A photo of Catmint in a Green Witch's Enchanted Garden with a delicate red ladybug crawling on the stem of the purple and green plant.

A Green Witch's Garden Part 2: Distinguishing Between Catmint & Catnip

Welcome back. Last time, we embarked on an exploration of the multifaceted Catmint plant, discussing its unique properties, rich history, and potential uses. Today, we're diving deeper, armed with curiosity and a keen eye for detail.

You see, Catmint has a doppelgänger, a botanical relative so close it often leads to confusion—its cousin, Catnip. From wilderness trails to garden center aisles, being able to distinguish between these two plants can truly enhance your herbal journey.

So here we are, ready for another engaging discussion. Are you? Let's dive in.

Herbal Cousins: Catmint & Catnip

A closeup image of Catmint displaying its delicate bell-shaped purple flowers in a Green Witch's Enchanted Garden.

A closeup of my garden's Catmint ally named "Bast".

In the realm of herbal witchcraft, two relatives from the mint family hold a special place: Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii) and Catnip (Nepeta cataria). Despite their shared lineage and similar features, these two magical herbs carry distinct vibrations and are called upon for different intentions.

Catmint, bearing charming blue-violet blossoms, graces gardens not only with its beauty but also with its magical attributes. Traditionally associated with love, beauty, and happiness, it's often employed in spells to attract these energies. The plant's aromatic flowers serve as a beacon to pollinators, symbolizing a spiritual magnet for attracting your desires.

Catnip, its bewitching cousin, is best known for its mesmerizing effect on cats, compelling them into a state of feline euphoria. This enchantment power extends to the magical world as well, where it's often utilized in spells for charm, beauty, and attracting good spirits and luck.

Growth & Energy: The Nature of Catmint and Catnip

A closeup of a Catmint's unique heart-shaped blue-green foliage in a Green Witch's Enchanted Garden.

A close-up of Bast's unique heart-shaped foliage.

The pair both possess grey-green leaves and a strong, minty aroma, contributing to their magical interchangeability. Yet, they each command unique respect in the witch's garden and spellwork. Belonging to the Nepeta genus - named after an ancient Etruscan city - they are part of a family of about 250 species, each carrying its own energy and potential.

Catmint, with its more compact and orderly growth, resonates with energies of balance and harmony, making it a delightful addition to any garden or altar space. Its long-lasting blooms signify persistence and endurance in the face of challenges.

Catnip, in contrast, grows in a wild and sprawling manner, embodying untamed energy and freedom. Though its flowers are less consistent, they hold a potent charm, symbolizing the unpredictability and beauty of life's surprises.

Most notably, Catnip has an unrivaled allure for cats due to its high concentration of the volatile oil nepetalactone. This compound has a psychoactive effect on our feline friends, making it a powerful tool in animal magic and communication. Catmint also contains this compound but in much lower concentrations, making its effects subtler and more gentle.

Catmint Vs. Catnip: Spot the Difference!

A photo depicting a side by side of image of Catnip (left) and Catmint (right) to display their subtle differences.

Noticing the difference between Catmint and Catnip is easier than you think! Here are the key features to help you out:

  • Shape: Catmint plants usually grow in a neat, round shape. Catnip, on the other hand, is a bit wilder - standing taller with a more open, upright pattern.
  • Size: Catmint and Catnip might be cousins, but Catnip often outgrows Catmint. While Catmint usually reaches up to 2-3 feet, Catnip can stretch up to 4 feet.
  • Leaves: Both plants sport similar heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Yet, they wear different shades of green: Catmint opts for a chic gray-green or grayish-white, while Catnip flaunts a vibrant green.
  • Flowers: Both plants display tiny, hooded blooms in clusters. They often share a similar white or pale purple color palette.

So, next time you're in the garden or nursery, remember these points to spot whether it's Catmint or its taller, greener cousin Catnip!

Wrapping Up

A photo depicting the harvesting of a Green Witch's Catmint plant as she places the flowers and leaves on a piece of clean cloth in a basket using a pair of copper scissors with swan-shaped handles.

Harvesting a few leaves and flowers from Bast to be dried for tea

While Catmint and Catnip may seem interchangeable at first glance, each plant boasts unique energies and magical properties. Deepening your understanding of these herbal cousins allows you to harness their full spiritual potential in both your garden and spellwork.

As we continue on this enlightening botanical journey together, our next stop will focus exclusively on the Catmint plant. We'll delve into practical guidance and valuable insights for not only planting and caring for this fascinating plant ally but also forging a profound bond with it. Until then, happy gardening!


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Related Posts:

A Green Witch's Garden: An Introduction to the Spiritual & Medicinal Uses of Catmint Part I

From Garden to Altar: How to Make Loose Incense from Flowers

Plant a Seed, Cultivate a Dream: A Green Guide to Magical Self-Manifestation

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