Mint: The Herb of Hospitality

| Total Words: 519

The Mentha species or mints as they are commonly called include many varieties that flavour everything from appetizers to desserts. The best-known species in North American are peppermint (M. x piperita) and spearmint (M. spicata), which are highly valued for commercial use. Mint symbolises hospitality and can be grown in pots and containers indoors and out. In the garden, mint should be grown with a barrier around the roots, as it can be extremely invasive. Most mints do not come true from seed so it is best to purchase plants from a nursery or garden centre. Fresh mints are a source of Vitamin C and pro-vitamin A.

Peppermint and spearmint are perennials growing 12 36 inches (30 90 cm) tall although some mints are ground hugging. Produced at the end of square stems, terminal spikes of dainty lilac, purple, pink, or white flowers usually bloom in mid-to-late summer. Cultivation requirements for growing mint: grows best in moist, deep, loosely textured sandy soil; full sun but will do well in partial shade; keep well watered; pinch off flowers to promote bushy growth; and if growing indoors, fertilise with an organic fertiliser at half-strength every 3 or 4...

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