One of the easiest of all herbs to grow, Mint is also very useful in a range of cuisines.
Mint is a perennial herb grown for the leaves which are both fragrant and add flavour to a range of foods.
Although their are many varieties of mint available, they all have some characteristics in common.
All mint plants have square stems, and all release a fragranc when you crush the foliage.
Used to make sauces, jellies and cool drinks, mint is also used in salads and teas. Easy to grow and very hardy, mint is best grown in a container as it is a vigorous plant and spreads by underground runners.
Mint will grow well in warmer climates as long as the soil is humus rich and moist. In very hot areas such as USDA zones 8 and 9, it is best planted in afternoon shade.
How to grow Mint
- Position – Full sun to a little afternoon shade
- Soil – Humus rich, loamy and well drained.
- Propagation – Easy from root cuttings.
- Overwintering – Mint plants will need to be overwintered in a protected position. They do not cope well with freezes. Mint will die back in winter. If it does not receive a freeze, or heavy frost it will usually grow back well in mid spring.
- Choose a sunny position, plant your mint and water in well.
- Keep the soil moist for but well drained for best results.
- Prune back regularly to promote a bushy growth habit.
- Remove runners as they appear.
Simply dig a rooted section of the plant, such as runner and replant. Water well until established.
A number of culinary mint varieties are available, all with different flavour profiles.
- Peppermint – A stronger tasting variety
- Spearmint – The variety used to make Mint Sauce and a sweeter variety that peppermint.
- Apple Mint – very mild taste with an ‘apple like’ fragrance.
- Pineapple Mint
Mint plants are readily available to buy from nurseries, garden centres and mail order suppliers.