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4 Business Ideas for Using Catnip as a Cash Crop

GardenExpert999 is a entrepreneur who likes finding ways of growing cash crops for business and pleasure.

Catnip plants

Catnip plants

Catnip as a Business

You don’t have to grow catnip to make a business from it, but if you do, you will have total control over the quality of your end product.

Whether you have one field, 20 fields, or just a large garden, you can grow commercial quantities of catnip.

The term “commercial quantity” is wide-ranging and largely depends on your sales. Should your sales exceed your ability to grow sufficient quantities, you can always subcontract the growing to a farmer or commercial grower, but you will lose that personal touch that allowed you to assure your product is completely organic (should you choose that route) with no wastage.

Should you choose to do so, it is possible to order any quantity of dried catnip you wish from established growers.

Product Ideas for Catnip Growers

Catnip has a multitude of possible business opportunities, ensuring no part of the plant is wasted in the process.

  • catnip leaves and flowers for cats
  • catnip essential oil
  • catnip seeds
  • catnip plants
Catnip contains a substance called nepetalactone which is irresistible to cats.

Catnip contains a substance called nepetalactone which is irresistible to cats.

1. Catnip for Cats

Catnip, Nepeta cataria, contains a substance called nepetalactone which is irresistible to cats.

While not all cats are affected, around 60% of them are, and this opens up a whole new market for you to sell bagged, dried catnip.

The reason most cat owners don’t grow it themselves is either because they don’t have garden space or because their cats destroy their plants every time they try to grow them.

Catnip plants attract a lot of bees and pollinating insects, but surprisingly few damaging insects. As a result, it is perfectly possible to grow them without the use of insecticides.

Even better, catnip plants naturally suppress weeds growing around them, so herbicides are quite unnecessary too.

This makes it possible for you to grow and sell your product without those potentially harmful chemicals while advertising that fact.

Cat lovers want the best for their pets, and you can sell it to them.

The stalks and stems of catnip plants are pointed and thick and contain next to no nepetalactone, and so are best removed before packaging.

Cat owners only want the leaves and flowers for their pets, with catnip blooms on their own ability to capture a higher price.

It is also possible to launch a brand by having a refillable catnip toy designed and made for you. You can guarantee future sales by offering refills at a discounted price.

2. Catnip Essential Oil

You can feel the oils in catnip plants simply by rubbing a leaf with your fingers. Your fingers feel very soft and slightly greasy immediately afterward if you rub your thumb and forefinger together.

This is the essential oil at work.

The yield from the catnip material is very low, so to produce a sellable amount of catnip essential oil, you are going to have to grow an awful lot of plants.

Pure catnip essential oil is a very expensive product. Expect to pay over $100 for a single fluid ounce of high-caliber oil. Cheaper catnip essential oils have been cut with a carrier oil.

Steam distillation is the normal technique for commercial essential oil extraction.

Catnip essential oil has strong insect-repellent properties and can be used to make a spray or cream to deter mosquitoes.

It can also be mixed with other essential oils to make perfume or scents.

Catnip spray, which is sprayed onto cushions or cat toys much to a cat’s enjoyment, is said to contain catnip essential oil, but its price bears no relation to that of pure catnip essential oil.

Catnip spray companies may be selling the distillate of catnip instead. This is the condensed water that has passed through the distillation process and which the catnip essential oil is separated and removed from (though traces will remain). If a cat is attracted to this water (also known as "hydrosol"), it can be bottled and sold as “catnip spray.”

3. Catnip Seeds

Catnip seeds can be collected from the dried seed heads in the autumn.

Simply hold the dried-out plant upside down over a deep container, and shake it off the sides to allow the seeds to drop out into the bottom.

You will then want to leave the seeds in a dry place in the fresh air to allow insects to escape before further filtering your seeds by blowing off plant matter that remains or otherwise finding a way to filter it so that you are left with nothing but seeds.

You can store seeds in a cool, dry place for an extended period of time. If you have a refrigeration unit, you can keep your seeds viable for years.

Meanwhile, it is a good idea to order some printed envelopes to package them in. You can print your own envelopes to your own design, but equally, it is cheaper to subcontract the work to a printing company for your design.

Make sure your envelope is marked clearly with your logo, brand, company name, and the name of the plant, as well as growing instructions and an address to trace back to you.

it is a good idea to set up a batch numbering system so that you know which seeds people received in case of a complaint. This may be a legal requirement in your country.

Catnip seeds are normally sold by weight, so invest in a set of scales that can measure grams to give you a more controllable and accurate reading.

4. Selling Catnip Plants

You’d never find an envelope big enough to send a full-sized catnip plant through the post if you sold one online. The cost would be prohibitive. These are big plants—generally in the three feet high, three feet wide range. They can grow as tall as six feet by six feet.

Catnip seedlings, on the other hand, are on the tender side, and may not survive a postal journey.

Luckily, catnip cuttings take root very easily and are an ideal size and strength to survive a trip through the postal system, if packaged well.

They root very easily in a glass of water. If I were sending them by mail, I’d be tempted to leave them in water until a firm order is made before planting them up in a pot.

The reason for this is that once these rooted cuttings are a a pot of soil, they tend to “take off” and start growing really fast.

You may instead wish to sell your catnip plants at local farmers markets, or a market stall of some kind, in which case you can use seedlings or cuttings.

While they are easy to grow, some people just don’t like growing seedlings or clones and would prefer to buy a whole plant ready prepared.

Catnip is a perennial plant and will live for many years.

Catnip plant in pot

Catnip plant in pot

Learn How to Grow Catnip

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