Pennyroyal is an herb that has had a long history with man. It has been used to make medicine, a pest deterrent, and as scent for perfumes and/or soaps. But…….it also has a dangerous side in that consumption of this herb can cause death. In doing so, grow with caution.
Having said that, pennyroyal is a great plant to add around your home. Planted under windows and around doors will repel ants and other home invaders during the spring and summer. Before you jump into the car to go to the local garden nursery, no that there are two different kinds of pennyroyal, which includes the European and American. Both are easy to grow but the American is a native.
Pennyroyal is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 through 9. It loves to be planted in areas where the soil has been disturbed recently and does require a soil that has organic matter in it. Beyond that, it does well in full sun, and a soil that is kept evenly moist.
While you can grow pennyroyal from seed, a quicker approach is to buy a plant or find a friend with some pennyroyal to spare. This plant is easily divided and roots with no problem from cuttings. Due to the fact that pennyroyal is in the mint family, you will want to contain it in some form or fashion to keep it from becoming invasive. To keep the pennyroyal looking like a designer element in your container gardens, utilize each variety differently.
European pennyroyal has a training habit that is just right for a hanging basket. Another idea is to use European pennyroyal in a container garden as a trailing plant hanging over the edge.
When it comes to the American pennyroyal, plant it in a decorative trough. If desired, any of these planting ideas can be brought indoors easily.
If you decide to grow your pennyroyal from seed, there are a few tips. First, yes you can directly seed into the chosen garden space after your local frost free date. Two, yes you can start the seed indoors but regardless of which technique you choose, remember not to cover the seed. Pennyroyal seed require light germinate. Also, do not let the soil dry out. While this may be common sense when you are propagating by seed, the mature pennyroyal plant does not do well when the soil is left dry for long periods of time.