Though there are over 600 varieties of mint, spearmint should be singled out because it is particularly scented. Why you might want to include this hardy perennial in your garden.
Spearmint gets its name from its pointed leaves. The botanical name for this mint is also taken from the pointy leaves - Mentha Spicata means "pointed-leaved mint." In these delicious leaves, the magic happens.
Menthol is a chemical that affects the flavor and aroma of most mint plants, but spearmint has a much lower concentration of this compound than other varieties. What sets spearmint apart is the presence of carvone. This same chemical is found in some favorite herbs like dill and fennel. Caraway seeds add spiciness to spearmint, which results in a citrus mint taste. The other compounds in caraway make the herb distinctive, giving it a spicy flavor.
Spearmint has been used for a long time. The herb has been cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes for over 1,000 years. It was mentioned in the Bible as being so valuable that along with other spices it was used to pay taxes.
Spearmint originally came from the Middle East and was popular among monks and then in small gardens throughout Britain. In the 14th century, an anonymous writer under the penname John Gardiner writes about spearmint in a work on gardening. Horticulture is a word that is used in the English language. It is also an ingredient that was used in early toothpaste products.
It was known by the 15th century to help with stomach ailments. It is still used for this purpose today. While its monetary value may not be as high as it once was, it is just as useful. From being used in cocktails, tea, mint jelly, and non-traditional medicines to candles and oils, the plant's use continues today. The flower has spread as much as it has in the garden.
Full Sun- Part Shade
Good soil is well-draining and moist.
Zones 4 - 10, USA
Europe and Asia
Planting spearmint is not hard. In fact, sooner or later you will wonder how to stop mint from growing if you plant it in the wrong place. The most important thing to consider when planting most types of plants is to make sure it does not encroach on other plants. Your landscape refers to the plants and flowers in your garden.
Mint plants grow by rhizomes and stolons. This means that the plant can be a good candidate for a container garden, but if you want to plant it in the ground, it should be spaced carefully so that it doesn't spread too far. Three feet apart is a good rule for spearmint plants, which will give them enough time to grow. To be harvested, olives must reach a sufficient height.
Harvesting mint is best done before the plant flowers, as the flavor will be more concentrated in the leaves. If you harvest regularly, you can get a number of harvests throughout the season and then dry your mint for use throughout the year.
Mints like sunlight. Spearmint can also be grown indoors under a light or in a bright window.
Mints like soil that is moist and well-drained. If you are potting them, use an organic soil mix without any fertilizer.
Water the plant regularly, but be careful not to overwater it. Let the soil get slightly dry between watering sessions then soak it thoroughly.
Temperature and Humidity
Spearmint does well in USDA zones 4a to 11 and can be kept indoors on a window sill or under a grow light.
Spearmint plants do not need to be fertilized. But if you want to continue harvesting the plant, you can add some nutrients after harvest.
Both plants and seeds are available at any time, and they are both easy to grow. Of course, seeds take more effort, but they are more affordable.
Mint can be grown from cuttings taken in the early spring using rooting hormone.
Growing Spearmint from Seeds
If you want to start seeds indoors, wait eight to ten weeks before the last frost. Indoors, seeds will germinate in about two weeks. Keep the soil moist until there is germination, and then mist it daily. If you have a fan next to your seedlings, that's perfect. It is a good idea to strengthen the plants by giving them water and fertilizer. You can also sow the seeds outdoors in soil that has some shade.
Spearmint and its close relatives can be distinguished by their shape and the number of fluffy hairs on their leaves and stems. Apple mint, for example, has softly rounded leaves and its stems and leaves are covered in fine, fluffy hairs called trichomes. The flowers of Apple mint are white or light pink, and the flavor is less minty. The vinegar smell is almost fruity.
Chocolate mint Mentha x Piperita ‘Chocolate’ has dark green leaves and grows quickly. The plant has a strong, minty smell and flavor reminiscent of chocolate liqueur.
Lavender Mint (Mentha x Piperita 'Lavender') is as ornamental as it is aromatic. This beauty has large purple blooms and can reach heights of 36 inches. There is also a tricky version of spearmint known as curly-leaf mint (Mentha spicata 'crispa'). This tall growing mint has all the same features, but its leaves have a curly appearance. Spearmint has similar traits, but the leaves are tightly curled.