Growing Peppermint for Peppermint Tea

Growing peppermint for peppermint tea is so simple, enjoyable, and rewarding. If you've been considering growing your own herbs so you can enjoy the very freshest, healthiest herbal teas, peppermint tea is a wonderful choice to start with. 

Peppermint is easy to grow in your garden or in a pot on the kitchen windowsill, and this herb will thrive with little attention. 

Because peppermint is a prolific traveler, it will quickly and happily spread to take up however much space you give it. As such, when you're growing peppermint, keep in mind that this herb is best planted in some sort of container or a contained spot. 

A special thanks to my mom, Bette (an enthusiastic, lifelong herbalist), for her invaluable tips and information about growing and harvesting peppermint!

Growing Peppermint | The Tea Talk

Growing peppermint means you will be able to enjoy fresh, fragrant hot or iced peppermint tea (and its many wellness benefits) whenever you want. Fresh peppermint is ideal for therapeutic peppermint tea steams, too.

Growing Peppermint

Follow these simple steps to grow your own peppermint from a peppermint stem cutting.

You'll need...

  • A few fresh peppermint stalks, at least 4 - 5 inches (10 - 12 cm) long (fresh peppermint can usually be found at farmers' markets and grocery shops)
  • Fresh, clean water and a container (glass works well) to hold your peppermint while it roots
  • Potting soil and a few pebbles or an extra teabag (new or used)
  • Pretty pots (peppermint can spread quite abundantly, so allow plenty of room for each plant)

To root and plant the peppermint...

First, partially immerse your peppermint stalks in a container filled with cool, fresh, clean water. The roots will grow from an existing node or leaf bud on the stem, so ensure the stalks are well submerged in water (enough to cover some of the nodes or buds on the stalk). Then, set the container on a bright windowsill, and wait until roots sprout from the stalks.

Growing Peppermint | The Tea TalkWaiting for peppermint stalks to root

Peppermint will start to root within a few days or a week, but leave your stems in water (adding more fresh, clean water to the container, as necessary) until the roots are at least 1 inch (2 - 3 cm) long (this may take 1 - 2 weeks or more). You may even notice a few root hairs beginning to appear. These healthy roots will ensure your plant will be well established, once planted.

Now, it's time to plant! Add some clean pebbles or a teabag to the bottom of the pot to cover the drainage hole (and to encourage good drainage, as well), and then add potting soil. Use your finger or a spoon handle to make a hole in the soil (deep enough so the peppermint roots will be completely buried), and pop in your peppermint stalk.

Scoop the soil in around the lower stalk and roots, and press the soil down gently around the base of the stem to stabilize the plant.

Growing Peppermint | The Tea TalkPlanting peppermint stalks

That's it! Place your peppermint plant in a warm, sunny or partly shady spot, and keep it moist (peppermint doesn't like to be too dry or too waterlogged, either). Within a week or two, your peppermint plant will begin to grow taller and shoot out new growth from the base, and new buds will appear along the stem, as well.

| Related:  Tea Garden Ideas on Pinterest

Once your peppermint plant has grown a few inches, pinch back the central stem to a height of 3 - 4 inches (7 - 10 cm) (this will help to promote fresh, abundant growth). And, don't worry about harvesting your peppermint stems and leaves often - this encourages new growth, too, and your peppermint will grow back very quickly.

If you live in a spot where you can outdoor garden only a few months of the year, consider harvesting and drying enough peppermint to last through the winter, or start a nice big container of peppermint indoors so you can brew peppermint tea at any time throughout the year. (Fresh peppermint is lovely in other dishes and beverages, as well.)

Growing peppermint in a garden

If you decide to plant your new peppermint plant directly in your garden instead of an indoor or outdoor pot, remember that peppermint is a very persistent traveler!

To prevent this hardy perennial herb from taking over your garden, plant it in a very contained area or add a fairly deep barrier or border edging around the peppermint plant. (However, be warned - some gardeners have found that even this will not prevent peppermint from spreading to other areas of the garden.)

What about growing peppermint from seeds?

True peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a sterile hybrid plant that doesn't produce seed, so peppermint must be grown from stem cuttings or by root division. (Anything labelled as "peppermint seed" is typically seed from other types of mint, such as spearmint.)

To ensure you'll be enjoying true peppermint, start your peppermint plant from a stem cutting or, if you have a friend with plenty of peppermint in her herb garden, pay her a visit in the fall and ask if she'll share a peppermint plant (root and all) with you.

Why not try...

  • Peppermint plants make thoughtful, practical, pretty gifts. Why not pot an extra peppermint plant to give to a fellow herbal tea lover on a special occasion - or just because?
  • Keeping peppermint in a container on your deck or patio will act as a natural pest repellent, helping to keep the area free from insects, ants, and mice.

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Fresh or dried peppermint?

Peppermint tea is absolutely delicious and has so many benefits whether made from fresh or dried peppermint leaves. Fresh peppermint, however, does contain more essential oils than the dried herb, and so tends to have a more full-bodied flavor and may be slightly more beneficial than dried leaves. (Excellent reasons to consider growing peppermint for tea.)

Now that you've planted your own peppermint, you'll be ready to harvest it in no time at all! Learn more here about harvesting, drying, and storing peppermint. 

No matter where you live - a tiny apartment, a huge house, or anywhere in between - you can easily grow your own peppermint. This pretty, practical herb will be a wonderful addition to your home. It's delightful to look at, so easy to grow, has an enticing aroma and taste, and is chock-full of benefits for wellness.

As with any herbal tea - whether you enjoy it as a delicious, healthful beverage or love it for its topical or aromatherapy benefits - it's so important to ensure peppermint tea is a good choice for you. Check with your herbal practitioner or healthcare professional about peppermint tea, and read more here about some precautions associated with peppermint tea. 

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