Peppermint, Mentha piperita, is valued for its flavor and scent. The dark green leaves are used fresh or dried for flavoring drinks, sauces, candies and medicines.
Mint readily grows from seed or transplants. Planting transplants is the most reliable way to be sure of plant quality since mints hybridize readily and seeds are often not true to type. Existing plants can be divided, or transplants can be purchased at most garden supply centers. Under good conditions, peppermint grows aggressively, taking over the garden. One or two plants is sufficient for home use.
Select a location with full sun or light shade. Grow peppermint in a container or raised bed or use a root barrier to control the spread of peppermint.
Dig or till the soil to loosen it. Add a 2 to 4 inch layer of composted manure and 1/2 tablespoon of 16-16-8 fertilizer per square foot of soil. Mix into the top 6 inches of soil.
Plant peppermint transplants 2 to 3 feet apart. Place each plant in the soil at the level it was previously growing.
Water after planting and continue watering to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Peppermint requires 1 to 2 inches of water each week. Peppermint does well with drip irrigation or a soaker hose.
Fertilize in the spring with 1 teaspoon of slow release 16-16-16 fertilizer per plant.
Remove the blooms as they appear. The flavor is affected by blooming.
Harvest using scissors or a sharp knife to remove leaves or stems. Cut stems 1 inch from the soil surface.
Cut the plant back to the ground in the late fall.