Mint is a fast-growing fragrant herb that is easy to grow in a home garden. There are several different mint varieties and each one has a unique aroma, flavor, and usage. Even if you don’t plan on using mint, the plants are attractive and make a good addition to a home garden.
Peppermint is the best known of the mint varieties and you may become interested in some of these other lesser-known varieties after reading about them.
Let’s find out how to grow and use different mint varieties!
Also known as woolly mint because of the plant’s woolly-looking stems, apple mint (Mentha suaveolens) fragrant and easy to grow. Plant seeds in partial shade and well-draining soil.
Apple mint grows rapidly and can become invasive if not kept in check by digging up some of the plants each spring. Plants can be contained easily when grown in a container.
Cut plants back to the ground every fall/autumn and cover with a 2-inch (5cm) layer of organic mulch. Mature plants will reach 2-feet (60 cm) tall and equally as wide.
Apple mint can be used fresh or dried and is often used to flavor beverages and desserts. The oil extracted from the leaves is used as as antiseptic for minor skin irritations. Apple mint tea is used as a home remedy for headaches, fevers, and digestive problems.
This is not the same plant that cats adore. Catmint (Nepeta mussinii) is a fragrant herb with gray leaves and bluish-purple blooms. This is a low-growing mounding plant that repels garden pests, like aphids, and makes an ideal companion plant in the vegetable garden.
Catmint will thrive in sun or partial shade and is not too picky about soil conditions. It will bloom twice a year – once in the spring and again in the fall/autumn.
Use fresh or dried to add flavor to soups and salads.
Tea made from the flowers of catmint is said to calm the nerves, relieve coughing, and reduce chest congestion.
This mint plant has such a strong fragrance you will smell it long before you see it. Field mint (Mentha arvensis) grows wild but seeds can be harvested and the mint can be grown in the garden or container.
Field mint has an unusual square stem and small tufts of pinkish-white blooms on top. This mint variety loves full sun and loamy soil that contains a lot of compost.
Field mint tea, made with fresh or dried leaves and flowers, is used to treat colds and flavor foods.
This is a hardy, vigorous-growing fragrant mint plant that pollinators adore. Grapefruit mint (Mentha x Piperita) will reach a mature size of 12-inches (30 cm) tall and 18-inches (45 cm) wide when grown in full sun. This mint variety is not as invasive as most other varieties and it thrives when planted in the ground or containers.
Grapefruit mint produces a large mauve-pink flower and large green leaves. Leaves have a mild grapefruit flavor and are typically diced and place into ice cube trays with water to create grapefruit-flavored ice cubes to place in summertime beverages.
Use the fresh or dried leaves to create a tea that is rich in antioxidants and help the body detox naturally.
Lavender mint (Mentha piperita ‘Lavendula’) is an easy-care plant that has a mild lavender fragrant and flavor. The red stems and tiny purple flowers are often used in salads, desserts, and cold beverages. The plant will be 2-feet (60 cm) wide and equally as tall when mature.
Plant lavender mint seeds in the spring in full sun and well-draining soil. Cut plants back to ground level in the fall/autumn and cover with a 2-inch (5cm) layer of organic mulch.
Lavender mint has the same soothing and calming properties as lavender flowers. It can be used to make a tea that contains analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antiseptic, and antispasmodic properties.
The oil from this mint variety is used to flavor candy, gum, chewing gum, and many other items. The aroma and flavor are well-known and the plant is easy to grow. The natural habitat for peppermint (Mentha x Piperita) is in shady areas near water, like on the banks of a stream.
Plant this mint variety in well-draining soil and give it plenty of water. It will grow in full sun and the more sun it receives, the more intense the oil will become. A mature peppermint plant will be 3-feet (90cm) tall and 2-feet (60 cm) wide.
Peppermint tea is used to treat digestive issues, nerve pain, and cold symptoms.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) closely resembles peppermint but it has bright green pointy leaves and produces 4-inch (10 cm) long spikes of purple flowers. A mature spearmint plant will be 1-2 feet (30 – 60 cm) tall and equally as wide.
Plant seeds in fertile, well-draining soil in late spring. The plant will thrive in partial shade and can become invasive through underground runners. Prevent an invasion of fragrant spearmint plants by growing them in containers.
Spearmint tea is used to treat nausea, indigestion, gas, headache, toothache, cramps, and sore throat.
*This article is not intended to be medical advice, so please do not rely solely on the information provided in this article for your health.