Mentha spicata (Spearmint)

Scientific Name

Mentha spicata L.

Common Names

Spearmint, Spear Mint

Synonyms 

Mentha aquatica var. crispa, Mentha cordifolia, Mentha crispa, Mentha viridis

Scientific Classification

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

Flower

Color: Pink or white
Bloom Time: Summer

Description

Mentha spicata is a perennial plant with hairless or hairy stems and leaves and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The stems are square-shaped. Leaves up to 3.5 inches (9 cm) long, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide, and have serrated margins. It produces flowers in slender spikes. Each flower is pink or white, up to 3 mm long with an equal width.

Mentha spicata - Spearmint

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 the 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 and southwest Asia.

Links

BACK TO genus Mentha
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