Mentha arvensis (Wild Mint)

Scientific Name

Mentha arvensis L.

Common Names

Wild Mint, Corn Mint, Field Mint, Common Mint

Synonyms 

Calamintha arvensis, Mentha agrestis, Mentha albae-carolinae, Mentha alberti, Mentha allionii, Mentha angustifolia, Mentha anomala, Mentha approximata, Mentha arenaria, Mentha arguta, Mentha argutissima, Mentha arvensihirsuta

Scientific Classification

Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Mentha

Flower

Color: Pale purple
Bloom Time: Summer

Description

Mentha arvensis is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. It has a creeping rootstock from which produces erect or semi-sprawling squarish stems. Leaves are in opposite pairs, simple, hairy, and with a coarsely serrated margin. They are up to 2.6 inches (6.5 cm) long and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide. Flowers are pale purple (occasionally white or pink) and appear in whorls on the stem at the leaves' bases. Each flower is up to 0.15 inch (4 mm) long and has a five-lobed hairy calyx and a four-lobed corolla with the uppermost lobe larger than the others four stamens. The fruit is a two-chambered carpel.

Mentha arvensis - Wild Mint
Photo via minnesotawildflowers.info

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 4a to 8b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Mint is one of the few culinary herbs that grow well in shady areas, although it can handle full sun if kept watered.

Cuttings of Mint will root easily in soil or water, and mature plants can be divided and transplanted. However, you can start new plants from seed. Sow outdoors in late spring or start seed indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost. Keep soil moist until seed germinates.

Mint prefers a rich, moist soil with a slightly acidic pH between 6.5 and 7.0. If the soil is somewhat lean, top-dress yearly with organic matter and apply an organic fertilizer mid-season, after shearing.

To contain the roots and limit spreading, you can grow Mint in containers, above or sunk into the ground. Be careful to keep container Mints from flopping over and touching the ground. Stems will root quickly if given a chance. See more at How to Grow and Care for Mint Plants.

Origin

Native to Europe's temperate regions, western and central Asia, east to the Himalayas and eastern Siberia, and North America.

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