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Our Herb Garden > Mint


Mint Characteristics

(Mentha viridis)

Growing Mint Plant
Mint Plant

Name Origin:

Derived from the mythological origin ascribed to it. Poets declared that Proserpine became jealous of Cocytus’s daughter, Minthe, whom she transformed into the plant. The specific name means green, hence the common name, green mint, often applied to it. Visit the rest of our article on the History of Mint to learn more about the historical uses of this aromatic herb.

Natural Order:


Growing Cycle:

Hardy Perennial Herb


Native to Mediterranean countries.


grows up 2 feet tall


Short-stemmed, acute-pointed, lance shaped, wrinkled leaves with toothed edges

Mint Flowers:

Cylindrical spikes of small pink or lilac flowers.

A Bit of A Mystery Surrounding Mint.

Mint has been known to bear flowers that are male on the first day of bloom and female on the second day along with smaller female flowers. Hermann Muller (1829 – 1883), a German botanist, believed this was a trick to attract insects to the showier male flowers first and then carry the pollen to the less attractive female flowers. (We found this in a book dating from 1900 and have not found another source that discusses this phenomenon. At the time of it’s publication, the author, Neltje Blanchan, does mention that this theory had yet to be proven.)

How to Grow Mint

(cultivation, propagation and harvesting)

Mint Cultivation.

If your are growing mint in weak soil, it will attempt to find richer soil on its own and tends to rapidly spread if left untended.

Mint prefers moist, rich loam and partial shade. While there will be a crop the first season, the second year will be more plentiful.

Before growing mint in your garden, consult our mint companion planting guide to take advantage of mint’s natural garden benefits.

When grown as a crop, drills should be 2 inches deep and 12-15 inches apart. Drop bits of rootstock every 6-12 inches and cover.

Each autumn, cut off the tops of the plant near the ground and dress liberally with manure, compost or rich soil. For best production results, mint beds should be renewed or changed every 5-6 years.

Mint Propagation.

Mint will easily propagate on its own but you can further propagate your mint plants through cuttings, offsets and divisions in the spring.

Harvesting Mint.

When harvesting for the purpose of drying your mint, the stems should be cut on a dry day once the morning dew has evaporated when the plants are approaching full bloom. It’s best not to cut mint leaves during damp weather as there is a risk of the leaves turning black.

Mint Uses.

Mint Leaves.

Fresh mint is often served as a compliment for lamb and is also used for flavoring soups, stews and sauces for meats. Some regions of the world keep pulverized mint on their tables for dusting upon gravies and soups, particularly pea and bean purees.

Spearmint is also a good choice for mint punch recipes.

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