- botanical name: Mentha x piperita
- perennial zones 4-8
- height 12-18″
- spacing 18-24″ apart
- full sun tolerant, partial shade
- dry-moist soil
- flower color violet/lavender
- uses in garden: great in containers, cut foliage, drough tolerant, fragrant, ground cover, mass plant
- use in teas, sweets, savory dishes, potourri, sachets
- attracts bees and butterflies
- deer, insect, and mouse resistant
Peppermint is perhaps the most famous herb of all with a flavor that is universally recognizable and amazingly versatile. Peppermint is most excellent for tea and candy because it has a sweeter scent than other mints, but it can still be used in savory dishes. Find great mint recipes here!
Peppermint has very strong medicinal properties, and is documented as a stress-reliever, muscle-relaxant, and a stimulant. Helpful during PMS, it also soothes nausea especially related to pregnancy and motion sickness. It is documented to relieve headaches, gas, and indigestion.
Mint has been known since antiquity. A Greek myth tells of a nymph, Minthe, who was transformed into a plant by Persephone, a goddess. Persephone was jealous of the girl because of the affection she’d received from Hades, Persephone’s husband, god of the underworld. When Hades found that Minthe had been turned to a plant, he imparted a sweet smell to her that would rise and give pleasure to any who walked upon her leaves.
Mints attract a number of good pollinators to the garden. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to the mint when it flowers. Mints have a tendency to be quite invasive; so many people plant their mints in pots or containers. However, if you want to keep mint in your garden, try planting your seedlings in bottomless number ten cans, or surround them with a barrier that is at least ten inches deep – laundry baskets work well for this. Just be sure to drill plenty of holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. If you have a damp spot in your garden area, consider planting mint as a groundcover as it likes a moist soil.
Having a hard time deciding which variety is right for you? View a summary of all the varieties together.
Peppermint plants are also available. Purchase them here.
Sow seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost in loose growing medium. Cover seeds with soil 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch vermiculite. Keep moist. Seed will germinate in 10-14 days. Transplant 12-18 inches apart in a sunny location.
Root division from an existing plant stock, suckers, or cuttings is another recommended method of propogation. Cuttings will root easily in a moist potting medium, or even in water. If you are dividing an existing plant it is best done in the fall.
Mint is best when used fresh. Dried mint, when stored in airtight containers, will retain its flavor and scent. To harvest, gather bunches and hang on drying racks or spread on screens until completely dry.