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10 Unusual Mint Varieties

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If you love mint like we do, there are so many more flavors beyond spearmint to grow and enjoy.  You can both use them as ground cover in your garden or a patio tea party container seasoning.

Pineapple Mint

Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’

Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’

Pineapple mint is a cultivar of apple mint with two-toned leaves and strong fragrance. It grows in rich, moist soil and full sun as well as partial shade. The plant is very vigorous so you should keep it under control if you’re growing it in the garden. IF you don’t want the plant to revert to its parent cultivar nip any solid green sprigs as you encounter them to prevent it from taking over.

Ginger Mint

Mentha x gracilis syn. Mentha x gentilis

Mentha x gracilis syn. Mentha x gentilis

A cross between corn mint and spearmint, ginger mint is easy to grow even in poor soils. It spreads quick so be sure to keep it contained.  Grow in full sun and mulch to protect it over the winter. Clip the plant’s woody parts to allow for new growth feed it with bone meal twice a year.

Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis

Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm is a perennial that grows in most types of soil and like most mints prefers full sun to partial shade. It won’t spread because it doesn’t use underground runners like other mints but it will increase in size, so you want to cut it back a few inches during growing season. Mulching will prevent new seeds from germinating and if you’re harvesting lemon balm often add a slow release fertilizer during planting.

Chocolate mint

Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate’

Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate’

As most mints it spreads quickly, so it’s easy to grow and care for. It thrives in full sun to partial shade. Pinching keeps the plant healthy while trimming promotes new growth.

Orange mint

Orange Mint plant

Mentha x piperita subsp. citrata ‘Orange’

Orange mint is another cute herb that grows in full sun and blooms in mid summer. It doesn’t come true from seed and is sterile but it’s quiet hardy and aromatic.

Grapefruit mint

Mentha x piperita ‘Grapefruit’

Mentha x piperita ‘Grapefruit’

It seems most citrus fruit are represented in mint plants. Grapefruit variety is an easy-to-grow herb that grows in full to partial sun. In summer and early fall the plant blooms with beautiful lavender flowers that attract bees and butterflies.

Licorice mint

Anise hyssop

Anise hyssop

It looks as sweet as it sounds, producing beautiful purple and violet flowers as it blooms in summer. This mint family perennial wildflower may not only make a nice fragrant brew, but also be used as a sweetener.

Apple mint (Woolly mint)

Mentha suaveolens

Mentha suaveolens

Apple mint, also known as woolly mint is an ornamental variety with fuzzy serrated leaves and spiky flowers. Thriving in full sun to light shade this beauty as many of its relatives can be used in teas, salads, or as garnish.

Banana Mint

Mentha arvensis 'Banana'

Mentha arvensis ‘Banana’

Yes, there is even a mint variety that smells of banana. This hardy perennial prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. As many of its sister plants, banana mint is invasive, so better keep it controlled in a pot. We imagine it’s the best kind of mint to be used as dessert garnish.

Lavender Mint

Mentha piperita ‘Lavendula’

Mentha piperita ‘Lavendula’

Lavendula is an easy-to-grow mint, which means it’s invasive and should be controlled. Its dark stems and green leaves can be used in teas and drinks or as ground cover in the garden. The plant prefers loamy well-drained soil and can grow in shade with a few hours of sun.

Mint is an amazing plant that freshens up your tea and enriches your salads. But it’s long been used for medicinal purposes for its potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Since it has many such properties, it’s often noted that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid ingesting various mints.

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