Mint is one of the most popular herbs used in cooking. Mint is available in different forms such as leaves, flowers, seeds, and oils. But, whichever form you find it in – it all starts with the plant!
There are many types of mint plants, each with its own unique flavor and aroma. Here are some of the most commonly grown varieties of mint plants.
Spearmint is the most widely cultivated variety of mint plant. This type of mint is known for its fresh, clean taste. It is usually found growing in gardens and parks, and is native to Europe and Asia. The name spearmint comes from the Latin word spina mentha meaning “spine-like herb”. Spearmint has a strong scent that can be described as a mixture of peppermint and citrus. It is often used to make tea or ice cream.
2. Chocolate Mint
Chocolate mint is another popular variety of mint plant. Its distinctive flavor makes it ideal for use in desserts and drinks. Chocolate mint was first introduced into cultivation by English botanist John Lindley in 1836. It is an attractive plant that grows well indoors and out.
3. Water Mint
Water mint (mentha aquatica) is a fast-growing annual herb that grows well in water. It is sometimes called swamp mint. Water mint is not only good tasting but has also been shown to help purify the air.
Plant water mint along edges of bodies of water. It grows well in slightly acidic soil in moist, loamy soil. Mints prefer full sun but can grow in part shade as long as there is adequate moisture. Like all varieties of mint, water mint spreads by runners, so you should sink them into containers with drainage holes.
4. Apple Mint
Apple mint is a small tree that produces aromatic white flowers. It is native to China and Japan. It is often grown as an ornamental plant due to its beautiful appearance. The leaves of apple mint contain essential oil which gives them their characteristic scent.
5. Cinnamon Mint
Cinnamon mint is a small shrub that produces fragrant white flowers in late spring. Despite its seemingly confusing name, it is a member of the mint family. Cinnamon mint originated in India and Southeast Asia. In addition to being a culinary herb, cinnamon mint is also used in perfumes and cosmetics.
6. Lemon Mint
This variety of mint plant is a hybrid cross between spearmint and lemon balm. It is very similar to spearmint, but has a slightly sweeter flavor. Lemon mint is easy to grow and maintain. It does best when given plenty of sunlight and regular watering.
7. Orange Mint
Orange mint is a hybrid cross between peppermint and orange mint. It has a sweet citrus flavor. Like other mints, orange mint is great for making teas and iced beverages. It is a hardy plant that will grow in any climate.
8. Apple Mint
Apple mint is an aromatic herb that grows in moist soil and it is often confused with water mint because it thrives in damp areas. The leaves are often used in salads and soups, as well as fruit drinks or iced tea. You can also make a tea out of dried apple mint leaves and you can make a herbal remedy out of bruised apple mint leaves.
9. Lime Mint
Lime mint is a hybrid cross of spearmint and lime mint. It has a milder flavor than spearmint. Lime mint is commonly used to flavor candy, baked goods, and soft drinks. It is also one of the easiest varieties of mint to grow.
10. Grapefruit Mint
Grapefruit mint is a hybrid cross that combines spearmint and grapefruit mint. Grapefruit mint is a perennial herb with soft, fuzzy foliage and a strong citrus-mint fragrance. It grows up to 36 inches tall and 18 inches wide, and it needs some pinching back to get bushy. The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and birds, so this plant should be used as an ornamental garden plant.
It has a fruity flavor and is often used in cooking and baking. Like spearmint, grapefruit mint can be used fresh or dried.
11. Pineapple Mint
Pineapple Mint is an attractive herbaceous perennial with attractive variegated foliage and white flowers. It is related to pineapple sage (Santolina chamaecyparissus) and pineapple basil (Ocimum micranthum). Pineapple mint tastes a lot like spearmint, but it has a stronger aroma. It is commonly used in cooking and baking, especially desserts.
12. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a perennial herb that grows in damp areas. It has a lemony fragrance and is used in teas and herbal remedies. Lemon balm is also known as “melissa” and “bee balm.” It can be grown as an annual in zones 3 to 8 and it does well in full sun but also thrives in partial shade. It looks best when it is trimmed regularly. Use the leaves to make refreshing herbal tea, flavored fruit or salads, and to season fish. You can also include the stems in bouquets.
13. Rosemary Mint
Rosemary mint is a hybrid cross created by crossing spearmint and rosemary mint. It has a spicy flavor and its leaves are often used in tea blends and to make potpourri.
14. Thyme Mint
Thyme mint is a hybrid cross developed by combining spearmint and thyme mint. It has a peppery flavor and it is often used in teas and desserts.
Peppermint is a species of flowering plant in the genus Mentha. It is usually found growing on dry land. Its leaves have a strong menthol taste and smell. It is often used to flavor food, beverages, chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, and tobacco products. Peppermint is also used as a medicinal herb.
Peppermint grows well indoors because of its short season. When you grow peppermint from seed, it takes about 6 months before you see any results. You should wait until the weather is warmer to start your plants. You can also buy starter plants from a nursery.
Snipping off the tender buds promotes bushier growth. Flowers should be pinched back to encourage longer harvests. Leaves should be picked while the herb is still young. The leaves can be dried in the oven at 150°F and, after drying, they should be stored in air tight containers.
16. Basil Mint
Basil mint is a hybrid cross produced by crossing spearmint with basil mint. It has a strong minty flavor and is often used to flavor foods such as ice cream, cookies, and cakes.
17. Oregano Mint
Oregano mint is a hybrid cross from oregano and spearmint. It has a strong oregano flavor and is often used as a seasoning for meats, poultry, vegetables, and pasta dishes.
18. Lavender Mint
Lavender mint is a hybrid cross. It is a combination of spearmint and lavender mint. It smells like lavender when crushed.
19. Fennel Mint
Fennel mint is a hybrid cross derived from fennel and spearmint. The leaves are often eaten raw in salads and sandwiches.
20. Sage Mint
Sage mint is a hybrid cross based on sage and spearmint. Its flavor is reminiscent of both sage and spearmint, making it a good choice for dishes where you want a little bit of both flavors.
21. Sweet Cicely Mint
Sweet cicely mint is a hybrid cross with spearmint and sweet cicely. It tastes like spearmint, but with a hint of sweetness. Sweet cicelys grow best where the soil stays moist and it can be grown successfully indoors during winter. When grown outside, the plant will die down to the ground after the first autumn freeze.
22. Chive Mint
Chives mint is a hybrid cross involving chives and spearmint. Like other hybrids, it has a unique flavor. It is sometimes called “champagne mint” because the flavor resembles champagne.
23. Tarragon Mint
Tarragon mint is a hybrid cross using tarragon and spearmint. This mint has a stronger flavor than most others. It is often used in sauces and soups.
24. Parsley Mint
Parsley mint is a hybrid cross between parsley and spearmint. Unlike many other mints, this one does not contain any peppermint oil. It is often used as a garnish or flavoring agent.
25. Bay Leaf Mint
Bay leaf mint is a hybrid cross composed of spearmint and bay leaf mint. It has a light bay leaf taste.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to add mint to your meals and drinks, why not try growing your own. As you can see – there are plenty of varieties to choose from, with lots suited to different growing environments.
The main thing to remember with whichever variety of mint you choose to grow is that it should always be grown in a container. Mint sends out runners which, if not contained, can soon spread all over your flower beds. So, unless you want your entire garden covered with one variety of mint, pop it in a pot and it’ll behave!