Most of us will have grown garden mint, Mentha spicata, but there are lots of other types to grow with interesting and unexpected flavours.
Of course, the more types you grow, the more mint you’ll have at your disposal to use fresh in teas, ice cream, summer drinks and more.
Mint is especially vigorous, so it’s best grown in pots and containers to prevent it spreading in the garden. To boost your stock of mint, follow our easy steps to taking mint cuttings.
More on growing herbs:
Discover 10 varieties of mint to grow, below.
As the name suggests, banana mint (Mentha arvensis ‘Banana’) is a low-growing variety with a scent and taste similar to bananas. Like all mints, it’s easy to grow and being perennial, will return year after year.
Grapefruit mint, Mentha x piperata f. citrata ‘Grapefruit’, has large, downy leaves with a sharp citrus flavour. Delicious in fruit desserts or cocktails.
Mentha x piperata f. citrata ‘Chocolate’ gets its name after the chocolatey aroma, said to be like that of After Eights. Lovely bronze stems provide contrast to the fresh green leaves. Perfect for summer puddings or as an ice cream topping.
Moroccan mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa ‘Moroccan’) has a crisp mint flavour, and is the variety recommended for brewing fresh Moroccan tea. It’s also a good choice for making mint sauce.
Deliciously named strawberry mint, Mentha spicata subsp. citrata ‘Strawberry’, is a compact variety with small, delicate leaves and a mild, fruity flavour and fragrance. A tasty addition to fruity summer drinks.
Curly mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa) is a creeping variety with frilled leaves that have a strong peppermint flavour. The strong stems are good for stirring cocktails, as well as adding flavour – or use the pretty leaves to garnish dishes.
Mentha spicata ‘English Lamb’
Mentha spicata ‘English Lamb’ has a sweet, strong mint flavour, so it’s ideal for using in soups, salads and drinks, and of course in mint sauce. A useful addition to this herb pot for vegetable dishes.
If you’re after a really strong mint flavour, try pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium). It’s a creeping, moisture-loving plant that makes a great alternative to the traditional grass lawn, particularly in damp, shady conditions.
Buddleia mint, Mentha longifolia, is so called because of its long, purple, nectar-rich flowers and beautiful silvery foliage. It’s best grown as an ornamental plant rather than a culinary one, though the leaves do have a musty mint scent.
Water mint (Mentha aquatica) is a moisture-loving native species, where it grows in fen-meadows and other poorly-drained areas. The pompon shaped flowers are pretty and highly attractive to pollinators. A good marginal pond plant. Discover more native plants for ponds.
Don’t forget the flowers
You can boost the pickings you get from mint by removing flower buds when they appear, but don’t forget that, as well as being enormously attractive to bees and other pollinators, the flowers are edible too. Try using the flowers to flavour oil and butter, or as a pretty salad garnish.