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Mentha spp. (MEN-tha)

Perennial Full sun to part shade

Height: 1 - 3'

Spread: Unlimited

Spacing: 12 - 24"


HABIT: Aggressively spreading plant. Highly aromatic leaves on square stems are round, oval, or slightly pointed, smooth or wrinkly, and slightly serrated on their edges. Peppermint leaves are smooth and round and the plant has a purplish stem. Spearmint leaves are more deeply veined and the edges are more jagged. 


CULTURE: Very easy to grow. Like moist soils. Go easy on the fertilizer for best flavor.




USES: Used to flavor all kinds of foods, especially green peas, salads, desserts, and drinks. Mints are best taken in teas. Groundcover in areas of wet soil.


PROBLEMS: Some chewing insects but none serious. Whiteflies and aphids occasionally. Most mints are aggressive spreaders and hard to keep under control.


HARVEST: Cut and use fresh, dry and store in glass containers, or freeze and store in plastic. It's always best to use mints fresh.




NOTES: Divided into two groups according to fragrance: the spearmints Mentha spicata and the peppermints Mentha pipervita. Here is a tutorial that helps distinguish between the two from WikiHow. For some medical lore, visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. And from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Peppermint Oil.





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