Lemon Catnip Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
lemon catmint
lemon catmint
lemon catmint
lemon catmint
lemon catmint
lemon catmint


Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora', commonly known as Lemon Catnip, is a distinct variety of the traditional catnip renowned for its citrusy scent. The plant is characterized by its hearty green foliage. Leaves are soft, heart-shaped to oval, and have a somewhat scalloped edge, with a fine fur-like fuzz covering the surface that lends a soft, velvety texture. When crushed, these leaves release a strong, lemony fragrance that is often more appealing to people compared to the classic catnip scent. In addition to its aromatic leaves, Lemon Catnip produces spikes of small, delicate flowers. These blossoms can range in color from white to a pale lavender or pink hue, and they are typically dotted with tiny purple spots. The flowers grow in whorls along the top portion of the plant's stems and attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. The stems of Lemon Catnip are square in cross-section—a trait common to members of the mint family—and the plant possesses a branching habit which contributes to its bushy appearance. Lemon Catnip, when left to grow naturally, takes on a relaxed, sprawling shape that blends easily into herb gardens, borders, or as a pleasantly aromatic ground cover.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Lemon Catnip, Lemon Catmint.

    • Common names

      Nepeta cataria var. citriodora (Beck) Balb., Glechoma cataria (L.) Kuntze, Cataria vulgaris Moench, Glechoma cataria (L.) E.H.L.Krause, Nepeta citriodora Beck.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Lemon catnip is generally regarded as safe for humans and is not known to be toxic. It's actually used in traditional herbal medicine and culinary applications. However, in rare cases and when consumed in very large quantities, some people may experience mild discomfort or gastrointestinal issues like stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    • To pets

      Lemon catnip is specifically known for its effects on cats, as it is a variation of the common catnip plant. It's not considered toxic to cats; rather, it typically induces a temporary state of euphoria or hyperactivity due to a natural chemical compound in the plant called nepetalactone. The effects usually wear off after about 10 to 15 minutes, and it's generally harmless. However, excessive ingestion could potentially lead to mild gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea or vomiting, in some cats.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts pollinators: Emits a scent that lures bees and butterflies, thus aiding in pollination of garden plants.
    • Repels certain insects: Natural essential oils in the plant can deter mosquito and other insect pests.
    • Easy to grow: Requires minimal care and adapts well to a variety of soils and conditions.
    • Culinary uses: Leaves can be used to add a lemony flavor to dishes.
    • Decorative: Its lavender-colored flowers and green foliage can add aesthetic value to gardens and landscapes.
    • Aromatic: Foliage releases a pleasant, citrus-like fragrance when brushed against or crushed, which can be enjoyed in the garden or in the home.
    • Companion planting: Can be planted alongside other herbs and vegetables to enhance growth and flavor.
    • Provides habitat: Dense foliage offers shelter to beneficial insects and small garden animals.
    • Stress-relief: The fragrance from the plant is considered soothing and can be used for relaxation purposes in the garden setting.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Calming Effect: Lemon Catnip, which is another common name for Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora', may have mild sedative properties that help in calming the nerves and reducing anxiety.
    • Stomach Relief: It is thought to alleviate issues like indigestion, gas, and cramping, although there is a lack of strong clinical evidence.
    • Sleep Aid: Due to its potential sedative effects, it might be used to promote better sleep, though this use is based on traditional rather than scientific evidence.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Compounds in Lemon Catnip may possess anti-inflammatory properties that could be beneficial in reducing inflammation.
    • Insect Repellent: While not a direct medical property, the natural chemical constituents of Lemon Catnip, specifically nepetalactone, could repel certain insects, indirectly reducing the risk of insect-borne diseases.
    Please note that the medical uses of plants can vary greatly depending on cultural traditions and scientific evidence. Always consult with a healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • As a natural insect repellent: Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora', commonly known as lemon catnip, can repel certain insects such as mosquitoes and cockroaches due to its citronella-like scent.
    • In culinary applications: The leaves of lemon catnip may be used in small quantities to add a lemony flavor to salads, soups, and sauces.
    • As a flavoring in beverages: Lemon catnip can be used to infuse water or to make a calming herbal tea with a citrusy twist.
    • For composting: The plant can be added to compost piles to enrich the compost with nutrients and possibly deter pests.
    • As a garden companion plant: Lemon catnip can attract beneficial insects such as lacewings and parasitic wasps that help control garden pests.
    • In potpourri: Dried leaves and flowers of lemon catnip can be included in potpourri mixes for a refreshing citrus scent in the home.
    • In crafts: The leaves and flowers can be used in making natural dyes or included in paper-making for texture and scent.
    • As a soil fumigant: When planted in the garden, lemon catnip's strong aroma may help reduce soil-borne pests and diseases.
    • For educational purposes: Lemon catnip plants can be used to demonstrate plant-insect interactions to students, particularly its famous effect on cats.
    • As a relaxation aid for pets: Beyond just stimulating cats, the leaves can be placed in pet bedding to help soothe and relax pets due to its gentle sedative properties.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Lemon balm is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Lemon balm is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Relaxation: As a member of the mint family, Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora', commonly known as Lemongrass Catnip, is often associated with its calming and soothing properties, much like its relative catnip that has a relaxing effect on cats.
    • Playfulness: Lemongrass Catnip is synonymous with fun and playfulness due to its effect on felines. It often induces a state of euphoria and encourages play, symbolizing joy and light-heartedness.
    • Happiness: The plant's ability to induce pleasure in cats extends its symbolism to happiness in the human context, representing an uplift in spirits and a general sense of well-being.
    • Herbal Healing: Given its use in herbalism, Lemongrass Catnip symbolizes natural healing and the use of herbs to promote health and treat ailments.
    • Attracting Positivity: In some traditions, any form of catnip is considered to bring good luck and positivity into a home, much like how it attracts cats.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Lemon Catnip requires even moisture and should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This plant generally needs watering once every week, but this may vary depending on weather conditions; in hot, dry periods, watering frequency might increase. Aim to provide about 1 gallon of water per square yard of soil each time you water, ensuring that the moisture penetrates deeply to reach the roots. During winter or cooler months, reduce watering as the plant will require less moisture due to slower growth and evaporation rates.

  • sunLight

    Lemon Catnip thrives in full sun to light shade, so the best spot for the plant would be an area where it can receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. However, in extremely hot climates, some afternoon shade can help protect the plant from intense heat. Avoid deep shade locations since insufficient light can lead to poor growth and fewer blooms.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Lemon Catnip grows best in a temperature range of 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can withstand temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for robust growth is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure the plant is protected from frost to avoid damage to the foliage and roots.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Lemon Catnip is essential for maintaining plant shape and encouraging dense, bushy growth. Prune lightly in the spring to remove any dead or damaged growth after the last frost and then again after the initial flowering to promote a second bloom. Pruning can be done every few weeks during the growing season to keep the plant tidy and encourage continuous flowering.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Lemon Catnip prefers well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. A mix of two parts potting soil to one part sand or perlite encourages good drainage. Compost can be added to provide nutrients.

  • plantRepotting

    Lemon Catnip should be repotted every 1 to 2 years or when it outgrows its current container, to refresh the soil and allow for continued growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Lemon Catnip thrives in average room humidity. As a member of the mint family, it is quite adaptable and does not require high humidity levels.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Lemon Catnip near a sunny window and water sparingly.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in a sunny, well-drained spot after the last frost.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Lemon Catnip (Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora') begins its life cycle with seed germination, which occurs best in early spring after the last frost or in late fall. After germination, seedlings emerge and establish a rosette of leaves at the soil surface. As the plant matures, stems elongate, and Lemon Catnip enters its vegetative growth stage, developing characteristic fuzzy, heart-shaped, green leaves with a lemon scent when crushed. The flowering stage follows, usually in late spring to early summer, where whorls of small, lavender to white flowers appear in spike-like inflorescences, attracting bees and butterflies. After pollination, the flowers produce small, brown nutlet seeds that can be dispersed by wind or animals, completing the reproductive cycle. Once the growing season ends, Lemon Catnip enters a period of dormancy, especially in cooler climates, with the above-ground parts dying back and the plant overwintering through its roots or self-sown seeds.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora', commonly known as Lemon Catnip, is through seed sowing. To propagate Lemon Catnip, begin by sowing seeds indoors in a seed-starting mix approximately 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Scatter the seeds on the soil surface and lightly press them into the mix, as they need some light to germinate. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Seeds generally sprout within 7 to 10 days at room temperature of around 65-70°F (18-21°C). Once the seedlings have developed several true leaves and there is no risk of frost, they can be transplanted outdoors into well-drained soil with ample sunlight. Seed propagation is not only cost-effective but also allows for the preservation of specific plant characteristics.