Peppermint can be tricky. Native to Europe, this perennial plant is known to take over other plants in gardens.
The peppermint plant is native to Europe. However, it can be seen growing throughout most of the world. The species is considered a hybrid manifested from watermint and spearmint.
Culturally, it is used as a food flavoring agent, in tonics to reduce nervousness and in baths and herbal balms for skin. Some sources claim it is popular in the region of Saudi Arabia for its suggested ability to aid in digestion. Others even say it was used in the form of perfume in Ancient Greece as an aphrodisiac.
“One of the best digestive aids on the planet, peppermint is also known as “the world’s oldest medicine” says the Global Healing Center.”High in menthol, this plant has the capacity to reduce irritable bowel syndrome, reduce the symptoms of colic, and is a natural insecticide.”
“Other properties of the plant include its cooling nature, which serves for use in treating inflammation, headaches, fever and indigestion,” the center adds.
Best Peppermint Growing Conditions
Peppermint is easy to grow. It is a self-pollinating plant that flourishes in many areas.
These plants generally grow between an average of 12 and 18 inches in height, and should be spaced between 18 and 24 inches apart. Peppermint is known to be invasive. It can grow rapidly and take over areas in your flower or vegetable garden. To prevent this from happening, plant peppermint separately in an area with partial to full exposure to sunlight.
Seedlings can be started in peat moss pots during the late months of winter or early spring. It is recommended that peppermint is transferred to an outdoor pot when it has reached at least 10 cm tall.
Peppermint leaves are most tasty when they begin growing in the springtime. They can be harvested and used fresh or dried. Peppermint is said to mold quickly, so either use immediately or place in a paper bag to dry and store. This typically takes up to two weeks.
As a rule: leave at least one-third of the plant when picking off leaves.