Spearmint Variety Advice

mintguy83May 3, 2009

I had three indoor spearmint plants that were overtaken by some sort of bug that they must have brought home from the nursery. Now, I am planning to replant the spearmint from a different, non-infested nursery.

I have been doing some reading, and it seems there are different types of spearmint.

Apparently before I had "curly spearmint" (mentha spicata v. crispa). My new plant nursery carries "Kentucky Colonel Spearmint' (mentha spicata) and there is apparently a third type of "plain spearmint" (also mentha spicata). Which type should I plant? I plan to mostly make Mojitos with this mint. I already have Peppermint, chocolate mint, and "mojito mint" (mentha x villosa).

Which spearmint variety is best for making drinks? Thanks!

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From the name, I would suspect "Mojito mint" would probably work best, but I think "Kentucky Colonel" should be good, also going by the name. I've seen it, and it has a nice fragrance.

Some varieties seem to grow better in some conditions than others. If you want a good stand of spearmint, you might want to ask your nurseryman which one grows best in your area. In general, my experience with herbs has been that the fancier varieties (eg. curly, varegated, etc.) are not as vigorous, and tend to lose their essential characteristics (fragrance and flavor) to some extent.

I always lightly pinch a bottom leaf of any variety I am considering purchasing, as well, to check fragrance. Some shipments of herbs seem to have herbs with more fragrance than others. Fragrance and flavor are not always the same thing, though.

Good luck with the chocolate mint. I've never been able to get it to winter over--don't know if it needs moister soil than I have provided or if it's just not winter hardy for me.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 3:52AM
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I grow about 15 or so varieties of mints, including three "spearmints". My favourite is Moroccan Tea Mint (I am afraid I do not know the botanical name). It has a very intense spearmint perfume and flavour. Although it has struggled for me down here on the plains, it grows quite well in the hills near here, where it is cooler and wetter.
Chocolate mint does require a bit more water, and a bit more coddling than many of the other varieties.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 8:12AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Richters has quite a robust Mint page. Check out some of the descriptions and see what you think might work.

I like mint in hot drinks (i.e tea) so I can't comment on what's best for iced drinks. But I know the Westerfield mints have interesting flavors and aromas that many people like. See the Richters page linked in above for those.

Come back and let us know what mints worked for you in drinks. :)


    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 8:36AM
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I would vote for the KY Colonel of those three. Very good for juleps! I have mojito mint too, which I do use for mojitos (more because I can than because it actually tastes better-- they're all good!).

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:26AM
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