Planting peppermint: location, sowing & companion plants

Alina
Alina
Alina
Alina

For many years now, I have been growing various vegetables as a hobby in my spare time, which is what ultimately led me to studying horticulture. I find it fascinating to watch as plants grow from seed to fruit and to then finally be able to make use of the literal fruits of my labour.

Favourite fruit: Strawberries and cherries
Favourite vegetable: Potatoes, tomatoes and garlic

The aromatic peppermint grows well in beds and pots. Read on to discover everything you need to know about sowing and planting this delectable herb.

green peppermint leaves
The vigorous peppermint can be grown both in pots and beds [Photo: Danny Hummel/ Shutterstock.com]

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a popular and undemanding plant for the herb bed. Find out what to keep in mind when sowing and planting peppermint in a bed or pot.

Planting peppermint: the right location

Peppermint grows happily in both beds and pots. The optimal location for planting peppermint is in a sandy, calcareous soil that is rich in humus and nutrients. Moist conditions and a semi-shady spot are also ideal but watch out for waterlogging. Peppermint can only tolerate a limited amount of direct sunlight. Potted peppermint plants thrive in a semi-shady, wind-protected location, such as on your balcony or terrace.

Harvesting peppermint with scissors
In a suitable location, a plentiful peppermint harvest is almost guaranteed [Photo: africa_pink/ Shutterstock.com]

Growing peppermint in the garden

When planting peppermint in the bed, make sure to keep this vigorously growing herb 50 cm away from neighbouring plants and, if necessary, place a 30 cm root barrier in the planting hole. Find a semi-shady spot with a fresh, nutrient-rich soil for the peppermint. Transplant the peppermint every three to five years to prevent the spread of disease.

purple peppermint flowers
The flowering peppermint in your garden is a bee’s dream [Photo: Edita Medeina/ Shutterstock.com]

Planting peppermint in pots

An effective method for keeping the rampant growth under control is planting it in a pot. Choose a large enough pot that is at least one-third larger than the root ball. Add a drainage layer of clay shards in the bottom of the pot to prevent waterlogging. Water peppermint regularly to keep the soil moist. Although peppermint plants are hardy, their pots need to be insulated or brought indoors for overwintering to avoid frost damage caused by their root balls freezing through. Depending on the variety, it is best to repot peppermint every year to provide enough space for growth and to reduce the likelihood of disease.

Growing peppermint in a pot
Growing peppermint in pots is a lovely addition to any space [Photo: Nataliia Karabin/ Shutterstock.com]

The best soil for planting peppermint

Peppermint thrives in sandy soil that is rich in humus and nutrients. To create optimal growing conditions, you can enrich the soil with sand and mature compost.

Does peppermint need a root barrier?

Peppermint has a shallow root system that spreads quickly. Peppermint’s vigorous runners help it to propagate vegetatively, allowing it to spread rapidly. To prevent uncontrolled spreading, use a root barrier. A 15 to 20 litre bottomless plastic bucket would do the trick. Dig a hole about 30 cm deep and place the bucket inside, making sure about 2 cm of the bucket is above ground. Then place the peppermint inside and fill with soil. An alternative to using a root barrier method is to grow peppermint directly in a pot.

growing peppermint with root barrier
To keep the rampant peppermint in check, install a root barrier [Photo: Taras Grebinets/ Shutterstock.com]

Can you grow peppermint from seed?

Peppermint is actually a sterile plant and therefore cannot produce viable seeds. Nonetheless, peppermint seeds are sometimes available in garden centres, but these usually belong to one of the parents of the hybrid peppermint, such as spearmint (Mentha spicata) or water mint. The true peppermint can only be propagated vegetatively via cuttings, runners or division.

Tip: Peppermint is very versatile! It is best to try several different types of peppermint to experience the aromatic differences.

young peppermint plants
Peppermint can be propagated by seed or runners [Photo: Avril Burton/ Shutterstock.com]

How to plant peppermint

Luckily, growing peppermint is quite simple. Here is a quick guide to planting peppermint:

  • Planting time: April to June
  • Start peppermint seeds in the greenhouse from March onwards
  • Plant spacing: 50 cm from other neighbouring plants and 30 cm between individual peppermint plants
  • Loosen the soil well and enrich the soil with compost and sand
  • Dig a sufficiently large planting hole and bury the root barrier so that the edge of the bucket is still 2 cm above the ground
  • Now plant the peppermint inside, fill with soil, and press down
  • Water the peppermint plant well

Tip: If you want to plant your peppermint in a pot, we recommend using the substrate mixture described above. To prevent waterlogging, add a drainage layer of clay shards in the bottom of the pot.

sun shining on peppermint plant
Peppermint establishes itself quickly in its new home [Photo: chaylek/ Shutterstock.com]

Peppermint companion plants

Good companion plants for peppermint include the cabbage family (Brassicaceae), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). In contrast, avoid other plants in the Lamiaceae family such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris) or sage (Salvia officinalis), but also camomile (Matricaria chamomilla). To reduce the risk of disease, do not plant other mint species near peppermint.

Not only is peppermint delightful with its fragrant flowers, but it is also simple to use and preserve. Here you can find out how to preserve the mint leaves.

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