English Pennyroyal

Mentha pulegium

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mentha (MEN-thuh) (Info)
Species: pulegium (pul-ee-GEE-um) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Muscadine, Alabama

Alameda, California

Castro Valley, California

El Sobrante, California

Merced, California

Redwood City, California

Spring Valley, California

Littleton, Colorado

Kissimmee, Florida

Cumming, Georgia

Decatur, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Falmouth, Maine

Rumson, New Jersey

Sag Harbor, New York

Salem, Oregon

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Beaumont, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Garland, Texas

Lancaster, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Leesburg, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 29, 2018, Hexalectris from CANTONMENT, FL wrote:

I don't grow the stuff, but I do use the extract. 4-5 drops in a pint of water and used with an ordinary squirt bottle chases virtually any bad guy including roaches. I found my bird seed tub crawling with roaches on one occasion, and a quick app of Pennyroyal sent them flying with no return. The birds don't mind either. I've also had excellent success with fire ants. I've stopped using fire ant bait because the stuff is terribly toxic, stays in the soil and it's expensive. Pennyroyal extract has none of those problems. A small bottle is $10-12 and 4-5 drops in a pint is sufficient.


On Mar 7, 2014, recentcoin from Celeste, TX wrote:

Things I've noticed about this: It doesn't like clay soil much. It doesn't like full sun in our Texas summers. It likes a bit more moisture than can easily be provided in summer, too unless its grown near water. Other than that, it's easy to grow and certainly seems to repel bugs. We developed an ant problem. They were coming in from a flower bed so I planted this in the flower bed and the ants moved far away.

I also took to using an extract (take a pint jar and pack it full of pennyroyal stems & leaves, fill the rest with everclear) to spray instead of insecticide and never saw another bug.


On Jan 3, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have pennyroyal planted around my pond, and to some extent it is evergreen (zone 5a). It loves to grow into the pond and roots really well in the water. I leave some of it there to help use up excess nitrogen left behind from too many fish. It also helps to hide the edges of the plastic.

My information says it is hardy in zones 3-9. It is slow to germinate. Blooms in July in my garden.


On May 23, 2005, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Pennyroyal has one of the nicest minty scents .... amost wintergreeny.... very fresh (and sweet) and pure smelling.... tiny shiny green foilage is cute.... easy to use as a groundcover (doesn't love to be walked on) may die out in very cold winters..... Too bad (with its lovely scent/taste) it is not edible.... best not to take internally.... Good though as insect repellant..... Insignificant purple flowers.... grow as "fragrant" groundcover.....


On May 2, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

An herbal medicine cabinet must, but it needs to be contained. If it escapes, I simply rip it out. Wonderful additive for herbal teas (if you are not pregnant), especially for those less desirable flavored ones. My insects aren't daunted by it at all. : (


On Dec 15, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The scent is wonderfull, and since it keeps away little creepy, flying things, I like it even more!


On Aug 17, 2004, deborahgrand from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

I have tried to grow this plant in just about every condition in BR, La and never, ever had success with it. May be operator error, or this climate may just not be good for it.


On Nov 12, 2003, noxiousweed from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I keep pennyroyal in a container. I became interested in it as a flea repellant - I add the oil of the plants/flower into my pet shampoo. I've read numerous warnings about pregnancy however - for pets or people, if pregnancy is a possibility, avoid pennyroyal. The blooms are unusual and fall just short of stunning en masse.


On Jun 16, 2003, christidir from Lancaster, TX wrote:

I have had great success growing this herb so far this summer. It has spread quickly, has a wonderful aroma and is attractive in containers with flowering annuals and caladiums. The only problem I find with it is that on the website, botany.com, it discourages from using it in cooking, as it says that too much of it can be toxic to humans. Because I have small pets who sometimes like to "sample" around in my container plantings, I have worried that they might be attracted to the herb and that it would be harmful to them. This could be significant information for anyone with small pets around their gardens.


On Jan 24, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Like many mints, pennyroyal has its very positive and very negative traits. I have planted it between the stepping stones in my vegetable garden, where it tolerates some foot traffic. White cabbage moths are strongly repelled by the smell, so my brassicas are almost pest-free. Lady bugs are very attracted to it, so aphid problems are mostly controlled.

Pennyroyal is not winter-hardy for me, but the plant self-sows so abundantly that it is very invasive and must be weeded out continually.


On Jul 25, 2002, Ayre007 wrote:

If you are pregnant or nursing NEVER, EVER use the Pennyroyal. It is a very good insect repellent (actually, most bug sprays like OFF use the chemicals from Pennyroyal in their products). Throughout history Pennyroyal is famous as an abortifacient. However, many woman have died attempting to do this because the dose that it takes is close to the lethal dose. The toxins shut down the liver. However, as a tea, Pennyroyal is good for any stomach ailments but I would use something not so risky like Ginger or Caraway instead ;)


On May 31, 2002, MikeandSusan from Springtown, TX wrote:

We are experimenting with use of this plant as a groundcover with some success. We co-planted three small transplants together with two of creeping thyme in a bermuda/sand-burr-infested area last spring. The combination of thyme and pennyroyal has spread to an area of about 15 x 15 feet with virtually no cultivation and has completely eradicated the bermuda and burrs in that area. It also seems to have suppressed fire ant activity in the covered area.

The planted area receives morning sun; a similar planting in a shadier location did not do at all well. The next step in the process will be to make another combined planting around a recently finished stock pond to control erosion.


On Nov 2, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is a wonderful little creeper with a strong minty fragrance. It forms a fast traveling, dense mat, of glossy green leaves. The lavender flowers grow in whorls up the stems at the leaf axils. Its known to repel insects, especially fleas. In large concentrations it can be toxic to the skin and if taken internally so if your looking for a mint for tea its best to go with another variety. Its strong aroma smells clean to me. I dont know where I ever got the ideabut I make a large pennyroyal infusion, add a couple of pints of vinegar, and use the concoction to wash my hardwood floors. It is not winter hardy in northern zones so it never gets a chance to become invasive like so many other mints. It will grow in full sun as well as partial shade