Mints are persistent herbaceous plants that are particularly noticeable for the aromatic smell of their leaves. The best known of the mint family is peppermint. The British have traditionally used this plant as a tea and medicinal plant for centuries. But peppermint is just one of many types of mint. Over 52 different varieties are known worldwide, most of which differ in the composition of the essential ingredients and aromas. The most popular new breeds include apple mint, orange mint, chocolate mint and strawberry mint. These delicious mint varieties delight the palate and are an eye-catcher in the home garden.


  • Mints belong to the mint family.
  • Herbaceous, perennial plants with underground runners or rhizomes.
  • Medium-sized, whitish to pink flowers.
  • The plants have been grown in domestic gardens since the 9th century.
  • Valuable tea and spice plants.
  • The name “mint” is derived from the Latin word “menta”.

Delicious and healthy

Visually, the different types of mint can hardly be distinguished. The perennial herbaceous plants have opposite leaves and in some cases have a serrated or toothed edge. If you rub the leaves of the mint between your fingers, a pleasant and aromatic fragrance will flow from them. The smell depends on the variety and varies, and can have a fruity or sweet note. The real distinguishing feature of the various mint varieties only becomes apparent on the tongue. Here the essential oils unfold in the form of a refreshing taste. The ingredients differ depending on the variety, origin and growing area. Many types of mint contain menthol, menthone, tannins, bitter substances and flavonoids.

In addition to the classic “tea mints” such as Moroccan mint and peppermint, “fruit mints” are enjoying growing popularity. Its leaves contain less menthol, but their scent is reminiscent of fruits such as pineapple, apple, orange or strawberry. Mentha, the botanical term for mint, can be used in many ways. The leaves of the perennial plants are used in food and drink alike. Gourmets know: every mint has its own taste peculiarities. If you take this into account, you can influence or enhance different dishes in different ways.

The large selection of different types of mint results in a wide range of options. It doesn’t always have to be the classic peppermint. Strawberry mint, chocolate mint, orange mint and apple mint are also easy to cultivate in the garden and make little demands in terms of care and site conditions. Hobby gardeners who do not have their own green space can keep the smaller varieties of mint in the large planter on the balcony or window sill. Here are a few more inspiring ideas for using the beneficial plants:

  • Mint varieties with a high proportion of menthol are suitable for making cold remedies, such as teas and syrups.
  • Meat dishes such as game and lamb are given a refreshing taste by using mint as a spice.
  • Various vegetable soups can be aromatically enhanced with mint.
  • Chocolate mint in combination with milk and melted chocolate makes a delicious drink.
  • An exotic mix is ​​yogurt or quark mixed with mint.
  • Compresses and baths with mint oil loosen tension and have an expectorant effect.

Recommended varieties of mint

Strawberry Mint (Mentha species)

A slight touch of the leaves is enough to perceive an intense mint scent. If you rub the fresh green leaves of the plant between your fingers, it gives off the typical scent of ripe strawberries. It was this smell that gave the strawberry mint its name. Mentha species is one of the smaller mint species. With its small foliage and a maximum height of up to 50 cm, it is ideal for cultivation in planters. At the same time, it is possible to keep the mint with its fruity aroma as a houseplant all year round. Mint offers a special taste experience as a supplement to desserts, tea or directly in a fruit salad. When dry, the leaves of the plant are suitable for seasoning various dishes. The dishes get a fine, strawberry note.

  • Leaves: The crosswise and oppositely arranged leaves are slightly serrated on the edge. The foliage is elliptical to ovate.
  • Flowers: June to September; purple flowers; 3 to 5 cm tall.

Schokominze (Mentha x piperita var. piperita „Chocolate)

The plant with the impressive botanical name does not belong to the “fruit mints”, but can be assigned to the “aroma mints”. The mint variety with the scent of after-eight chocolate, which grows up to 70 cm high, is extremely popular. The hardy plant is suitable for garnishing desserts, for preparing tea and for refining meat and fish dishes.

  • Leaves: The reddish leaves are ovate to elliptical; dark brown stems.
  • Flowers: June to September; light purple to purple flowers; 3 to 6 cm tall.

Apple mint (Mentha suaveolens)

Thanks to its refreshing aroma, this plant is very popular with children as a tea mint. Also tasty in smoothies or in salads. The mint plants, which smell strongly of apple, reach a maximum height of 80 cm.

  • Leaves: Fresh green and elliptical in shape.
  • Flowers: June to September; pink flowers.

Orangen minze (Mentha piperita var citrata)

A versatile variety of Mentha. Orange mint gives teas a fruity, exotic note. The plant can reach a height of up to 80 cm, it lacks the typical menthol taste. Orange mints not only make a delicious tea, they also refine baked goods and desserts.

  • Leaves: Elliptically shaped, red-green leaves.
  • Flowers: May to September; light purple flowers.

Harvest mints properly

Mint is extremely popular as a versatile plant. It is the essential oils that influence the taste of the respective variety. These ingredients are contained in the plants in different amounts depending on the season. For this reason, it is important to consider various points when harvesting:

  • Just before flowering in May, mints have the highest essential oil content.
  • Harvest in the morning before the midday heat.
  • Harvest should take place after a few warm sunny days to allow the aroma to develop.
  • Do not cut immediately after watering or after rain.
  • Plants can be cut back to 2-3 eyes.
  • When using fresh, only harvest the required amount.
  • Use sharp scissors.

The leaves retain their full aroma if they are frozen immediately after harvest. Place the plant parts to be dried on a clean cloth and let them dry sufficiently in a warm, not too humid place. Depending on the amount harvested, it helps to turn the leaves every now and then. Another tried and tested method: tie the plants together in small bunches and hang them upside down in a dry place. The leaves and stems can be used entirely in dishes and teas. It saves space if you separate the leaves from the stems and stems immediately after harvest. After drying, you can chop the leaves or put them whole in a dark, closed container. The aroma and ingredients of the dried mint dissipate quickly. As a rule of thumb, the parts of the plant should be used up within six months.

Incidentally, mint can also be harvested during and after the flowering period. The taste of the plant is less intense, but you can compensate for this with the amount of leaves. The flowers are used in teas or as a garnish for food. In mild winters, for example, it is not uncommon for fruit and tea mints to be harvested all year round.

Tip : Never cut back the entire plant close to the ground. Mints are extremely vigorous, but there should still be a base for new shoots.

There are a few other ways to preserve strawberry mint and Co. in a tasty way:

  • Cooked with lots of sugar to make a delicious mint syrup.
  • Made into a mint schnapps liqueur with cream, sugar and corn brandy.
  • Soak fresh leaves in oil.
  • Preserve with a thick layer of salt or sugar.
  • Process into mint candy.

Care and cultivation

Mints are freedom-loving plants. It must be ensured that the plants have sufficient space in the bucket. The ideal location has a few hours of sunshine a day. Mints can cope with places in full sun, provided the soil is kept moist at all times. Mentha also has no objection to shady places and grows rapidly. The lack of light can have a negative impact on the formation of the essential oils. The following care measures have proven effective for mint:

  • The substrate should be humus-rich and loose for the development of the fine roots.
  • Water regularly during the main growing season; Avoid waterlogging.
  • To reduce evaporation, shade the soil, for example in the form of large deciduous trees.
  • Mints are nutrient-hungry, so convert them every 2 to 3 years.
  • From March to August, fertilize Mentha outdoors with compost or horn shavings.
  • A liquid and long-term fertilizer has proven its worth for potted plants.
  • Do not over-fertilize, otherwise the nutrient supernatant has a negative effect on the aroma.
  • Hydroponics is suitable for mints in a planter.
  • In dry winters, the plant should be watered on frost-free days.
  • Protect mints in the bucket with burlap during the cold season.

Mints are best cultivated with conspecifics. Some vary slightly in size and leaf color. The bushy growth and the purple to pale pink flowers create an interesting contrast in the garden. However, mentha is also a distinctive companion plant to roses.

Tip : As a border for beds, mints keep voracious pests away. In this way you can protect vegetables from the unwanted garden dwellers, for example.

The aromatic crops should be pruned several times a year. Due to the strong growth, mints tend to grow wild. The wild, proliferating foliage prevents the aromatic leaves from receiving too little sunlight. Regardless of need and harvest, the plants can be cut back to 2 or 3 eyes above the ground. This measure stimulates the plant to grow bushy. Mints are hardy, but don’t mind a warming layer of compost or sticks. Do not cut back the dried up parts of the plant until the warm spring.


Mints are very vigorous. However, you can take advantage of their urge to reproduce and thereby multiply the versatile plants. The fastest and most profane way is propagation by cuttings. To do this, proceed as follows:

  • Cut off a 10-15 cm long stem.
  • Remove the leaves except for 2 upper pairs of leaves.
  • Put the shoot in a glass with water.
  • The location should be partially shaded.

Under ideal conditions, fine roots will appear on the cutting after about 14 days. Wait about 2 more weeks before planting the young plant in flower or garden soil. If you harvest a large area of ​​your mint, you can continue to use the stems with the small leaves in this way. The cultivation of seeds does not always work reliably in the mint family, some of the varieties are sterile.


Mints are a species of plant that is rich in species and varieties. The taste of the mint family, which has been cultivated for over 3000 years, is equally popular with children and adults. Orange, strawberry, apple and chocolate mint add an aromatic flavor to desserts, teas and other dishes. The popular and proven medicinal herb should not be missing in any garden.

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