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Mint Mentha spicata

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
MEN-thah spih-KAY-tah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Spearmint is an aromatic herb or groundcover in the Lamiaceae (mint) family native to Europe.   In its natural haibtat it is found growing in moist fields and pond or lake margins.

This upright perennial thrives in full sun in well-drained soils moist growing quickly 1 to 2 feet high and wide with bright green leaves and shoots.  It can be distinguished from other mints by its almost hairless (glabrous) leaves that are attached to the stem with a very to amost non-existant petiole (sessile).  The square stems can root wherever they touch the ground and it also spreads by rhizomes.

It is widely used for culinary purposes, and is known as one of the best mints for flavor. Use the flowers and leaves fresh or dried in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, ice creams, lamb dishes, and mint sauce.

 Best grown in a container as it spreads rampantly.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Fungal diseases are common diseases in spearmint. Two main diseases are rust and leaf spot.  Spreads aggresively.  

VIDEO Created by Laura Barth for "Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Nuts", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Kentucky Colonel'
'Kentucky Colonel'
Tags:
#perennials#weedy#fragrant leaves#aromatic#spreading#herb garden culinary#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#container plant#vhfn#vhfn-h#early childhood
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Kentucky Colonel'
'Kentucky Colonel'
Tags:
#perennials#weedy#fragrant leaves#aromatic#spreading#herb garden culinary#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#container plant#vhfn#vhfn-h#early childhood
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Mentha
    Species:
    spicata
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used as an essential oil crops.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe
    Edibility:
    Fresh or dried leaves and flowers in teas, beverages, sauces, jellies, vinegars; Fresh leaves in fruit salad, peas, syrups, candies, ice creams, lamb dishes, mint sauce
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Herb
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The central stem and any upper lateral stems terminate in dense spikes of whorled flowers about 1-6" long that appear from July-October. Tiny flowers are white to pink.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The upper surface of each leaf is medium green and glabrous; it has a wrinkled appearance because of the indentations along its veins. The lower surface of each leaf is pale to medium green and mostly glabrous and the leaves are nearly sessile. The foliage of spearmint has a moderately strong minty fragrance.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Hairless to somewhat hairy square stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting and diarrhea with large ingestions
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Essential Oils
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No