Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

A Mini-Mint Garden

Chocolate Mint mini-garden. The concrete edging pieces are held in position by a strand of stainless steel wire tightly wrapped around the square.

Chocolate Mint mini-garden. The concrete edging pieces are held in position by a strand of stainless steel wire tightly wrapped around the square.

A sprig of fresh mint in a tall class of sweet iced tea is a Southern classic.

The Survival Mom recently posted a link on Facebook about the many uses of peppermint. I have grown several types of mint in different ways. So far, my mini-mint garden seems to be working out the best. Just planting it in a garden means that it will take over like a weed in just a few years. Planting it in a container means it will dry out quickly once it gets bigger and starts really using up a lot of water. This method seems to have the best of both – plenty of moisture, yet it is contained.

Chocolate Mint is one of the milder mints. It has a taste and smell similar to a York Peppermint Patty, while some other mints are very strong – kind of like an Altoids candy. While Chocolate Mint is probably my favorite, I will be adding another mini-mint garden for either peppermint or spearmint.

Do you grow mint? If so, what kind (if you know – they’re difficult to identify) and how do you grow it?


  1. becky

    i was lucky enough years ago to find mint growing outside a basement apt i was living in. it was wonderful……….3 houses,4 children and 5 granchildren later…i am still picking mint from that same plant. mine is in my flower bed right at my porch. it doesnt really take over there, and it smells so good. i dont have a clue what kind it is……….a little strong but very good in tea and makes wonderful mint jelly……..

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      When I was at the annual plant show a few years ago that is held here at the county Ag center, the person I bought some mint from was telling me that mint cross-breeds very easily, and it is very difficult to know just what type of mint you have. I’ve got Chocolate Mint because that’s what the aroma and taste indicate, but there are probably dozens of different strains of that variety.

  2. Pennsylvania Dutchman

    We’ve grown ‘Chocolate’ mint, but the ‘Kentucky Colonel’ spearmint variety is the current favourite here, and also the ‘Curly’ spearmint, which has puckered, savoyed leaves. Both are mild and sweet. ‘Wooly Applemint’ (or ‘Pineapple Mint’) with the gray green fuzzy leaves is the tallest most vigorous mint we grow, a very good mild sweet spearmint for tea. There is also a variegated-leaf form of Applemint we have tried that is much less vigorous than the regular, wooly kind.

    We have tried aluminum flashing to contain mint but it still works its way over and under. It comes out the drain holes of pots and hangs over the edges until it roots outside of pots.

    Don’t you drink catnip tea down South? We do sometimes. Sassafras tea also, from the roots, leaves and bark, but usually the roots. Also Black Birch tea from the twigs.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Catnip tea is one I’ve never heard of – if folks drink it here, it certainly isn’t very common. For that matter, any kind of hot tea (I’m assuming that catnip tea is used as a hot tea) is not very common here. My wife will occasionally brew up some hot tea, and she enjoys going to a “ladies tea,” but it isn’t very common.

      You’ve mentioned several varieties that I’m not familiar with at all – and I’m going to be looking for them now. The “Volusia County Master Gardener and Vendor Plant Faire” is being held on April 5, so I’ve marked my calendar to make sure I don’t miss it. I’m going to try to pick up several different varieties of mint, as well as whatever else happens to strike my interest there.

      Thanks for writing, Pennsylvania Dutchman!

  3. John

    I can certainly say I have no green thumb. But mint was certainly one of the easiest things I’ve ever planted and got great results from. I merely put it in the ground and it took control from there. I will be planting more in the spring. It grew so well that I didn’t have a chance to harvest all of the leaves before the heavy frosts finally got them all.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      John, I’m glad to hear that it’s working out well for you.

      Since I first posted this, I’ve changed the garden around and the mini-mint garden is gone – that area had sweet potatoes in it last year. I haven’t decided where the mint will be planted next time around.

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