Top 10 Mints to Grow in Local Gardens

08/26/2022 | Ken Davis Herbs, In the Garden

by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

Audible Stories Provided by SignalsAZ.com
Mint in a Barrel

Mint plants, Mentha, are among the most commonly grown plants in Arizona gardens. It is easy to see why mints are so famous. They are tough, cold-hardy perennials. Mints serve as flavorful herbs in the kitchen and as ground covers in the garden. The pungent smell prevents deer and rabbits from eating their foliage with a preventative barrier that prevents insects in the gardens.

Mint can choke out other garden plants. Plant them where their ability to spread is a benefit, not a drawback. Here are 11 of the best mints to grow locally.

American Wild Mint

American Wild Mint is native to much of the U.S. and Canada. In the kitchen, it is used in candies, jellies, and teas. Traditional medicinal uses range from curing toothaches to treating hiccups.

Apple Mint

Apple Mint has lighter green leaves with bright white flowers in summer. The oblong foliage on long stems is ideally grown as a groundcover over banks, driveways, and boulders. The light apple flavor is perfect for culinary use and whispy teas. Recipes to Watters 10 Great DIY Mint Teas.

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint – the ‘Chocolate’ comes from its smell. The taste is actually orangey. Darker green foliage than most with lavender flowers in summer. Everyday use is in drinks and desserts.

Corsican MInt planted amongst stepping stones

Corsican Mint is another excellent choice when you need a miniature plant. It forms dense mats of tiny leaves and has lilac flowers. Beautiful when planted at the edge of containers. Because of its size, tendency to spread, and ability to hold up to some foot traffic, it is an excellent choice for growing between stepping stones.

Mojito Cubano Cocktail Recipe

Cuban ‘Mojito’ Mint is intimately associated with Cuba and their rum cocktail known as ‘Mojitos .’Its intense aroma from extra large green leaves and flavor made it a favorite.

Spearmint

Spearmint – gets its common name from the pointy spiked foliage with pink flowers in summer. Famously used to flavor chewing gum in salads and teas. Grow the ‘Kentucky Colonel’ variety for its nicer foliage and feel.

Penny Royal Mint

Pennyroyal – is most popularly used as a pest deterrent. Shorter than other mints with bright lavender flowers, it is ideally at home in the perennial garden with a less aggressive stance.

Learn more about the 5 Mountain Herbs You Only Plant Once.

Peppermint – has pink flowers with toothed foliage along the margins and dark green. The Peppermint scent is uplifting and eases upset stomachs. Everyday use for this herb is to flavor teas and potpourri.

pineapple mint

Pineapple Mint is a cultivar of apple mint with pineapple variegated foliage. The leaves are so stunning it is more often grown for beauty in the garden. It has no equal in attractiveness, flavor, and aroma as a garnish. The fruity notes mix well in fruit salad, jelly, and teas.

Watermint

Watermint has light lavender flowers and leaves with purplish veining. As the name suggests, it likes growing in water and stunning in small water features. Salads, teas, and balms are delicious uses for Watermint.

Stacy Teaching Garden Class

FUN GARDENING CLASSES are coming up that are sure to green up the thumbs of even novice gardeners. Classes are free and are held at Watters Garden Center at 9:30 on the following Saturday mornings.

August 27 @ 9:30 am – Gardening for Newcomers Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success. Learn about growing zones, frost dates, soils, and more; you’ll know exactly what to do in the gardens after this class. This information-packed class is guaranteed to increase garden blooms and fruit this year.

September 3 @ 9:30 am – Top 10 Trees and How to Plant them – Privacy, shade, color, evergreen, and blooms. We cover trees from every angle. With so many choices, picking the perfect tree can seem overwhelming, but not after this class. Our horticultural team will be on-hand after the course to help with individual tree situations. Free tree planting guide to all attendees.

September 10 @ 9:30 am – Climbers & Covers in the Landscape. Vines quickly climb fence posts, pergolas, barbed wire, walls, and trellis. They block, screen, and shade better than any other plants in the nursery, but not all vines are created equal. Learn local favorites, sun and shade lovers, and all the advice to get these bloomers climbing.

Until next week, I’ll be here at Watters Garden Center helping local gardeners plant better mints all week.

Ken Lain can be found at Watters Garden Center throughout the week, 1815 Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at WattersGardenCenter.com or Top10Plants.com.