting. It is native to Europe and has become naturalized throughout the U.S.
If you want to dry your catnip plant, it’s important to cut the leaves off just below the soil line. This will allow air to circulate between the leaves and will ensure the scent of your dried catnip remains as fresh as possible. Once it’s dry, it can be stored in an airtight container and can last for several months.
Pruning catnip is a simple process that promotes bushier growth and encourages the plant to bloom more often. It also prevents the plant from getting leggy. Cats enjoy the process of pruning, and it can help you grow more of your favorite catnip.
For best results, start by cutting back new growth before fall. This will prevent cold weather from wreaking havoc on your plant. Cut back the new shoots, but be careful not to prune too much at one time. Younger shoots are less likely to survive the winter, and they will weaken the plant. If you have a mature plant, it might need repotting to a larger container.
While this method is not for beginners, it’s worth a try if you’re looking to dry your catnip. The smell is reminiscent of thyme, mint, and lemon. It’s also effective in repelling insects, and it can attract pollinating insects as well.
You can harvest the catnip plant by either cutting off the stalks, or cutting the entire plant off above the base. Alternatively, you can pluck individual flowers and leaves from the plant. This will allow you to use the dried catnip in sachets, teas, and even cat toys. However, you should be careful not to let your cat eat the leaves.
Drying Catnip In The Sun
Drying catnip in the sun can be a simple process if you have enough sunlight. If not, you may need to make use of other methods. In general, it is best to dry catnip out of direct sunlight and avoid drying it in great heat. The heat and light will destroy the essential oils that make catnip so valuable.
To dry catnip, cut off the leaves and stalks with scissors. Then, place the leaves and stems in a paper bag. Then, place the bag in a dark room. Keep the bag out of the sun. This process will dry the catnip out and make it available to your cat.
Another option for drying catnip is to microwave it. Using a microwave can be a quick and easy way to dry catnip. Simply lay a layer of paper towel on top of the dried flowers and microwave them for one to two minutes on high. You can use the dried catnip as a decorative item, a tea for your cat, or a culinary spice.
Drying catnip in the sun can also be a great way to store excess catnip for later use. Catnip has a pleasant effect on humans, and many people find it to be very pleasant. Similarly, a cat’s response to catnip varies. Some cats like to roll in it, others chew it, and some even want to eat it.
Once dried, catnip should be stored in an airtight container. Otherwise, the aroma will lose its potency. An airtight mason jar works best for this. Ideally, catnip should be purchased from a wild source, as it is free of chemical treatments and pesticides.
Drying catnip is an easy way to preserve it for a long time. To do this, gather up several stems and bundle them up. Hang the bundles in an interior closet or garage to dry. This process usually takes a week or more. Be sure not to cut the stems.
Another way to dry catnip is by placing it in the sun. This method is best if there is a lot of direct sun, but it can be challenging during the other seasons. Cut the stems of the catnip into pieces and place them on a cookie sheet, or use tin foil. In case you don’t have access to sunlight, you can also use a metal plate or a car windshield. Once dried, place the dried catnip in a plastic bag and store it away.
After the catnip is dried, store it in a dark, cool place. It is best to pick it when it is eight to twelve inches tall. Harvesting catnip is easier when the stems are young, and you don’t need to remove the flowers. You can use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors to snip off about six to eight inches of twig. The mature plant can be pruned, but young plants should remain intact to produce more catnip and set deep roots.
If you can’t find a drying cabinet or an oven, you can try air-drying catnip. It takes a little longer than air-drying catnip, but it does work. Just make sure to check the drying process frequently. If the catnip gets too dry, it might scorch, so it’s best to remove it early.