MINT IN HANGING PLANTERS
Mint has a vigorous growth habit so growing them in hanging planters
or hanging baskets is a great solution. Left to its own devices in the
garden, Mint will spread quickly and become a nuisance.
This flavorful herb can be grown easily in almost any type of hanging
HINT - If you plan on growing several varieties of mint – plant one
type of mint per hanging planter and to keep your varieties pure, place
your hanging planters well apart from one another - this will help keep
your pineapple mint from suddenly tasting like catnip pineapple mint
pollination of mints can happen very easily if your mint plants are too
close together. Hence why there are over one thousand varieties of mint.
TIP: If you are limited on space and you still want to grow several
types of Mint - keep your Mint plants “pinched” so that they don’t go to
flower and pollinate your other mint plants.
Due to its strong taste and given mint is not used in cooking as
widely as it once was - Mint is often overlooked by gardener considering
which herbs to plant in their hanging planters.
We recommend growing
mint and then using it as an ingredient in cool summer drinks.
YOUR MINT FOR SOOTHING SUMMER DRINKS
Mint is great in drinks – and it is fun to have friends and family
over and to be able to harvest freshly grown mint from your hanging
planters – your friends will be delighted at your gardening prowess!!!
Two of our favorites for summer are Mint Juleps and Mojitos.
Anyone who is into horse racing will be familiar with this,
the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby during which some 80,000
juleps are served. Traditionally Mint Juleps are served in silver or
pewter cups and held by the handle or rim in order for the cup to obtain
optimum frost. As an alternative to muddling the mint and sugar cube you
can also infuse a sugar syrup with mint. With this much bourbon in a
drink, slow sipping is the appropriate way to imbibe.
A mint julep is
traditionally made with four ingredients: mint, bourbon, sugar, and
water. Traditionally, spearmint is the mint of choice used in Southern
states; in particular, Kentucky. In the use of sugar and mint, it is
similar to the mojito. In preparing a mint julep, a fresh mint sprig is
used primarily as a garnish, to introduce the flavor and aroma through
the nose. If mint leaves are used in the preparation, they should just
be very lightly bruised
Mint Julep Ingredients:
•leaves from 4-5 mint sprigs
•2 sugar cubes or 1/2 oz simple syrup
•2 1/2 oz bourbon
•mint sprig for garnish
1.Place the mint and simple syrup or sugar into a julep cup, collins
glass or double old-fashioned glass.
2.Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma of
3.Add the bourbon
4.Fill with crushed ice and stir well until the glass becomes frosty.
5.Garnish with the mint sprig.
A Mojito is traditionally made of five ingredients: white rum, sugar
(traditionally sugar cane juice), lime juice, sparkling water and mint.
The original Cuban recipe uses spearmint or yerba buena, a mint variety
very popular in the island. Its combination of sweetness,
refreshing citrus and mint flavors are intended to complement the potent
kick of the rum, and have made this clear highball a popular summer
Cuban Mojito recipe - the original authentic recipe from Havana
There are countless recipes for the Mojito (pronounced
moh-HEE-toh), but this version is for the one Hemingway himself enjoyed
at the Mojito's place of birth: La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba.
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
4 mint leaves
1 sprig of mint
Havana Club white Rum (2 ounces)
2 ounces club soda
Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a "Collins"
glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You'll want about
two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a
Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime
juice and sugar with a muddler (a long wooden device pictured below,
though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn't
available). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and
top off with the club soda (you can also stir the club soda in as per
your taste). Garnish with a mint sprig.
GROWING MINTS IN HANGING
love to be mulched, so get the kids involved and surround your mints
with garden compost, bark, woodchip, cocoa shells or grass clippings
(thick layers are inadvisable).
Feed your hanging planters of Mint twice a year with bone meal and your
mints will reward you every year with even more gorgeous fresh mint
scented leaves than you could imagine!
When you harvest your fresh mint, simply snip the top leaves first
because this will encourage the plant to shoot from the base and this
will also help to keep your Mints looking their best.
Remove older woody stems to allow newer and younger shoots to fill in
and at the end of the growing season cut your Mints back to ground
level. By cutting back the plants at the end of the growing season the
roots of your Mint plant will hug the soil all winter and re-shoot and
reward you year after year.
All the plants in the Mentha family are best used fresh but they can
be dried or frozen for use in winter.
Mint is extremely hardy and can be harvested as soon as new shoots
appear in the spring! This is the best time to harvest your mint as the
young new growth is the most fragrant and flavorsome.
If you are
choosing to harvest to dry simply hang small bunches upside down in a
dry, dark, warm area or alternatively dry on paper. Once you have done
this you can then store your mint leaves in an air-tight container to
keep them at their very best.
TIP: Remember when you gather your mint leaves from your hanging
planter always try to do this on a dry day, after the morning dew has
disappeared, and before the hot sun has taken any oil from the leaves.
* Start your day by placing a sprig of black stem peppermint in the
basket of your coffee maker before you brew your morning java.
* Perk up your noon time chicken soup with a handful of spearmint.
* Add peppermint to meatballs for an exotic Mid-Eastern touch.
* Sip a warm cup of peppermint tea when an upset tummy needs soothing
ONE OF OUR FAVORITE MINTS FOR HANGING PLANTERS
Name: Apple Mint: Mentha Suaveolens (Variegata)
We love this mint
planted in hanging baskets, tubs, patios and tubs where its cascading
habit gives a really beautiful uplifting aroma.
Apple Mint is a particularly attractive variegated Mint with a
wonderful pineapple scent. A delightful, full bodied but delicate mint
that compliments coffee and desserts.
This amazing mint is used to flavor all sorts of dishes and its
delicate flavor is excellent when used to flavor rice and couscous
Applemint makes the most delicious apple mint jelly and vinegars
which work well with the traditional favorite of lamb but equally as
good with summer salads.
MORE ON MINTS
Even an experienced gardener can find a collection of mints
They come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. An easy way to classify
them is to divide them by the essential oil they contain. The two main
categories are the menthol containing peppermints and the carvone
scented spearmints. The third category is the always useful and popular
Here are some great Mints worth considering for your hanging
planters, hanging baskets and containers.
The Peppermints (menthol
Peppermint Mentha xpiperata
A hybrid between M. aquatica and M. spicata, peppermint cannot be
grown from seed. It is a vigorous grower with a strong mint flavor. Many
specific varieties exist with an assortment of appearances and scents.
The common form grows from 12 to 30 inches high and has spikes of
pinkish or lavender flowers. It tends to have a creeping appearance and
elongated leaves that end in a point.
Chocolate Mint Mentha xpiperata 'Chocolate Mint'
Although many individuals affirm that they smell chocolate, research
has shown that the plant sold as 'Chocolate Mint' is really 'Black
Stemmed Peppermint' The combination of the name and the wonderful mint
aroma certainly do remind one of a Peppermint Pattie®. This useful mint
will add an extra sensory delight when infused into coffee or hot
chocolate. Whirl a handful with a cup of sugar and use when making
vanilla cake or ice cream. The plant tends to creep along the ground
rather than grow upward and can be quite aggressive. It will do best
with at least half a day of sun.
Bergamot Mint Mentha aquatica (citrate form)
This delightful mint goes under a variety of names depending upon the
perception of the grower. Also called orange mint, eau de cologne mint
and even lavender mint, it is a wonderful addition to the garden under
any name. (See The Big Book of Herbs by Tucker and DeBaggio for a
discussion of nomenclature.) It has attractive rounded leaves with a
hint of bronze to them. It is not as aggressive as most mints. It can be
used to flavor desserts and teas. Despite the name, it is not the source
of bergamot tea, which is flavored with oil from bergamot oranges.
The Spearmints (carvone containing)
Spearmint Mentha spicata
Spearmint is the mint most often used in cooking. Growing from 12-24
inches high, the crinkled leaves of this creeping mint are bright green
with rounded ends. White or pale pink flowers appear in the summer. It
is an aggressive grower and does well when planted in a pathway where
footsteps will provide natural pruning as well as release its heavenly
Curly Mint Mentha spicata 'Curly'
A highly ornamental mint with bright green leaves that are highly
crinkled. It has a trailing habit that makes it ideal for growing in a
container. Prune frequently to encourage bushy growth.
Kentucky Colonel Mint Mentha spicata 'Kentucky Colonel'
A tasty variety of spearmint that is useful in making mint juleps as
well as serving as a basic spearmint in any cooking task. It is fairly
aggressive and may need to be contained.
Woolly Apple Mint Mentha xvillosa var. alopecuroides
An attractive mint that seems to have less flavor than other mints.
It has a vague apple scent that does not carry over into cooking. It is
a very attractive, downy mint whose lilac flowers are born in trios of
spikes during the summer. It is a larval food for hairstreak
butterflies. Woolly apple mint seems to thrive on neglect, give it lots
of room to grow. It reaches from 12 to 30 inches tall.
Corsican Mint Mentha Requienii
This darling of Creme de Menthe fame is a very low growing mint that
requires protection from hot sun and plenty of water. While some
recommend it as a filler between garden stepping stones, it is best
grown in containers in Austin, Texas. This will allow it to be moved as
the weather dictates. Often considered difficult to grow, it also will
not tolerate sudden downpours and must be able to drain quickly. It is
very attractive creeping around the base of other potted plants, and is
ideal for whimsical fairy gardens. The tiny round leaves are bright
green. When growing conditions are right it will quickly form a dense
carpet 1-2 inches tall. Corsican Mint does contain menthol and is often
considered the most "minty" of all mints, but is usually placed in the
"other" group because of its special appearance and growth requirements.
Red Stemmed Mint Mentha xgracilis 'Madalene Hill'
Named after the famed Texas herb enthusiast, this hybrid between M.
arvensis and M. spicata is unique in that it contains both menthol and
carvone, becoming a true "double mint". The erect stems are tinged with
red and will grow from 12 to 30 inches high. Lilac flowers appear in
whorls along the stem during the summer. This is a favorite tea and
Pennyroyal Mentha Pulegium
Although used as flavoring in some traditional recipes, Pennyroyal is
generally considered a non-edible member of the mint family. It should
never be ingested by pregnant women. It has small, oval shaped leaves
and commonly creeps along the ground. During the summer whorls of pink
flowers will appear. Pennyroyal will grow in shady locations, but
fullest growth will occur with half a day of sun. The leaves may be
dried and used in sachets designed to keep insects away.