Types of Mint Plants

Types of Mint Plants

Mint plants, with their refreshing flavors and aromas, are beloved additions to gardens and kitchens across North America. As part of the Mentha genus and the mint family (Lamiaceae), these cold-hardy perennials are not only tasty herbs but also versatile ground covers. Let’s explore the different varieties of mint plants and discover some popular mint plant species.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are various types of mint plants, each with its own unique characteristics and uses.
  • Mint plants are cold-hardy perennials that spread easily through rhizomes.
  • Some popular mint plant species include peppermint, chocolate mint, spearmint, pennyroyal, and more.
  • Mint plants are primarily grown for their flavorful leaves and can be used in teas, desserts, and as ground covers.
  • It’s important to choose the right mint plant for your needs and be mindful of its invasive tendencies.

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)

Peppermint, scientifically known as Mentha × piperita, is a popular variety of mint that offers a delightful aroma and refreshing taste. This versatile plant is commonly used for its culinary and medicinal properties. With its distinctive pink flowers and rounded leaves, peppermint adds both beauty and flavor to any garden.

Peppermint plants thrive in a variety of growing conditions. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained, rich, and moist soil. These cold-hardy perennials are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9 and can reach a height of 12 to 24 inches. Whether you’re looking to brew a soothing cup of peppermint tea or add a burst of flavor to your dishes, this mint is sure to impress.

“Peppermint is a versatile herb that can be used in various ways. Its leaves can be used fresh or dried, and its essential oil is highly sought after for its therapeutic properties.”

– Expert Gardener

Aside from its culinary uses, peppermint is also valued for its numerous health benefits. It is known to aid digestion, relieve headaches, and alleviate symptoms of cold and flu. The menthol compound found in peppermint leaves provides a cooling and calming effect, making it a popular ingredient in many natural remedies.

Peppermint Uses Description
Mint Tea Peppermint leaves are commonly used to brew a soothing and refreshing cup of herbal tea.
Culinary Delights A versatile herb, peppermint adds a burst of flavor to dishes, desserts, and cocktails.
Aromatherapy Peppermint essential oil is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and relieve stress.
Natural Remedies Peppermint is a key ingredient in various natural remedies, including headache balms and digestive aids.

Chocolate Mint (Mentha × piperita f. citrata ‘Chocolate’)

Chocolate mint, also known as Mentha citrata, is a delightful variety of mint that stands out with its unique aroma. This particular type of mint plant gets its name from its distinct smell, which is more chocolatey than minty. Although the name might suggest a chocolaty flavor, it is important to note that chocolate mint does not taste like chocolate. Instead, it offers a refreshing and minty taste that complements a variety of drinks and desserts.

When it comes to appearance, chocolate mint has darker green foliage compared to other types of mint plants. It also features lovely lavender flowers that add a touch of color to your garden. This variety of mint thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-drained, rich, and moist soil. In terms of height, chocolate mint can grow up to 12 to 24 inches tall, making it a versatile addition to your herb garden or as an ornamental plant.

Uses of Chocolate Mint

Chocolate mint is primarily used to add a pleasant fragrance and flavor to various beverages and desserts. Whether you want to enhance the taste of your hot chocolate, create a refreshing herbal tea, or make a delicious chocolate mint ice cream, this variety of mint is a fantastic choice. Its unique aroma and taste make it a popular ingredient in cocktails as well, offering a fun twist to classic drinks.

Aside from its culinary uses, chocolate mint also adds aesthetic appeal to your garden. Its dark green foliage and lavender flowers make it an attractive addition to flower beds, borders, or containers. The fragrance of the plant also acts as a natural deterrent to pests, making it a useful companion plant for your other garden crops.

Tips for Growing Chocolate Mint

If you’re interested in growing your own chocolate mint, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Plant chocolate mint in well-drained, rich soil and ensure it receives enough sunlight or partial shade.
  • Water the plant regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not overly saturated.
  • Consider growing chocolate mint in containers or pots to control its spread, as it can be quite invasive in garden beds.
  • Prune the plant regularly to promote bushier growth and prevent it from becoming too leggy.
  • Harvest the leaves as needed, making sure to leave enough foliage for the plant to continue growing.

With its delightful aroma, attractive appearance, and versatile uses, chocolate mint is a fantastic addition to any garden. Whether you want to enjoy its refreshing flavor in your favorite drinks or simply admire its beauty, this variety of mint is sure to bring joy and freshness to your gardening endeavors.

Characteristics Details
Scientific Name Mentha × piperita f. citrata ‘Chocolate’
Common Name Chocolate Mint
Plant Type Herbaceous Perennial
Height 12-24 inches
Sun Exposure Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Type Well-drained, Rich, Moist
Hardiness Zones 5-9 (USDA)
Uses Culinary, Aromatic, Ornamental

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint, also known by its scientific name Mentha spicata, is a popular type of mint plant with a refreshing flavor and aroma. It is widely used as a flavoring agent in chewing gum, salads, and teas, adding a cool and minty taste to various dishes. The leaves of spearmint have a characteristic spear-like shape, giving the plant its name.

As a garden plant, spearmint is valued for its attractive pink to pale violet flowers, which add a touch of color to outdoor spaces. The ‘Kentucky Colonel’ cultivar of spearmint is particularly sought after by gardeners for its beautiful foliage. Spearmint plants prefer full sun to partial shade and thrive in well-drained, rich, and moist soil. They can grow up to a height of 12 to 24 inches, providing a lush and aromatic addition to gardens.

“Spearmint has a delightful fragrance and taste that can instantly elevate the flavor of your culinary creations. It’s a versatile herb that can be used in everything from savory dishes to desserts, giving them a fresh and minty kick.” – Chef Jane Miller

Benefits and Uses of Spearmint Leaves

In addition to its culinary applications, spearmint leaves also offer several health benefits. They are known for their soothing properties and are often used to alleviate digestive issues such as bloating and indigestion. Spearmint tea is a popular herbal remedy for soothing an upset stomach and promoting digestion.

Furthermore, spearmint leaves contain essential oils that have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. These oils can help fight oral bacteria, freshening breath and promoting oral health. Chewing on fresh spearmint leaves can provide a natural and refreshing alternative to traditional breath fresheners.

Table: Comparison of Spearmint and Peppermint

Characteristic Spearmint (Mentha spicata) Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)
Flavor Mild and slightly sweet Cool and intense
Uses Culinary, medicinal, and aromatic Culinary, medicinal, and aromatic
Leaves Spear-like Oval-shaped
Height 12 to 24 inches 12 to 24 inches
Hardiness USDA zones 5 to 9 USDA zones 5 to 9

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Pennyroyal, scientifically known as Mentha pulegium, is a unique type of mint plant that is primarily used as a pest deterrent rather than a culinary herb. It is important to note that pennyroyal is toxic and should not be consumed. However, its aromatic properties and low growth habit make it a useful addition to gardens as a low ground cover.

The pennyroyal plant features lavender flowers and stays shorter compared to other types of mint, reaching a height of only 4 to 6 inches. It prefers full to partial sun exposure and well-drained, rich, and moist soil. Pennyroyal is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9 and can withstand various climate conditions.

With its ability to repel insects and discourage pests, pennyroyal is often strategically planted in areas where pests are problematic. Its fragrance acts as a natural deterrent against mosquitoes, fleas, and ants. However, it is essential to exercise caution when handling pennyroyal, as its volatile oils can cause skin irritation in some individuals.

Pennyroyal Uses:

  • Natural pest repellent for mosquitoes, fleas, and ants
  • Ground cover for gardens and landscapes
  • Aromatic addition to potpourri or sachets

“Pennyroyal offers a fragrant solution for pest control in your garden, providing a natural alternative to chemical sprays. Its low growth habit and lavender flowers add beauty to your landscape while detering pests.” – Gardening Expert

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) Information
Scientific Name Mentha pulegium
Common Names Pennyroyal
Height 4 to 6 inches
Sun Exposure Full to partial sun
Soil Requirements Well-drained, rich, and moist soil
Hardiness Zones 5 to 9
  • Natural pest repellent
  • Ground cover
  • Aromatic addition to potpourri

Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii)

Corsican mint, also known as Mentha requienii, is a delightful and versatile mint plant that is popularly used as a ground cover. This miniature mint variety forms dense mats of tiny leaves, creating a lush carpet-like effect in gardens and landscapes. Its unique fragrance, ability to tolerate foot traffic, and low growth habit make it a great choice for planting between stepping stones or in areas where other plants struggle to thrive.

This low-growing mint plant features small, rounded leaves that release a pleasant aroma when brushed against or crushed. Its delicate lilac flowers add a touch of beauty to the ground cover, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. Corsican mint prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained, rich, and moist soil for optimal growth. It is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9, making it suitable for a variety of climates.

Benefits and Uses

Corsican mint is not just visually appealing but also offers several benefits and uses. Here are some notable ones:

  • Ground Cover: Corsican mint forms a dense ground cover, suppressing weed growth and adding a vibrant touch to gardens and landscapes.
  • Fragrance: When walked upon or brushed against, Corsican mint releases a refreshing scent, providing a sensory experience in outdoor spaces.
  • Stepping Stones: Due to its ability to tolerate foot traffic, Corsican mint is often planted between stepping stones or on pathways, creating a soft and inviting walking surface.
  • Pots and Containers: Corsican mint can be grown in pots and containers, allowing gardeners to enjoy its beauty and fragrance on patios, balconies, or windowsills.
  • Herbal Tea: The leaves of Corsican mint can be used to make a delightful and aromatic herbal tea, providing a soothing and refreshing beverage option.

Overall, Corsican mint is a versatile and charming plant that enhances the visual appeal of outdoor spaces while offering a range of practical uses. Its fragrance, adaptability, and attractive ground cover qualities make it a favorite among gardeners and landscape enthusiasts.

Features Specifications
Growth Habit Low-growing, forms dense mats
Leaves Small, rounded, aromatic
Flowers Lilac, attractive to pollinators
Light Requirement Full sun to partial shade
Soil Needs Well-drained, rich, and moist
Hardiness USDA zones 6 to 9

Watermint (Mentha aquatica)

Watermint, scientifically known as Mentha aquatica, is a unique type of mint plant that offers a distinct set of benefits. This plant has a beautiful appearance with light lavender flowers and dark green leaves adorned with purplish veining. What makes watermint stand out is its ability to thrive in wet conditions, making it an excellent choice for small water features in gardens. It can grow up to 12 to 36 inches tall and is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 10.

“Watermint is an ideal choice for those looking to add a touch of fragrance and beauty to their water features.”

To successfully grow watermint, it is important to provide it with full sun to partial sun and low fertility soil. This plant prefers moist conditions and is capable of growing in shallow water, making it an excellent option for aquatic gardens or containers with water features.

Growing Watermint Tips

  • Choose a suitable location: Find an area with adequate sunlight and access to water, such as a pond or a container with a water feature.
  • Prepare the soil: Ensure that the soil is low in fertility and well-drained to prevent waterlogging.
  • Planting watermint: Place watermint in the desired location, ensuring that the roots are submerged in water or planted in saturated soil.
  • Maintain moisture: Regularly check the moisture levels and provide additional water as needed to keep the soil or water consistently damp.
  • Pruning: Trim back any overgrown stems or foliage to maintain a tidy appearance and prevent overcrowding.
  • Control spread: As with other mint plants, be mindful of watermint’s invasive nature and consider planting in a contained area or using barriers to restrict its spread.

With its unique tolerance for wet conditions, watermint offers a refreshing and visually appealing addition to various water features. Whether you have a pond, a water garden, or a container with a small fountain, watermint can bring a touch of beauty and aroma to your outdoor space.

Plant Name Scientific Name Height (inches) Hardiness Zones
Watermint Mentha aquatica 12-36 3-10

Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens)

Apple mint, scientifically known as Mentha suaveolens, is a delightful variety of mint that offers a unique flavor and aroma reminiscent of both mint and apple. This makes it a popular choice among culinary enthusiasts, who love to incorporate its refreshing and fruity taste into a variety of dishes. The leaves of the apple mint plant are a lighter shade of green compared to other mint varieties, and it produces beautiful white or light pink blooms that add an aesthetic appeal to any garden.

One of the great advantages of growing apple mint is its versatility. Not only is it a flavorful herb, but it also serves as an excellent ground cover. The spreading nature of apple mint makes it an effective way to fill in bare spaces in your garden, creating a lush and vibrant landscape.

To ensure the successful growth of apple mint, it is recommended to plant it in an area with full sun to partial shade. It thrives in well-drained, rich, and moist soil. With proper care and maintenance, apple mint can reach a height of 12 to 24 inches, adding a lovely touch to your garden or herb bed.

The Delightful Flavor of Apple Mint

Apple mint’s distinct flavor profile is what sets it apart from other mint varieties. Its combination of minty freshness and subtle apple notes adds a delightful twist to various dishes and beverages. Here are just a few ways you can enjoy the unique flavor of apple mint:

  • Add fresh apple mint leaves to salads for a refreshing burst of flavor.
  • Infuse apple mint leaves in water for a minty and fruity twist on your everyday hydration.
  • Use apple mint in cocktails and mocktails to create a refreshing and aromatic beverage.
  • Pair apple mint with fruits like strawberries and citrus for a delicious and fragrant fruit salad.

Incorporating apple mint into your culinary creations allows you to experiment with flavors and surprise your taste buds with its delightful combination of mint and apple. Whether you’re an avid cook or simply enjoy exploring new flavors, apple mint is a versatile and exciting ingredient to have in your kitchen.

Key Attributes of Apple Mint
Scientific Name Mentha suaveolens
Flavor Minty with subtle apple undertones
Aroma Refreshing and fruity
Plant Height 12 to 24 inches
Growing Zones 5 to 9
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Well-drained, rich, and moist


In summary, there are various types of mint plants that offer a range of flavors and uses. Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, pennyroyal, and other mint varieties each have their own distinct characteristics and benefits. Whether you’re seeking a refreshing tea flavor, a fragrant ground cover, or a natural pest deterrent, there is a mint plant to suit your needs.

Remember to carefully consider where you plant mint to prevent its invasive spread. Mint plants are cold-hardy perennials that spread easily via rhizomes, so it’s important to confine them to appropriate areas. However, by providing the right growing conditions, such as full sun to partial shade and well-drained, fertile soil, you can enjoy the beauty and practicality of these versatile herbs.

In conclusion, the wide variety of mint plants available allows for endless possibilities in the kitchen, garden, and beyond. From adding flavor to your favorite dishes to creating fragrant landscapes, mint plants are a valuable addition to any outdoor space. So, explore the diverse world of mint plants and discover the endless benefits they can bring to your life.


What are the different types of mint plants?

The different types of mint plants include peppermint, chocolate mint, spearmint, pennyroyal, corsican mint, watermint, and apple mint.

What are some common uses for peppermint?

Peppermint is commonly used to flavor teas and is effective in potpourri.

How tall can peppermint plants grow?

Peppermint plants can grow up to 12 to 24 inches tall.

What is chocolate mint used for?

Chocolate mint is used to flavor drinks and desserts.

How tall does chocolate mint grow?

Chocolate mint can grow up to 12 to 24 inches tall.

What is spearmint commonly used for?

Spearmint is commonly used as a flavoring agent in chewing gum, salads, and teas.

How tall can spearmint grow?

Spearmint can reach a height of 12 to 24 inches.

Is pennyroyal safe to consume?

No, pennyroyal is toxic and should not be consumed. It is primarily used as a pest deterrent.

What is the height of pennyroyal plants?

Pennyroyal can grow up to 4 to 6 inches tall.

What is corsican mint used for?

Corsican mint is often used as a ground cover or between stepping stones due to its fragrance and ability to tolerate foot traffic.

How tall does corsican mint grow?

Corsican mint reaches a height of 0.5 to 1 inch.

Can watermint be grown in water?

Yes, watermint can be grown in shallow water and is ideal for small water features.

How tall can watermint grow?

Watermint can grow up to 12 to 36 inches tall.

What is apple mint valued for?

Apple mint is valued for its fruity and minty smell and taste, making it suitable for culinary use and as a ground cover.

How tall does apple mint grow?

Apple mint can reach a height of 12 to 24 inches.

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