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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Peppermint Plants

Peppermint has long been heralded for it's many uses. The aroma cannot be matched. I cannot walk past a peppermint patty without yearning to take a bite. The plant's abilities even warrants mention in my middle grade historical fiction. But, instead of curing my bellyaches, this cross between watermint and spearmint delights in creating my headaches.



small peppermint plants starting to grow


If you don't have a green thumb and wish to grow something. . . anything. . . then plant a sprig of peppermint. But, please do not blame me when this plant takes control of your garden, your yard and every minute of your spare time.

Peppermint propogates by spreading out runners underneath the earth and one plant becomes many.


the long root of a peppermint plant,
notice all the little plants starting to grow along the length of this root


Please plant these in an area where you do not care if they spread and take over. Maybe you have a hillside or bank where nothing grows. Select an isolated spot and just let it grow (and grow and grow). You could also plant it in a large barrel or planter where it cannot spread. Peppermint can reach heights of 1 - 3 feet. They produce small pink, white or purple flowers at the end of each stem from July to September.

I have been pulling these peppermint plants out from my blackberry bushes, from among my rose bush, and from among my ferns and irises for many years now. They keep coming back. When little, the roots pull up easily. I have pulled up some roots that were three or more feet long. You are probably wondering why I don't just let them grow. If I let them grow, they would grow and grow and spread and spread. They would take control of my garden.

To me the only good peppermint is a pulled peppermint. The aroma of the fresh dirt and pulled roots takes me away to the arctic on a hot summer day. (I borrowed this scene from a favorite peppermint patty commercial).

If you like peppermint and dream of sipping this herbal tea, then by all means plant it. Just remember when you fight your way out of the thick growth of minty smelling plants that I told you so.

11 comments:

  1. Janet, I remember when I was a kid we had peppermint that grew along the creek bank, I don't think that I have seen any since then.

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  2. Thanks for the warning, Janet. I will know to keep it in a container if I decide to plant it.

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  3. I feel your pain, Janet! I used to have the same problem and finally abandoned that garden. Now my peppermint is in a place that is not so conducive to its growth--the soil is dry and not very rich. So it doesn't spread too much and I can keep it under control.

    Now if there was some magical way to rid my life of gill-over-the-ground (also called ground ivy) I'd be a happy woman. Like your peppermint, this is the plant that gets in all my gardens and drives me crazy.

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  4. Susanne, if that is what I think it is, I so agree with you. It is on the top of the list with the peppermint as the most invasive plant there is. I pull and pull and pull up those plants, too. They love to grow along side of my blackberries.

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  5. I was sily enough to plant some and now, oh boy. I do like it in one of those Mohito drinks though. I have never made tea with it, I should try it sometime.

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  6. I contained my mint plants when I planted them by putting a piece of metal about 14 inches deep all around them. I was not so lucky with evening primrose. My Mom gave me a start about 5 years ago, they took over one of my flower beds by the next spring, and every year I pull them all out and every year they grow back. They spread the same way as mint.

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  7. Janet, how do you make your tea?
    I have spearmint and choc mint in a pot on the deck (and even then I still have to trim back runners headed for the flowerbed many feet below:)

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  8. Janet-I have spearment in my garden-it doesn't seem to spread to bad-or either it doesn't much like my soil. I love to pull the leaves and rub them on my hands-they smell so fresh and clean.

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  9. I started some mint plants last summer...went to see if they kept and just a little ways from the main plant one is peeking out...just as you said...I hope they do make a lot! ;D

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  10. Hi Janet,
    I love peppermint but had to learn the hard way about planting it. Some years back I planted it in my herb garden and it just about took over the whole garden. Now it resides in pots. Thank you for sharing.
    Sue

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  11. Janet,

    I certainly don't need another plant that will try to take over my garden. When we moved here, my neighbour talked me into planting some wild honeysuckle. Last Friday we once again pulled it out of the garden, the air conditioner and the basement entryway, which is outside. We've done this for years.

    Thanks for the warning. If I ever decide to grow it, I will certainly plant it in a container.
    Blessings,
    Mary

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