Peppermint from seed?

catman529(6b)February 5, 2009

I am trying to grow Ferry Morse peppermint from seed...but I read that many store-bought peppermint seed won't produce true peppermint, more like a weak flavored spearmint...is this right? Should I find a good cutting instead?

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mr_grizzly

I have grown the Ferry Morse, and several other brands, peppermint from seed and it is a crapps shoot, you never know what you will end up with. I have had a few come true, true enough anyways, from seed and some that have come up as other strains, such as the weak spearmint or a citrusy flavor. Your best bet is to buy a good transplant, or root a cutting from a confirmed peppermint plant. Transplants are easy to find, probably at wherever your got the seeds. Good luck with your mint.

-Colby

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 11:32PM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is essentially a sterile hybrid. It may produce a few seeds out of millions of flowers. A Michigan State University study showed that seed fertility from manually pollinated peppermint flowers was about .0002% -in other words pretty close to zero.

Any "peppermint" seed that you buy, regardless of vendor, will grow out to be a type of spearmint (Mentha spicata) or, in some cases, water mint (Mentha aquatica) which are the parents of peppermint. Both parents are remarkably variable and should also be grown from cuttings to ensure the type.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 1:00AM
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catman529(6b)

OK thanks for confirming my thoughts...I got the seed online but there is a local produce shop/nursery nearby that might have some this spring. They had chocolate mint last year and I might get some of that as well (but not grow them close together because I don't want strange tasting hybrids)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 12:08PM
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francescod(6b/7a VA)

Don't worry about growing close together. The don't exchange flavors by being too close. Hybridization happens to the offspring. Since peppermints (chocolate mint is a type of peppermint) are sterile there won't be any cross pollination/hybridization with any other mints anyway. The mints that are fertile will readily cross pollinate and hybridize with each other, but they have to produce flowers in order to cross. And again, only the offspring from those hybridized seeds will be different.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:55PM
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catman529(6b)

Yes, I just read that chocolate was a strain of peppermint, but it went out of my head. Obviously two sterile plants wouldn't cross pollinate. I was aware that the plant's flavor would not be affected; I was concerned that the peppermint would pollinate the chocolate mint and produce seeds and lots of funny-tasting offspring...like I said it went out of my head that chocolate mint was a sterile hybrid too.

Thanks

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 9:36PM
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mudflapper

The only way to ensure the flavor and aroma of Mint is to get cuttings! anything else is well... A crap shot! you never know what you gonna get!
Ken

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:50AM
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