Peppermint (Mentha piperita or Mentha balsamea in the wild) is a herb that is a hybrid between watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). This is an aromatic herb and one of the oldest herbs popular for culinary dishes, rituals, and medicinal purposes.
Today, the use of peppermint has expanded to aesthetic purposes because of its refreshing taste and fragrance.
In this article, we’ll talk about growing peppermint and how you can take care of this herb for aesthetics and as part of your garden.
What Is Peppermint and How Do You Grow The Plant
Peppermint is easy to grow and care for. You can grow it on a little pot or directly into your garden soil. But usually, gardeners plant them in containers as they can aggressively grow and spread in your garden. You can also use any planting method that you want in growing peppermint. As long as you are able to supply it with the required elements, then you’ll be able to successfully grow this herb in no time.
Just a few reminders:
- Peppermint has an aggressive and invasive nature.
- Its roots can send out runners and vigorously spread all over your garden, so it’s best to place it in a container.
- If you plan to plant peppermint directly to the soil, use soil barriers to contain its growth.
What Are the Factors That Affect the Growth of Peppermint
Here are the essential things that peppermint plants need in order to grow and thrive.
Peppermint is great in almost any type of soil. It’s one of the greatest features of this herb, as it can easily adapt to any soil you plant it in. Similarly, this feature can also become a disadvantage because its adaptability, paired with its invasive nature, can make it a weed or a nuisance if left unmanned.
For peppermint’s ideal soil, it should be moist, rich, and loamy, but you can easily grow it in ditches and outcrops, so, yes, this herb can thrive anywhere you want!
Peppermint loves partial light or in full sun. Even if you plant this herb in dappled shade, it can still grow and spread, unlike other types of herbs.
Herbs like peppermint love moist soil. They can easily thrive and grow if given an ample amount of water, but overdoing it might not be as beneficial as you think. Like mint, peppermint cannot tolerate soaking soil or standing water for long periods of time. Exposing its roots to standing water can make them soggy, which can rot and cause harm and death to your plant.
Humidity and Temperature
Just like any plant, peppermint also has its optimum temperature and humidity. This plant cannot survive in extended cold temperatures, specifically USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5 and below.
Its optimum temperature should be between 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but a little higher or lower cannot harm this refreshing herb. Since peppermint loves moist soil, humid conditions can help this herb thrive and grow (and even lead to excess growth if not managed).
Ideally, it is not recommended to put fertilizers for most herbs, especially in the plants under the genus Mentha, including peppermint (Mentha piperita), because adding one can affect the flavor of the herbs. This is because their flavor heavily relies on the oils coming from their leaves and flowers.
If you add fertilizer, then it can accelerate the growth of leaves and flowers, leading to small profuse growth instead of large foliage and flowers with concentrated oils.
How to Propagate Peppermint
There are many ways you can grow peppermint in your garden. Here are some of the ways:
- Propagation from Cuttings – To do this, use sterile scissors or cutters to cut a portion of the stem four inches in length, right below a leaf node. Then remove the foliage below the node and put the cutting in a glass of distilled water. Finally, place it in an area with good lighting and air circulation. After a few weeks, you will see root formation, which makes them ready for transplanting.
- Growing from Seeds – Just like any herbs, you can directly grow peppermint using seeds. Press the seeds into the surface of your starting mix. Keep the soil moist and wait for the seed to grow after five to ten days. Or, if you want, you can directly put the seeds into the garden soil.
Growing peppermint can be easy because it is naturally adaptable. Using the practical and useful tips we’ve shared here, you’ll get the hang of growing this flavorful and refreshing herb right in your garden. Just remember to keep your herbs properly managed so you will enjoy having these plants around rather than treating them as a nuisance and weed.
Blossom & Broom offers home and gardening guides through our herbal gardening blog. Check out more tips and tricks on how you can efficiently and effectively take care of your herbs. Read our blog posts today.