By far one of the most invasive herbs you could ever plant is mint. Any mint. Peppermint, Chocolate Mint, Apple Mint, Common Mint, Ginger Mint, or any other derivative. They will seduce you into finding a spare sod of soil and reward you almost immediately with lush green leaves and a bushy habit that tells you all is OK.
Getting to Know Peppermint
Well, it’s not OK. There is a more sinister plot in hand that was unleashed the moment you introduced your peppermint into the garden bed. It’s a plant bent on evil and control. Peppermint, and any other varietal, wants control of your garden.
And it’s not prepared to settle for only a piece of the action. It wants it all! If you’ve ever grown peppermint, you will know what I’m talking about. This plant hates being confined – but must!
Growing peppermint is all about rules. If you break them then you reap the consequences. If you adhere to them, you will be rewarded year after year with a bounty bordering on over-abundance.
The Origins of Peppermint
Peppermint (and the mint family) originated from the Mediterranean regions. While all mints belong to the same family, they also include oregano, marjoram and sage except these herbs can be grown in your garden beds without fear of taking over.
The peppermint plant is a hardy perennial and can flower in pinks, whites, and blues. Its main use is culinary and is often found in desserts or herbal teas. The leaves can be crushed to excrete their oil which is often used as a flavouring or in perfume essences. (Similar to how ylang ylang is used.)
How to Propagate Peppermint
Peppermint can be grown from seeds collected as the flowers dry. These can be sown in a seed-raising mix in late winter or early spring and planted out (in a container) when the plants are about 10cm tall.
You can also propagate peppermint from root cuttings, and you will find this process much easier and more successful than planting from seed. Take the cutting leaving a small root ball attached and repot into a smaller container. Feed and water well.
How NOT to Grow Peppermint
- Never grow peppermint in a pot. It dislikes being confined and would much rather be out playing with the other plants.
- Keep watering to a minimum. Peppermint thrives in drought areas and will wither and die if it’s given too much water.
- At the end of its growing season, never repot peppermint as it will be just as vigorous as the previous year.
- Give peppermint lots of shade. In fact, the more shade the happier your plant will be.
If you do exactly the opposite, you’ll find that peppermint, and any other mint, will thrive in your garden. Just never plant it in your garden beds without a serious barrier to contain it.