Mints are probably the most widely grown herb. Most mints are upright perennials that grow two to three feet tall. Corsican mint (Mentha requienii) and pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) are low-growing exceptions. Mints have been used for thousands of years as culinary spices, antiseptics, and potpourri.
The mint family (Lamiaceae), which is native to Europe, is easy to grow. Mints adapt to a wide range of soils. Because mints are so invasive, plant them in containers to prevent them from taking over too much garden space. For optimum growth, plant mint in a moist, organic soil in any spot from partly shaded to full sun.
Start mints from seed, cuttings or divisions from an established plant. Shear it back two to three times a season to control floppy growth.
Harvest mints in the morning after the dew is gone to capture the highest amount of essential oils. Don't refrigerate or freeze mint because its leaves will turn black, it may be preserved by hanging it in bundles upside down to dry. Use the dried leaves for cooking or potpourri.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension Fact Sheet.
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Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014