Features of peppermint
Mint is an aromatic perennial plant of the Mentha genus in the Lamiaceae family. The genus includes about 20 species and many hybrids. Most species come from temperate regions of Africa, Asia and Europe. Some of them come from Australia and North America. In its natural environment, the plant grows in swampy outskirts, meadows, forest edges. Grows to a height of 30 to 90 cm.
The most famous is, of course, peppermint, but there are many varieties where the menthol flavor has faded into the background, and other flavors predominate. Mint has been grown in gardens for centuries and is easy to grow.
Frost-resistant varieties are suitable for the garden, everyone else is better in a container.
Leaves with a serrated edge can have a smooth or shaggy texture, in different shades of green. The flowers appear from mid to late summer and are very attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Note! Almost all types of mint grow quickly, and to prevent them from taking over the entire garden, they are given their own space, ideally separate from other plants.
It is a perennial herb that is easy to grow making it an ideal plant for beginner gardeners. Peppermint feels good in the sun, also grows in partial shade. Chocolate mint can tolerate the sun’s rays as long as the soil does not dry out, while Moroccan mint suffers noticeably in the sun.
How to grow mint?
It is one of the most widely used plants and is grown all over the world. In order for the plants to bring a good harvest, a little care for them will help. The main thing is that the soil around the plants is always slightly moist, so they need to be watered regularly, especially in summer.
The location of mint must be changed every three years, otherwise it will deprive the soil of too many nutrients. Additional fertilizer is hardly needed, once a year fresh soil is useful, which can be enriched with a little humus / compost. Not later than three years later, old plants are removed in favor of young shoots. This allows young plants to grow better and develop many leaves.
It is best to plant mint in the spring. However, mint is hardy and can be planted even during the warmer summer months, provided enough water is provided.
Seedlings can be bought at the garden market. Mint has small roots, so it does not like compacted soil.
The substrate should be loose and rich in nutrients.
The planting hole should be slightly larger than the root ball. After the soil is well pressed, water the plant. Ideally, you can also water the root ball before planting. Mint in the garden grows very quickly, it needs to be thinned out several times a year. To contain this from the start, plant the mint in a larger plastic pot before planting it in the ground, and then bury it in the ground with it.
Morning and evening sun is perfect for mint. The place should be spacious so that the leaves dry quickly from moisture, and thereby prevent fungal diseases.
Note! Mint thrives best in indirect sunlight rather than full sun and partial shade. Can be grown in full sun if watered frequently.
Watering and fertilizing
Mint does not like drought and needs regular watering. The only thing mint needs is constantly moist soil, but in any case, waterlogging should be avoided. It is best to water the plants in the morning so that they have enough moisture when the hot midday sun hits them.
Fertilize very little, because it may happen that the leaves take on the taste of fertilizer.
The mint needs to be plucked and pruned regularly so that it puts all its strength into new large leaves. You can prune the plant back in March after it germinates, or after the first flowering.
Additional Information! The second autumn pruning is important (close to the ground). So the plant tolerates winter well.
Pruning is desirable to achieve the fullest possible taste, as it stimulates the growth of new leaves.
Peppermint reproduces vegetatively – it is an herb that is not grown from seeds. It grows very easily in a flower bed, and in the fall the bush is divided to get new plants. The rhizome is cut into pieces with a shovel. Throw away the old central shoots.
Propagation of mint cuttings
To propagate mint by cuttings, 7 cm stems are cut from a healthy plant and cut just below the leaf nodes. The lower leaves are removed and planted directly in the soil or in a glass of water until roots form, then transplanted to a permanent place.
In most cases, the cuttings grow quickly.
Mint is a hardy perennial plant. Many species growing in the garden are hardy, so they do not need additional protection on cold days. Peppermint that grows in a flower pot is best moved indoors during the winter months.
The benefits of peppermint
Mint is widely used throughout the world as a medicinal plant, as well as in cosmetic formulations as a flavoring ingredient and as a skin care agent. Leaves contain up to two percent of essential oils. The plant contains about forty active ingredients. Mint has an excellent taste and aroma and its healing properties are invaluable:
- strengthens the nervous system;
- suitable for flu and colds;
- relaxes the intestinal muscles, also suitable for colic and intestinal diseases;
- effective for problems with the gallbladder;
- supports the production of bile and digestive juices;
- suitable for diarrhea;
- helps with headaches;
- suppresses vomiting.
Effectively helps with headaches of various origins: from pain caused by tension, stress, migraine. This herb is an ideal and particularly effective choice for indigestion and soothes the digestive tract. Can stop vomiting, relieve pain from gallstones, relieve bloating, improve digestion. An excellent choice even for those who suffer from the so-called travel sickness.
Peppermint is effective for colds, viruses, or flu because it relaxes the airways. Inhalation is recommended for people with asthma.
Effective help against bacteria in the mouth. Thanks to its antibacterial effect, it quickly helps with sudden pain in the teeth or gums in the form of rinses. Suitable for rinsing the mouth and disinfecting the oral cavity.
For irritated skin from the sun and acne prone skin and other problems such as acne, etc., mint lotion will help soothe and reduce skin irritation.
Mint is also good for hair, it stimulates their growth, improves blood circulation, and effectively fights dandruff. It is enough to apply a few drops of peppermint oil directly to the scalp.
Works against insomnia: a cup of mint tea in the evening before bed will help.
Diseases and pests
Mint is usually undemanding and hardy, but like all plants it can be affected by some diseases and pests.
Basically, it is threatened by fungal diseases. Mint rust is widespread, where rusty-brown layers of spores form on the underside of the leaf. Leaf spot disease or powdery mildew may also occur.
Pests are quite rare. Sometimes there is a mint leaf beetle.
Plants planted close together are at increased risk due to increased moisture around the plants. This is facilitated by over-watering, which often allows water to remain on plant leaves long enough for fungal spores to germinate. A spacious place serves as a preventive measure.
All infected parts must be carefully removed from plants and burned to prevent re-infection. Always water the mint at the base, not on the leaves, and do it early in the morning so that the water evaporates quickly.
Collection of raw materials
You can start picking mint leaves in the spring as soon as the plant has grown and continue picking as often as possible. Frequent collection of leaves constantly produces new fragrant leaves. The more raw materials are harvested, the better the grass will grow, which means that fragrant leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season.
The best time to dry mint is from June to August. To do this, simply cut the stems and tie them together. Do not dry in the sun.
If you plant different types of mint next to each other, they can interbreed with each other. This changes the flavor of the leaves.