Care for Peppermint in Your Home Garden

Planting peppermint in your herb garden bed or indoor garden is easy and yields plenty of this fresh, zesty herb.

How to Grow Peppermint

Growing peppermint is faster when you propagate it from cuttings rather than planting from mint seeds. Follow these steps to plant and grow your own peppermint at home.

1. Prepare your stem cutting. To start propagating your new plants, cut a five to six inch piece of peppermint from a plant that is already established. Remove the leaves from the bottom two inches of the piece. Place your stems in a glass of water that is placed in the full sun. When it has new roots that are a couple inches long, it is ready to plant.

2. Choose your container. Many people choose to grow peppermint in a container because it can easily take over a garden bed. Go with a plastic container to keep the soil moist, because peppermint thrives in consistently-moist soil.

3. Fill your container with soil. Fill your container with moist potting soil. If you’re growing your peppermint indoors, do not use manure or emulsion. A layer of mulch can help the soil retain moisture. Place your container in a location that gets full sunlight.

4. Plant your peppermint stems. Carefully plant each cutting in the moist soil, spacing the stems at least 10 inches apart.

5. Regularly water your peppermint. Unlike other plants, you should not allow peppermint soil to dry out between waterings. The soil should always be moist. Water your peppermint everyday or every other day.

6. Harvest your peppermint. When your peppermint leaves are fragrant, they are ready to harvest. For small harvests, simply pinch or snip off the fresh leaves or sprigs you would like to remove. For larger harvests, cut the entire plant down to just above the first set of leaves. This removes the lower leaves, which may have already begun to yellow, and helps the plant grow bushier for the second or third harvest.

4 Care Tips for Peppermint

Peppermint is a hardy plant, but it still requires attention and care. Here are some tips for growing your peppermint.

1. Prune your peppermint regularly. Peppermint is a wild grower that you will need to prune to make sure your leaves are flavorful and to ensure healthy new growth. Prune the top half of your plant back before and during its growing season in late spring to mid-summer. Keep an eye out for stems that appear ‘woody’ or dry and remove them. Cut back and replace your peppermint plants every two to three years. You may also remove flower buds to keep the leaves at peak oil concentration.

2. Give your plant enough light. As long as the soil is moist, peppermint prefers exposure to full sun which helps the plant produce its oils. They can tolerate partial shade, but the flavor is strongest when your plant receives full sun.

3. Keep the soil moist. Peppermint is not as susceptible to root rot as many other plants, and it thrives in moist soil. Make sure that this thirsty plant gets enough water.

4. Monitor your plant for pests. Mint plants usually repel pests like deer and rodents, smaller insects such as aphids and spider mites. Spray your plants with a hose to knock them off your plant.

When to Harvest Peppermint

Depending on the health of your plant, peppermint can be harvested two to three times per growing season. The ideal time to harvest is right before your plant begins to bloom. This is when the oil concentration in the leaves is its highest.

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