How to Grow Peppermint from Seeds : Planting and Caring Tips

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Peppermint, with its refreshing aroma and myriad of uses, is a beloved perennial herb that many gardeners are eager to add to their green spaces. Whether you’re looking to brew your own peppermint tea or just enjoy the fragrant leaves, growing peppermint from seeds can be a rewarding project. Let’s delve into the process and set you up for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Plant peppermint seeds indoors or directly outdoors after the last spring frost.
  • Choose a location with damp soil and partial to full sunlight for optimal growth.
  • Sow seeds on the soil surface, as peppermint needs light to germinate.
  • Maintain consistent moisture and watch for germination within 7 to 20 days.
  • Regular harvesting encourages more growth and prevents the plant from becoming invasive.

Growing peppermint from seeds is a simple and cost-effective way to bring this versatile plant into your garden. Not only does it provide a supply of fresh peppermint leaves for culinary and medicinal uses, but it also benefits the garden ecosystem by attracting pollinators and repelling pests.

Peppermint Plant

Feature Description
Benefits Culinary uses, medicinal properties (aromatherapy, digestion), festive decorations
Uses Candy canes, teas, diffusers, pest repellent
Grows where Temperate climates, zones 3-7
For pests Repels ants, mice, and some insects
Growth time 90-120 days to maturity
Common problems Rust, powdery mildew, aphids
Growth Fast growing, spreads easily
Appearance Reddish-purple stems, green leaves with serrated edges
Indoor or outdoor Can be grown in both, but prefers cooler outdoor temperatures
Sun requirements Full sun to partial shade

Benefits of Growing Peppermint Outdoors from Seeds

Peppermint is a hardy herb that, once established, can provide a bountiful harvest with minimal care. Starting peppermint from seeds can be more economical than buying mature plants, and it allows you to cultivate a larger area of peppermint over time. The plant’s vibrant green leaves and pleasant scent make it a delightful addition to any garden.

Understanding Peppermint’s Needs

Before we dive into the planting process, it’s important to understand that peppermint thrives in moist, well-drained soil and enjoys a good amount of sunlight. However, it can also tolerate partial shade, making it adaptable to various garden spots. Peppermint is known for its invasive tendencies, so planning for containment is key to keeping your garden orderly.

  • Most importantly, peppermint needs light to germinate, so seeds should be sown on the surface of the soil.
  • Because peppermint likes moisture, ensure the soil is consistently damp but not waterlogged.
  • Therefore, selecting the right location is crucial to the success of your peppermint plants.

Planning and Preparation


Success with peppermint starts long before the seeds hit the soil. A little bit of planning will go a long way in ensuring a lush, fragrant peppermint patch.

Choosing the Right Time to Plant

Timing is everything when it comes to planting seeds. For peppermint, you’ll want to start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost. This gives your plants a head start and protects them from any unexpected cold snaps. If you prefer to sow directly outdoors, wait until the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up a bit.

Selecting a Suitable Location

Finding the perfect spot in your garden for peppermint is a balance of sunlight and moisture. Choose a location that receives partial to full sunlight—about 4 to 6 hours a day. Peppermint can grow in various soil types, but it prefers a spot that stays moist without becoming soggy. If you’re concerned about peppermint’s invasive nature, consider planting it in containers or using barriers to restrict its spread.

Seed Selection and Preparation

Getting your hands on high-quality peppermint seeds is the first critical step. You can purchase seeds from a trusted garden center or online retailer. Look for non-GMO and organic seeds if you prefer a more natural approach to gardening.

Pre-planting Considerations

Before planting, it’s wise to stratify your peppermint seeds, especially if they are fresh. This process, which involves exposing seeds to cold, moist conditions, can improve germination rates. Simply place your seeds between moist paper towels in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator for a few days to a couple of weeks before planting.

Preparing the Soil

Peppermint isn’t overly fussy about soil, but it does best in rich, loamy, and slightly acidic to neutral soil. The ideal pH range for peppermint is between 6.0 and 7.0. You can test your soil using a simple pH test kit from your local garden store.

Testing Soil pH

Testing your soil’s pH is a crucial step because it can affect the nutrient availability for your peppermint plants. If you find that your soil is too acidic or alkaline, you can amend it accordingly with lime or sulfur to bring it within the optimal range for peppermint growth.

Amending the Soil

Once you know your soil’s pH, you can amend it with organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure to improve fertility and drainage. Peppermint loves moist soil, but it doesn’t want to be waterlogged, so good drainage is essential.

Planting the Seeds

Sowing Depth

When it’s time to plant your peppermint seeds, remember that they require sunlight to germinate. Therefore, you should not bury them deeply. Instead, lightly press the seeds onto the surface of the soil or potting mix, ensuring they have good contact but are not covered.

Seed Spacing

Peppermint plants can become quite bushy, so give them room to flourish. Space your seeds or seedlings about 18 to 24 inches apart. This spacing allows for ample air circulation and reduces the risk of fungal diseases that can thrive in crowded, damp conditions.

Watering the Seeds Gently

  • Use a fine mist spray to water the seeds without disturbing them.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy as the seeds germinate.
  • Check the moisture level daily, especially if the weather is warm or windy.
  • Cover the seeds with a plastic dome or wrap to maintain humidity until they sprout.

It’s crucial to be gentle when watering peppermint seeds. A harsh stream of water can displace the tiny seeds and bury them too deeply, hindering germination.

Optional: Using Row Covers for Early Protection from Cold Snaps or Harsh Weather

If you’re planting early in the season or your area is prone to unpredictable weather, consider using row covers. These lightweight fabrics protect your emerging peppermint plants from frost, strong winds, and even pests. They can be easily removed once the danger has passed or when the plants are strong enough to withstand the elements.

Ongoing Care and Maintenance

After your peppermint seeds have sprouted and are growing, your focus shifts to ongoing care to ensure your plants thrive.


Peppermint loves moisture, so regular watering is key. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist, particularly during dry spells. However, avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.


Keep the area around your peppermint plants free of weeds, which can compete for nutrients and water. Regular weeding also helps prevent pests and diseases that can hide among the weeds.


Applying a layer of mulch around your peppermint plants can help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Organic mulches like straw or wood chips are excellent choices.

Promoting Growth and Harvest

With the right care, your peppermint plants will grow vigorously. Now, let’s focus on how to encourage lush growth and prepare for a bountiful harvest.

Pinching and Pruning

Pinching back the tips of your peppermint plants encourages bushier growth. Prune any leggy stems to maintain a compact shape and promote more leaf production.


Peppermint doesn’t need much fertilizer, but an occasional feeding with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer can support robust growth. Always follow the instructions on the fertilizer package.

Harvesting and Using Peppermint

One of the joys of growing peppermint is the harvest. Fresh peppermint leaves can be used in teas, cooking, and for their medicinal properties. The best time to harvest is just before the plants flower, when the leaves are most flavorful.

When to Harvest:

Start harvesting your peppermint leaves once the plants have plenty of foliage. You can begin to pick leaves as soon as the plant is 6 to 8 inches tall.

Harvesting Techniques

To harvest peppermint, simply snip off the leaves or stems with a pair of scissors or garden shears. Be sure to leave enough of the plant intact so it can continue to grow.

For example, when harvesting peppermint leaves, always cut stems just above a set of leaves to encourage new growth.

Drying peppermint leaves for storage

After harvesting your peppermint leaves, you might want to preserve them for later use. Drying is a simple and effective way to store peppermint leaves. To dry peppermint, gather the stems into small bunches and hang them upside down in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight. You can also lay the leaves out on a clean surface or drying rack. The key is to ensure good air circulation to prevent mold.

Once the leaves are completely dry, which can take a few days to a week depending on the humidity, crumble them gently and store them in an airtight container. Keep the container in a cool, dark place to maintain the peppermint’s potent flavor and aroma. Dried peppermint leaves can be used for teas, culinary dishes, or homemade potpourri.

Remember, the best time to harvest peppermint for drying is right before the plants flower, when the oils and flavors are at their peak.

An example of a good storage method is using glass jars with tight-fitting lids. This keeps the dried peppermint leaves protected from moisture and light, which can diminish their quality over time.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the best care, you may encounter some challenges while growing peppermint. Let’s look at how to identify and address common issues so you can keep your peppermint thriving.

Identifying and managing pests

Peppermint is relatively resistant to pests, but it’s not immune. Aphids and spider mites can sometimes be a problem, especially in hot, dry conditions. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of these pests, such as sticky leaves or fine webs.

If you do find pests, you can often manage them with a strong spray of water to knock them off the plant. For more persistent issues, insecticidal soap or neem oil can be effective. Always follow the application instructions carefully.

Recognizing signs of diseases

Fungal diseases like rust and powdery mildew can affect peppermint. These usually appear as discolored spots or a powdery white substance on the leaves. To prevent fungal diseases, ensure your peppermint has good air circulation and avoid overhead watering.

If you notice signs of disease, remove and destroy the affected leaves. In severe cases, a fungicide may be necessary, but often improving growing conditions can resolve the issue.

Addressing nutrient deficiencies

Peppermint isn’t a heavy feeder, but if your plants are looking a bit lackluster, they may benefit from a light application of a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer. Yellowing leaves can indicate a nitrogen deficiency, while purplish tones may suggest a phosphorus deficiency.

Addressing these issues is as simple as adjusting your fertilization routine. However, be cautious not to over-fertilize, as this can do more harm than good.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

There are always questions when it comes to gardening, and peppermint is no exception. Let’s clear up some common queries to help you on your gardening journey.

Can peppermint be planted directly in the garden?

  • Yes, peppermint can be sown directly in the garden after the last frost.
  • Ensure the soil is moist and the location receives partial to full sunlight.
  • Remember to space the seeds or seedlings adequately to prevent overcrowding.

Direct sowing is a straightforward method, but starting seeds indoors gives you a jumpstart on the growing season.

How long does it take for peppermint to germinate from seeds?

Peppermint seeds typically germinate within 7 to 20 days. However, this can vary based on factors like soil temperature and moisture. Using a heat mat for indoor starts can speed up the process.

What are the best conditions for growing peppermint?

The best conditions for growing peppermint include:

  • Moist, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
  • Partial to full sunlight exposure.
  • Regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist.

These conditions will help your peppermint plants thrive and produce a plentiful harvest.

How do I prevent my peppermint from overtaking the garden?

Peppermint is known for its vigorous growth and can become invasive if not managed. To prevent it from spreading too much:

  • Plant peppermint in containers or raised beds with barriers to contain the roots.
  • Regularly trim the runners and prune the plants to keep them in check.
  • Monitor the garden for any stray shoots and remove them promptly.

With these steps, you can enjoy peppermint in your garden without it taking over.

Can I grow peppermint indoors year-round?

Yes, peppermint can be grown indoors year-round with proper care. Provide your indoor peppermint plants with:

  • Plenty of sunlight, either from a sunny window or grow lights.
  • Consistent watering to keep the soil moist.
  • Regular pruning to maintain a compact shape and encourage leaf production.

With these conditions met, you can enjoy fresh peppermint leaves regardless of the season.

Growing peppermint from seeds is a delightful endeavor that rewards you with fresh, aromatic leaves for your culinary and medicinal needs. With the right preparation, care, and troubleshooting, you can cultivate a thriving peppermint patch that adds beauty and fragrance to your garden. So why not start your peppermint journey today and revel in the pleasures of homegrown herbs?

For garden enthusiasts looking to add a refreshing touch to their garden, learning how to grow mint from seeds can be a rewarding endeavor. This aromatic herb not only provides a pleasant scent and flavor for culinary uses but also has numerous health benefits. Starting peppermint from seeds requires patience, as germination can be slow, but with the right conditions and care, you can cultivate a bountiful mint garden that thrives.

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