Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:55 pm
You can plant mint in the garden and also on the balcony. Because mint is very easy to care for and copes well with almost all locations. Here you can learn how best to plant and care for peppermint.
Planting peppermint: location
You can plant peppermint anywhere: In the herb garden, peppermint grows just as well as in the balcony box or flower pot. Once planted, the herb grows without stopping and you must be careful that it does not crowd out the other plants. This is because the long roots spread throughout the soil.
You should plant peppermint in a location that meets the following criteria:
- sunny to semi-shady,
- somewhat moist,
- sandy, calcareous soil,
- humus-rich soil,
- free area at least 15 x 15 cm,
- no chamomile in the immediate vicinity (the plants hinder each other’s growth).
Note that peppermint can grow up to one meter high. Nevertheless, it is also suitable for the balcony, as you should prune the plant regularly. In the beginning, the thin peppermint stems lie on the ground and then continue to grow upright. Only with time, new, strong plant stems form, which also produce large leaves.
Plant peppermint in the garden: Timing
The ideal planting period is from April to June: then it is not too cold for the young plantlets and the whole summer is still ahead. You can also plant the mint in July and August, but later the mint will not develop so well. Immediately after sowing, you should water the soil well and keep it moist. Although it is winter-hardy, it is better to put flower pots indoors in case of frost.
Tip: The roots of peppermint spread throughout the bed within a few weeks and crowd out other plants. A root barrier is therefore useful or you can simply plant the peppermint together with a clay pot in the bed.
Care for peppermint: Fertilizing and pruning
- Watering: On warm summer days, daily watering is mandatory. Even if it hasn’t rained for several days, you should water the plants. This is because peppermint thrives best in a moist environment.
- Fertilize: A special plant fertilizer is not necessary. You can simply add some compost, horn shavings or diluted nettle manure over the roots in the spring.
- Pruning: By cutting the plant back regularly, you will stimulate growth and have new plants with much larger leaves after just a few days.
- Soil care: Peppermint removes many nutrients from the soil, so after a few years it will be alkaline (the pH of the soil is too high). Therefore, after about three to five years, you should relocate the mint and fertilize the old soil with compost, lawn clippings and bark mulch.
- Relocate: Between June and September, peppermint flowers. For propagation and relocation, you can separate individual offshoots from the remaining plants after flowering and replant. Since the plants spread quickly, just a few plants in the new location will suffice.
- Winterize: In the fall, you need to cut the peppermint close to the ground. This way the plant will survive the winter without any problems and will sprout again in spring.
Harvest and dry peppermint: for Hugo, peppermint tea & Co.
Peppermint is an ancient medicinal plant that has a health-promoting effect not only in peppermint tea. Mint is also suitable for refreshing drinks. You can harvest the leaves from spring to autumn – but the most flavor is in the leaves on mornings in summer.
For large quantities of mint (e.g. for winter storage), cut the plants close to the ground in June. It will grow back so quickly within a few weeks that you can harvest large quantities in August.
For continuously fresh peppermint (e.g. for cocktails and lemonade throughout the summer), cut back only individual plants to about 5 to 8 centimeters.
To have peppermint even in winter, you can dry the leaves. This must be done quickly and without sunlight, otherwise many ingredients are lost. It is best to hang the mint in the shade on a hot day with a string and let it air dry.