Have you ever thought of how mint is included in a ton of products we use on a daily basis?
From toothpaste and gum to soap and tea, it seems like mint is nearly everywhere.
Everywhere, but your backyard.
In this article, we’re going to mention five types of mint plants you can easily grow in your garden. But first, let’s talk about how you can take care of mint plants.
What Does It Take to Grow Mint Plants?
There’s no limit to the number of garden plants you can grow in your backyard, and mint plants aren’t an exception.
When it comes to water, mint plants need regular watering, as they don’t tolerate drought. They thrive in damp soils, so it’s recommended to water mint plants every time you feel the soil drying out.
Sunlight is essential for mint plants as well. Although some kinds of mint prefer growing in the shade or partial shade, they still require plenty of sunlight.
However, if you happen to live in a hot region, providing shade to your mint plants is advised.
Another advice to keep in mind is that mint plants cross-pollinate, meaning that they can rapidly spread when they’re planted next to each other, resulting in a mint plant invasion.
Though it doesn’t sound like a problem, fast-spreading mint plants absorb more minerals and nutrients from the soil, which can affect neighboring harvests.
This can be avoided by planting mint plants at a distance from each other. You can also plant them beside brassica plants such as cabbages, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflowers.
Aside from their various therapeutic, culinary, and cosmetic uses, mint plants can guard your garden against unwanted insects.
They’re natural insect repellents that can keep such creatures at a safe distance from your crops, so planting a few of them might be more beneficial than you think.
Types of Mint Plants
Out of the 7000 species of mint plants found in different parts of the world, we’ve selected a few kinds of mint plants you can grow in your backyard.
Mentha x Piperita or better known as ‘peppermint’ is among the common types of mint plants found in every corner of the globe.
A quick fun fact about peppermints, they aren’t pure-bred herbs. They’re a hybrid of two kinds of mint: spearmint and watermint.
Fortunately, peppermint isn’t picky with the conditions it requires to grow in. All you’re going to need is a slightly acidic, light, well-drained soil, and regular watering.
Peppermints do well in full and partial sun. They don’t tolerate frost at all, so it’s better to start planting peppermint after the last spring or autumn frost.
This herb’s flowers begin to bloom in June and can last till September. Peppermint flowers are tiny and can vary in color, where they range between white all the way up to blue and purple.
Also known as ‘eau de cologne’ mint and ‘bergamot mint, orange mint is one spicy plant that won’t fail in exciting your taste buds or your sense of smell.
Since it’s too pungent for most tastes, orange mint is mainly used in cosmetics and perfumes rather than culinary purposes. However, it can still be used in flavoring certain foods.
This type of mint requires full-exposure to sunlight in order to attain optimum growth, so it’s typically grown during spring or summer months.
An orange mint plant can withstand cold temperatures to a small degree, but it won’t last long as it dwindles in unstable climates.
It also requires moist soils, preferably acidic, clay-like soil. Caring for such a plant won’t be tiresome for you, as long as you properly supply it with the right amount of water and sunlight.
Remain aware of the fact that orange mint plants grown in pots or mason jars will require more frequent watering than their ground-growing parallels.
At some point from June to September, orange mint plants will begin to grow white or pinkish-white flowers. This can attract insects such as butterflies and bees to your garden, which can help pollinate other plants in your backyard.
Due to their similar appearance, people often mix up between spearmint and peppermint.
Spearmint gained its current name from the characteristic shape of its leaves. While peppermint leaves are rounder and darker in color, spearmint leaves are thinner and lighter.
Plus, appearance isn’t the only aspect both mint plants are similar in.
Spearmint requires the same conditions as peppermint to grow in. Exposure to full sun and moist soil are all you’re going to need to plant spearmint shrubs.
If you’re planning on growing spearmint in pots rather than ground soil, you might need to add fertilizers to your plant. Potted spearmint shows the best results when it’s fertilized with liquid fertilizers.
Other than its leaves, spearmint flowers are also edible. They have a sweeter taste compared to the plant itself. Spearmint’s white flowers begin to bloom in June till the end of September, where they start to wither.
What makes pennyroyals special is their striking lavender color. Don’t let their color fool you though, because this kind of mint plant is dangerous to deal with.
Pennyroyals’ toxicity lies within their oils. Ingesting as little as 5 grams of pennyroyal oil can cause severe damage to a human’s liver. In the long term, it can cause liver and kidney failure, seizures, and eventually, death.
Luckily, planting them doesn’t inflict any harm.
Pennyroyals can grow in various kinds of soils. If an adequate source of water is available, they won’t mind moist, sandy, or clay-like soils.
They flourish in partial sunlight. You can expose a pennyroyal plant to full sunlight too, but make sure to water it often.
Similar to the orange mint herb, pennyroyal mints are planted during the spring and summer months. Having said that, this lavender mint can hold out against cold weather.
Pennyroyal mint can grow in 23F°, which is remarkable considering that mint plants aren’t good at tolerating low temperatures.
Additionally, pennyroyals don’t require the aid of fertilizers in order to develop. In fact, adding fertilizers can weaken these mints and decrease their flowering.
Speaking of flowering, pennyroyals bloom from July to September. They produce flowers of an enchanting violet hue.
That violet tends to fade into a pale blue toward the end of September. When that happens, you can harvest the flowers, dry them, and extract their oil.
You can harvest chocolate mint and add its rich flavor to various kinds of foods and beverages.
Chocolate mint earned its name on account of the delicate chocolate flavor you can taste when you ingest one of its leaves.
This plant can prosper in water gardens, where it requires damp soil with a constant supply of water.
Unlike any of the mint plants mentioned above, chocolate mint grows healthier in partial shade. For that reason, growing chocolate mint herbs indoors is better than planting them in garden beds.
The flowers of this herb start to bloom mid to late summer. They tend to be white in color, but some chocolate mint shrubs produce pink, almost mauve flowers.
Moreover, chocolate mint flowers are edible. Crushing both the leaves and flowers of this mint plant will give off a special, delicious taste that you can make use of for multiple purposes.
You can benefit from the outcome of planting mint in ways more than just enjoying their aromatic scent.
Growing mint plants is an overall easy process. They’re a kind of plant that requires as little care as possible and can handle a bit of neglect, so you don’t have to break a sweat caring for them.