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MENTHA pulegium

Image of Mentha pulegium

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Lamiaceae

Botanical Name

MENTHA pulegium

Plant Common Name

Pennyroyal

General Description

This aromatic member of the mint family has long been known as fleabane because the its oils repel these age-old pests. It is a species native to the Old World from Europe to Iran where it grows in a wide range of conditions. It is a low-growing, spreading perennial with soft light-green leaves that are slightly hairy and serrated. When crushed they emit a peppermint-like fragrance. The plant is vigorous and once established may naturalize where conditions are right.

Pennyroyal blooms in summer with upright stalks bearing whorls of tubular, lilac-blue flowers. It thrives in full sun or part shade where summers are long, hot and dry. The soil should be well-drained but high fertility is not essential. Pennyroyal is attractive in an herb garden and also serve well in sheltered spots of a cottage garden. Because it is not edible nor particularly attractive, this plant is commonly found in rural homesites due to its value as a natural pesticide. Centuries ago in England, fresh cut sprigs were scattered about the floor of heavily used rooms to cloak odors and drive out vermin. They can be used the same way in pet beds where they discourage fleas and ticks naturally.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 2

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4"-16" / 10.2cm - 40.6cm

  • Width

    12"-20" / 30.5cm - 50.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Iraq, Iran

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No