Although full sun tolerant, mint will thrive in a partly shaded area with plenty of moisture. Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed, spacing plants 12-24″ apart in dry-moist, average soil that is well-drained. Drought tolerant. Plant height 12-18″.
To keep plants looking their best, cut plants back regularly by a third periodically to promote a fuller appearance. In the fall, you can cut the plants just above ground level. Be sure to mulch over the top if winters are harsh in your area. Mulch annually with well-rotted compost for best results.
Does well in containers or mixed pots. Attracts bees and butterflies. Deer, insect and mouse resistant.
Mint, Spearmint mentha spicata ‘spearmint’
Spearmint is best known for its association with Wrigley’s, or other breath-freshening agents. It is less powerful than Peppermint, yet equally scintillating. Many people prefer its sweeter aroma and lighter leaves. In earlier eras, mint leaves were chewed not only to freshen the breath but also to clean and whiten the teeth. Spearmint is especially good in sauces, jellies, and teas. This is a good mint to use in the Middle-Eastern cracked-wheat salad Tabbouleh.
Mint has been known since antiquity. A Greek myth tells of a nymph, Minthe, who was transformed into a plant by Persephone, a goddess. Persephone was jealous of the girl because of the affection she’d received from Hades, Persephone’s husband, god of the underworld. When Hades found that Minthe had been turned to a plant, he imparted a sweet smell to her that would rise and give pleasure to any who walked upon her leaves.
Mints attract a number of good pollinators to the garden. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to the mint when it flowers. Mints have a tendency to be quite invasive; so many people plant their mints in pots or containers. However, if you want to keep mint in your garden, try planting your seedlings in bottomless number ten cans, or surround them with a barrier that is at least ten inches deep – laundry baskets work well for this. Just be sure to drill plenty of holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. If you have a damp spot in your garden area, consider planting mint as a groundcover as it likes a moist soil.
Mint is best when used fresh. Dried mint, when stored in airtight containers, will retain its flavor and scent. To harvest, gather bunches and hang on drying racks or spread on screens until completely dry.