Botanical Name: Mentha spicata

Perennial zones 4-9
Height 12-18″
Spacing 36-48″ apart

Full sun tolerant
Average soil
Flower color: white to lavender
Uses in garden: great in containers, drought tolerant, fragrant, ground cover
Uses: in salads, teas, desserts, or with lamb
Attracts: bees and butterflies
Deer, insect, and mouse resistant

Mint, Julep

Mint Julep is named after the famous drink “Mint Julep” that is made with Kentucky bourbon, because of its particularly smooth flavor. It is one of the sweeter mints, and goes well in desserts and teas. An aggressive grower, it should be confined to pots or small or separated areas of the garden, like other mints. Try growing various varieties of mints in pots on a patio, or along a sidewalk. Then experiment with the different flavors, in salads, teas, desserts, or with lamb.

Mints attract a number of good pollinators to the garden. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to the mint when it flowers. They 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 will thrive in a partly shaded area with plenty of moisture. To keep plants looking their best, cut plants back regularly – it encourages the plant to bush out. 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.

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.