Mint is a perennial herb with squared, four-sided stems with opposite leaves and small-lipped flowers. All parts of the plants are pungent.

Most mint plants spread rampantly, forming a thick mat of spreading stolons (creeping underground stems) just under the surface of the ground. This is why you should always plant mint containers — even in the garden — to keep it from running amok. Aboveground, the plants produce 2- to 3-foot upright stems. Most do well in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3 to 8, but check the specific species you want before buying.

Types of Mint

The genus Mentha has many cultivars, and it’s worth growing several varieties since so many foods taste better with a touch of mint. While peppermint and spearmint are the most familiar, herb gardeners can also grow the furry apple mint, orange mint, and the popular chocolate mint. The moss-like Corsican mint is an attractive creeper, good between paving stones or in the rock garden.

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