Mints, plants in the genus Mentha, are easy to grow if given enough water and a bit of shade. Most spread by underground runners into large patches, sometimes even overwhelming smaller plants with their rampant growth. Mints can be contained in pots, either set into the ground or on a back step. Peppermint and spearmint are common, but other types have subtle, delicious variations on the basic mint fragrance.
One of the most charming of mints is the tiny Corsican mint (M. requienii) with leaves less than a quarter inch across but with an intense scent similar to the somewhat larger pennyroyal (M. pulegium.) Pennyroyal is hardier, surviving cold weather more successfully, but Corsican mint will often come back from seed if frozen out.
Mentha piperata, the peppermint, has a spicy scent that, in some varieties, takes on fruity overtones. You can find lemon bergamot mint, orange, chocolate, lime, eau de cologne, candy and lavender mints.
One of the most popular mints, spearmint can be found in varieties called "Kentucky Colonel," "Mint the Best" and basil mint. One type, called "Curly Mint" has leaves with ruffled edges.
Applemint is one of the largest and most invasive of the mints. Give it and its varieties, pineapple mint and grapefruit mint, a large container or a bed surrounded by concrete to keep it from taking over your yard.
More Mints to Grow
Mints are native to areas all over the world and many have been brought into cultivation. You'll find Austrian mint (M. gracilis), Egyptian mint (M. niliaca), ginger mint (M. gentillis), Habek mint (M. longifolia "Habek"), Japanese mint (M. arvensis), silver mint (M. longifolia) and other flavors offered for sale. All should respond well to the same conditions, moist soil and a bit of shade.
- Care for Peppermint Plants
- Herbs That Can Grow With Basil in the Same Pot
- Care for a Chocolate Mint Plant
- Purple Leaf Identification
- Mint Plants
- Peppermint Plant Information
- Selected Herbs for Growing in New Hampshire
- Grow Spearmint Indoors
- Use Fresh Mint Leaves
- Grow Lemongrass From Seed
- Remove Aphids on Mint
- Sweet Herbs & Spices