Mint has a Bad Rep
Mint is my favorite foliage and filler and the most important plant in my garden. Boom. I’ve said it. Controversial. “I’m planting a bunch of mint” causes the vapors in experienced gardeners. At best the response is “ BE CAREFUL”. I plant about 100 new mint plants a year, No fear! Poor ol’ mint gets a bad reputation cause it’s so easy to grow and so hard to get rid of. Are you looking for a versatile and low-maintenance herb to add to your garden? Look no further than mint! Mint‘s not only easy to grow but also offers a variety of benefits for your garden. Mint is the perfect addition to your container garden or raised bed. I promise.
Why is Mint so Scary?
It’s so easy to grow it can overtake slower growers, Mint can out-compete slower growers and take over a large area in a season. Mint plants spread via rhizomes underground so any root or stem fragment can make a new plant. This makes it hard to remove. Some varieties are more likely to send out runners that root and make baby plants.
Companion Planting with Mint
One of the greatest advantages of growing mint is its ability to repel pests and attract beneficial insects. Planting mint near roses, for example, can help deter aphids and other common garden pests. Additionally, mint's strong scent acts as a natural insect repellent, making it a valuable companion plant for your other flowers and vegetables. We plant mint all around our lil ol’ house to keep unwanted visitors away. The smell of mint is a deterrent for Mickey Mouse and his cousins. When Mint flowers it attracts beneficial insects. Here, at HHF, our perennial mint is the first to start flowering in early spring.
Choosing Mint Varieties
When it comes to mint, the options are endless. From the classic spearmint to the exotic apple mint, pineapple mint, and pear mint, there is a mint variety for every taste and preference. Each variety offers a unique scent, flavor, and color allowing you to experiment with different combinations in your garden. Chocolate mint, common mint spearmint, pineapple mint are favorites we ONLY grow in containers. Pear, Apple and Mount Mint we plant in the landscape and allow to spread.
Growing Mint in Containers
If you have limited space or want to keep your mint contained, growing it in a container is the way to go. Mint is a vigorous grower, and planting it in a pot will help prevent it from spreading and taking over your garden. Make sure to choose a well-draining container and use a good quality potting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, and place your mint container in a sunny spot. We plant mint on the corners of raised beds and pull up shooting roots when we flip beds for the season.
Mint as a Cut Flower and Foliage
Aside from its culinary uses, mint also makes a fantastic cut flower and foliage for floral arrangements. The vibrant green leaves and fragrant scent of mint can add a refreshing touch to any bouquet. Whether you're creating a centerpiece for a dinner party or simply want to bring some natural beauty indoors, mint is a versatile and readily available option.
Hardiness and Maintenance
Mint is a hardy perennial that thrives in a variety of climates. It is especially well-suited for zone 7 and can withstand the colder temperatures of northern Virginia winters. Once established, mint requires minimal maintenance. Regular pruning will help keep the plant bushy and prevent it from becoming leggy. Remember to harvest your mint frequently to encourage new growth and maintain its compact form.We cut all of our mint plants down to ground level between Thanksgiving and Christmas and harvest deeply all season.
Mint for the Farmer Florist
Mint is the first foliage that is harvestable for us in Zone 7, Virginia. Every daffodil or tulip arrangement has mint as its filler. The first tall mint is usually Garden store variety Common Mint. Mint is tricky to hydrate but harvested properly it will last for 14 days in a vase. Cut in the evening or early morning and leave in dark cool room, in cool clean water for 4+hours before using. We use a capful of QuickDip 100 in our mint water. We have experimented with searing stems. We find a fresh cut into water right away is the most effective. Our favorite foliage and filler for Bouquets and arrangements are:
Variegated Pineapple Mint; a lovely green and white color with fuzzy, mid-size leaves. This is a shorter variety but the color is Fab.
Pear Mint; Another favorite for early season. This gets very tall early season 2. A mellow mint smell and darker, blue-green leaves that are smaller and pointy on tall, upright stems. Very straight without support!
Strawberry Mint; has a mellow, fruity smell. Smaller leaves, light green, more delicate stems are great for smaller arrangements. Mid height.
Mountain Mint; a North American Native. This mint has delicate looking, sturdy stems with a silvery look. Lovely!
Apple mint is a flower farmer favorite that is HUGE! Bright green, large, leaves have a fuzzy texture. Within 8 weeks of spring planting we have stalks 36” tall. Apple mint is extra tricky to hydrate. Cut in the evening or early morning and leave in cool clean water for 4+hours before using. This variety’s hydration cannot be rushed.
*Mexican Mint Marigold we consider Marigold not Mint.
The Mojito of it all
Which mint variety is best for mojitos? All of them. We love to lean into a theme and embrace the variety. Strawberry Mint=Strawberry Mojito. If we have to choose one mint. Pear. Easy, fuzz-free, leaves and mellow taste.
Don’t be Scared! Mint is undoubtedly one of the best herbs to grow in your garden. Its versatility, low maintenance, and ability to attract beneficial insects make it a must-have for any gardener or Farmer Florist. Whether you choose to grow it in a container or directly in the ground, mint will reward you with its fragrant foliage, beautiful flowers, and a touch of freshness in your garden.
HHF Pear Mojito Recipe
2 oz White Rum
½ oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Pear nectar or 1 slice of Canned pear
2 tbsp. Simple Syrup*
4-6 pcs. Pear Mint leaves
Combine the mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass.
Add the Rum pear nectar, and lime juice. Stir until fully dissolved.
Add ice to cool your drink, and top it all off with club soda.
Garnish with mint and pear slices.
*fast and easy simple syrup 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water in a 2 cup measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir and chill.