|boundary. To secure young and luxuriant growth a fresh
plantation should be made annually in February or March.
If allowed to occupy the same plot of land year after
year the leaves become small and the stems wiry.
Spearmint in its general characteristics resembles peppermint,
but it is rather more vigorous in its growth, the lance-shaped leaves are
generally stem less, and the flower spikes are narrow and pointed rather than
thick and blunt.
Grow Spearmint as you would any other member of the Mint
family. It is a perennial growing to 3 feet tall and is tolerable of many
different growing conditions. As with Peppermint, it can become invasive, so
plant it in an area where it can be controlled and won't crowd out other garden
plants. Spearmint grows well in nearly all climates. Gardeners often grow
healthy specimens in pots or planters due to its invasive spreading nature. The
plant prefers partial shade, but it can flourish in full sun to mostly shade.
Loamy soils with plenty of organic material are best suited to spearmint. When
growing spearmint for culinary purposes, fertilize with a well balanced
fertilizer, organic composts, or manure. To harvest for culinary purposes,
simply cut the branches, leaving a minimum of 1/3 of the branch, which will
encourage the plant to bush out. Spearmint leaves can be used whole, chopped, or
When the plants are breaking into bloom, the stalks should be
cut a few inches above the root, on a dry day, after the dew has disappeared,
and before the hot sun has taken any oil from the leaves, and dried for culinary
use for the winter. All discolored and insect-eaten leaves should be removed and
the stems tied loosely into bunches and hung to dry on strings in the usual
manner directed for 'bunched' herbs. The bunches should be nearly equal in
length and uniform in size to facilitate packing, if intended for sale, and
placed when dry in airtight boxes to prevent re-absorption of moisture.
The leaves may also be stripped from the stems as soon as
thoroughly dry and rubbed through a fine sieve, so as to be freed from stalks as
much as possible, or pounded in a mortar and thus powdered, stored in stopper
bottles or tins rendered airtight. If preparing for market and not for home use,
the rubbed herbs will, of course, command a higher price than the bunched herbs,
and should be put up in tins or bottles containing a quantity of uniform weight.
The dried leaves and flowering tops, collected before the
flowers are fully developed. Spearmint is cultivated like peppermint for the
production of oil.