Spearmint is probably the best-loved of all of the herbal mints grown in the home garden due to its delightful scent and beautiful lavender colored flowers. It originated from the Mediterranean area of the world. In the olden days, it was said to help dispel the evil eye as well for being used to relieve aching muscles and as a water purifier. Today spearmint is still a versatile herb and can be used in many different ways.
Spearmint is a perennial herb plant, meaning it will return to your garden, year after year. It can reach two to three feet high and if left unattended can become extremely invasive and take over the entire garden. When planting leave some space for it to spread so that it won’t choke off other plants that are surrounding it.
You will need to keep it under control by weeding out the stems that appear where they are unwanted. I like to keep my spearmint in pots to avoid this problem. You may submerge the entire pot if you’d prefer not to include pots in your garden landscape. You can also use metal edging material placed around the plants to control them.
It is recommended that you start spearmint from young plants purchased at your local gardening center. Always pinch off a leave before purchasing your plant to be sure it has a pleasing aroma and taste. Plant them in full sun, to partial shade, where the sun will be gotten during the morning hours. They like rich, moist soil.
Plant in early spring and keep them well-watered during the heat of the summer. You will need to prune your spearmint often to keep it neat in appearance. Divide the plants yearly to encourage vigorous growth.
Spearmint’s fresh aroma is a wonderful addition to any garden. It has dark green, pointed leaves and gets lavender colored flowers when in bloom. After the flowers of the plant are spent, cut the entire plant back to almost ground level to encourage a second growth period.
Harvest spearmint by cutting it with a pair of sharp gardening shears to avoid damaging the plant. If drying, remove the leaves from the stem after the drying process has finished.
The herb spearmint has both medicinal and culinary uses. It can be used for some stomach disorders. It is helpful during pregnancy to stop vomiting and can also be used for colic in infants and to alleviate gas discomfort. Used fresh or dried, spearmint makes a delicious tea. Spearmint can also be used as a seasoning for rice, salads and desserts. It goes well with lamb, peas and with new potatoes. By steeping its leaves in cream it can be used to make chocolate mint flavored desserts.
Spearmint oil is used for making flavorings for many things including candy, chewing gum and mouth wash. It is also used as a fragrance for room fresheners, soaps and cleaning products.
Combining spearmint with other herbs, and mints, in your garden will create a stress-relieving haven for all of your senses.