Catmint is a hardy, herbaceous perennial that needs very little extra care or maintenance during the winter. This plant goes dormant and will die back completely in the coldest of the hardiness zones. Catmint may stay semi-evergreen in warmer climates. The plant still goes dormant, but for a shorter period of time.
Protecting Catmint in Winter
Mulching Catmint is really the only extra protection needed in the winter. After cutting the top growth to 4-6 inches above the ground, a 2-3 inch mulch of leaves or finely shredded bark around the base of the plant will insulate the roots and crown. The mulch will need to be pulled away from the crown in the spring so that new growth is not disturbed.
Cutting Back Catmint For Winter
Cutting back Catmint in the fall is typically done in the colder hardiness zones. This makes spring cleanup easier, and plants can be mulched for winter protection. Alternatively, the dead foliage can be left in place during the winter to shelter overwintering insects. The dead plant material will also insulate and protect the crown from heavy winter rains and wind.
Catmint Winter Care in Pots
Plants grown in containers have less protection in the winter than plants in the ground. Catmint is very hardy and will do well in a container. The only real problem to look out for is waterlogged soil or the pot sitting in standing water. Catmint is dormant throughout the winter, but the root system will be damaged if left sitting in water. Moving the pot to a sheltered position or placing it up on bricks will aid drainage. There is no need to move Catmint into an unheated greenhouse or garage.
Watering catmint in Winter
Catmint in the ground will not need extra watering during the winter. As long as the root ball doesn't dry out completely, dormant perennials survive without much extra attention. Catmint in pots may need a little watering if the pot is not getting any rain water. This is typically only an issue in the warmest of the hardiness zones.
Growing Catmint Indoors
Catmint doesn't grow well indoors. The natural dormancy period will happen no matter how much of an artificial atmosphere you try to provide. Winter dormancy helps the plant prepare for vigorous regrowth in the spring.
Steps To Care For Catmint inWinter
Catmint is one of the lowest-maintenance perennials in the garden. Winter care involves very few tasks and will set the stage for a healthy, vigorous plant in the spring.
Step 1 - Cut back top growthin the fall or the spring
Step 2 - Leave top growth on through the winter if gardening in the warmer hardiness zones
Step 3 - Spread 2-3 inches of mulch around the base of the plant for added insulation
Step 4 - Be sure to remove any mulch from the crown of the plant early in the spring before the new growth emerges
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