Whether you have a garden outside or some pots to grow plants, you must consider growing peppermint and many other herbs that are extremely easy to grow and maintain. There are many ways to grow peppermint, like growing it in the garden soil, inside the containers, or inside your home.
Will peppermint grow in shade? You’ll find the answer for this question below, along with detailed tutorials to grow this useful herb in different conditions. But first, you must get to know peppermint well before you start growing it.
- 1 Reasons to Grow Peppermint Plants
- 2 How to Grow Peppermint
- 3 Growing Tips
- 4 Companion & Pests
- 5 Harvest & Storage
Reasons to Grow Peppermint Plants
If you are looking for herb plants that are very easy to grow, you better start growing peppermint. This plant has square stems which are going to run rampantly on your garden soil once you plant it. If your garden space is small and you don’t want peppermint everywhere, try growing it in the containers.
Peppermint loves the damp spots in your garden or next to your water garden. However, this plant can also grow in the drier garden soil around the house. But the most ideal place for this plant to grow is in the moist soil that’s in the partial shade.
There are many reasons why you must plant peppermint. One best reason is you can crush the peppermint leaves to create the most refreshing iced peppermint tea. Dried peppermint leaves will also flavor your dishes and help you make the best desserts like cakes, cookies, and meringues.
How to Grow Peppermint
You have 4 different options in growing peppermint. First is growing this herb as a companion plant with the other plants in the garden. Second choice is to grow this herb and the other herbs in the containers. The next option is growing peppermint in the shady place. And the final choice will be growing it inside.
Each option requires different preparation to make and steps to take. Find the instruction that matches your decision below.
If you’re interested in growing peppermint in the garden along with some other plants, make sure you check out the Companion & Pests section below to see what plants grow well with this herb and what plants must stay away from peppermint.
And before you start growing, prepare the peppermint first. The easiest way to grow peppermint in the garden is by starting planting from cuttings. Here are the steps to start propagating:
- Take the 6 inches cuttings from the rooted peppermint stems.
- Plant the cuttings inside your garden soil horizontally.
- Or you can make the cuttings root by placing them in a glass with water.
You can get peppermint from your gardening friend. They will give you as much as you want since this best herb grows extremely easily and some cuttings won’t kill the plant. Now follow the steps below to grow your own peppermint in the garden.
- Take the peppermint cuttings and then plant one cutting or two in the moist soil in your garden. You want to give them 2 feet space between each plant. Two cuttings of peppermint are enough to cover your garden ground.
- Your garden peppermint doesn’t require too much care. Use light mulch only if you are growing peppermint outside. Light mulch is enough to keep your garden soil moist. This mulch will also keep peppermint leaves clean.
- At first, peppermint plants will grow into well behaved clumps that are bushy and standing upright. But in a second your peppermint plant will spread horizontally. And only in a year your peppermint plant will grow into a 4 feet giant plant. Make sure you block it in the advance.
- Peppermint benefits from pruning and picking. They also have shallow roots so you can pull them out easily. You can also provide some physical barriers to block their horizontal growth such as walkways, containers, or walls.
After growing peppermint in your garden by following those steps, you’ll be able to harvest them actually anytime since they’ll keep spreading vigorously no matter when you pick the leaves to make tea or add some flavors to your dishes.
2. In Containers
If you’re wondering about how to grow peppermint plants without allowing it to cover the entire ground, you must learn how to grow it in the containers. What you need to grow peppermint in pots is a small peppermint plant or mint seedling. Cultivating peppermint from seed is as easy as growing from cuttings.
Just like growing thyme, you need to choose the right time to grow peppermint which is one part of the crucial preparations to make. The most ideal time to plant peppermint is in spring or fall. Even though peppermint is one of the most resilient plants, you’ll want to start planting under the optimal conditions.
Now follow these easy steps in growing peppermint successfully:
- Get a pot that the diameter is between 12 and 16 inches, the depth is not crucial since peppermint doesn’t root so deep. This pot is only for one peppermint plant, if you want to grow many peppermint plants to make lots of recipes you’ll need to prepare several big pots.
- Complete your potting soil with water retaining polymer in order to keep your potting soil moist at all times. Vermiculite and perlite are two alternatives for the polymer.
- Plant the rooted seedling or rooted spring right under the potting soil. If you really need to plant multiple seedlings, add 6 inches of space between each seed to give enough room for each seed to grow.
- Water your peppermint often especially during its first year. Make sure your potting soil stays damp but avoid soaking it with water. Peppermint plants you place in the direct sunlight require more frequent water.
- Trim your peppermint plants’ top in order to contain the height of the plants and keep peppermint leaves growing nicely. Trimming the plants will also create a much better harvest.
- In growing peppermint in pots, you also need to trim the flower buds of your peppermint in order to keep your plant compact. The small flowers of peppermint plants usually bloom between June and September. Trim the entire buds before they open so your peppermint won’t grow wild.
- Split the potted peppermint plant once per 2 or 3 years. After a couple years, your peppermint will finally match your container’s size but this means the roots will be cramped. Splitting your peppermint plants carefully is going to keep the flavor and scent of peppermint strong and nice.
When planting peppermint in containers, you’re free to place the pots inside or outside the house. But can you grow peppermint in the pots then place them in the shady place? Check out the answer below.
3. In Shade
Peppermint grows as perennial herb in the growing zone 3 to 11. It loves full sun exposure or partial shade. However, if you want to grow your peppermint indoor and the only place available for the pots is in a very shady area, you need to provide artificial light.
Sunlight will encourage the growth of peppermint and the other best herbs to grow. But there’s another function of sunlight. By growing peppermint in a shade place where the sunlight can’t reach it, you block the plant to develop the strong flavor of mint you desire.
Peppermint needs the natural light to produce the essential peppermint oil that will give you the strong aroma and flavor of mint. To grow peppermint in the full shade, you must follow this instruction:
Grow your peppermint in containers
Follow the second way to grow peppermint above, growing the peppermint plant in the container or pot. Then you must pick one of the recommended artificial lights that must be on 12 hours each day to encourage the growth of your mint. If you don’t have a garden, you can try growing herbs in pots.
Incandescent growing bulbs
This one is not only the least expensive option but is also least efficient at once. Incandescent growing bulbs will not provide the full spectrum of sunlight. You can use this light to grow peppermint in full shade but the growth won’t be potential.
Fluorescent growing lights
Here is a much better option than the previous one. Use the T5 system to get full spectrum of sunlight for your peppermint plants.
LED lights for full spectrum
This one is the most energy efficient choice in growing peppermint in the full shade. However, this one is also the priciest option. Pick one that has the simplest hanging setup.
If you use incandescent lights, you must hang the bulbs 24 inches above your peppermint plants. But for fluorescent light, it must hang 12 inches over the plants. LED and its low heat signature can hang only 6 inches above the peppermint herbs.
Before growing peppermint indoors, prepare some important stuff that will help the growth of your peppermint plants:
- Containers that have a wide surface. The diameter should be 20 to 30 centimeters for each peppermint plant.
- Well-draining potting soil with pH levels between 6 and 7.5.
Here are the steps you must follow in growing spearmint and the other mints indoors:
- Place the mint seedlings inside the container that has potting soil. No mulch and fertilizer is required.
- Water the seeds immediately after you plant them. A mint plant only needs 180 to 240 milliliters of water. Water the plant once per 2 or 3 days.
- Place the containers in your window or another place where your peppermint can get indirect sunlight.
You are allowed to fertilize your mint but use only water soluble fertilizer. Fertilize the mint occasionally since it grows fast even without fertilizer. There are some tips you’ll need to follow in growing peppermint. Find them below.
When growing peppermint indoors, it is important to place the containers in the windowsill which faces the north. And there are many other herbal plants that can add to your window garden list. Rotate your peppermint plants once per 3 to 4 days since your plants grow in the sunlight direction. Rotating your plants will help them grow evenly.
Here are some other tips for growing peppermint:
1. Increase the water
After growing your peppermint indoors for 3 days, you need to increase the water for each plant. Now you must water the plant with 240 to 470 milliliters of water.
2. Watch the humidity
Humidity is also important to encourage your peppermint’s growing process. Consider misting the peppermint plant with some water.
3. Don’t over fertilize your plant
Only water soluble fertilizer is allowed but be careful not to use too much fertilizer. Using too much fertilizer will alter the peppermint’s taste.
Hope the entire things you read above can help you grow your own peppermint plants in the entire season along the year.
Companion & Pests
Does peppermint plant keep mice away? Actually, peppermint is able to do many things. It can be a great companion plant for many other plants such as:
1. Beans and peas
When growing beans and peas, mice love them but hate peppermint. So plant your peppermint around the plant.
2. Eggplants and tomatoes
Peppermint will also repel spider mites and aphids. Growing peppermint close to eggplants and tomatoes will protect them from those pests.
3. Marigolds and oregano
What to plant with peppermint outside the plants above? Consider carrots and brassicas like kale, cabbage, or cauliflower. Peppermint will repel the carrot fly in order to protect your carrot, parsley, parsnips, and celery.
Harvest & Storage
After growing peppermint, it is important to harvest the leaves frequently to keep your peppermint plants at their best condition. Pick the young leaves that have much more flavor compared to the old ones. Harvest the leaves as soon as the leaves come up in the spring.
To store the harvested peppermints, you can keep the fresh peppermint leaves and sprigs in the water for a couple days. But you can also freeze your peppermint leaves. Air drying your peppermint plants is another way to store the harvest. But don’t forget you can also dry herbs in oven.
You actually don’t have to dry or freeze your peppermint since you can simply pick your peppermint leaves whenever you need to use them to make refreshing drinks or cook something special.