Botanical Name: Mentha species
Mint plant comes in an amazing number of flavors. From more than 600 members of the mint family -- and many more hybrids -- among the most common are peppermint, spearmint, apple mint and pineapple mint.
Mint herb is a hardy perennial. Its oval, green leaves have a deeply veined texture, with finely toothed edges. Some varieties have leaves tinged with red or purple or are variegated.
You can expect tall spikes of pink flowers to grow at the stem tips in late summer. Pinch them off as soon as you see them. Mint plants don't produce seeds. And by using the plant's energy for growing flowers, the mint leaves will begin to lose their flavor.
Harvesting mint: Pick mint leaves early in the morning to get their best flavor and fragrance. That's when their oil concentration is strongest. You'll also get the best flavor by harvesting leaves before the plant flowers.
When grown outdoors, mint herb spreads rapidily by underground runners and can be invasive in the garden. However, growing mint in a container will keep it under control.
Pinch and prune. Pinch the growing tips to help control its height and to encourage the stems to branch out. If you don't harvest the leaves very often, the stems will get woody after a few years. Cutting the plant back by half will promote vigorous new growth and keep it lush and full.
Want to dry mint leaves? Cut the stems off near the soil. Hang them upside down to keep the concentration of essential oil in their leaves. Continue watering and fertilizing the plant to encourage fast regrowth.
Origin: Europe and Asia
Height: 1-2 ft (30-60 cm)
Light: Bright light to full sun. Turn the plant once in a while because it will tend to grow toward the light source.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Yellowing leaves are a sign of overwatering.
Humidity: Average room humidity.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C.
Soil: Any good potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take stem cuttings or divide older plants in spring. Mint herb does not produce seeds.
Give your mint plant bright light with some direct sunlight during the growing season.
Moving your herbs outdoors during the warm months will give them a boost.
Although it can be difficult to choose from the many types available, there are a few that are especially useful for flavoring and garnishing food and drinks.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint (M. spicata) are used for flavoring and fragrance.
Apple mint (M. rotundifolia) has a sweet citrusy aroma and a splash of apple flavor.
Variegated pineapple mint (M. suaveolens 'Variegata') makes a colorful garnish and has a fresh pineapple aroma.