Growing Apple Mint Herbs in Northeast Florida Herb Gardens
A.K.A. Woolly Mint
(Mentha suaveolens / Mentha rotundifolia )
Apple Mint ( Mentha suaveolens ) For Northeast Florida Uses and Origins:
Apple Mint, or “Woolly Mint” as some may be familiar with it, is a native of Southern and Western Europe and the western regions of the Mediterranean area. It has naturalized in many parts of North America and, although a bit more difficult to grow than some other mints, is an easy to grow perennial plant for the North Florida landscape.
Apple mint has a wonderfully fruity scent and flavor. The bright green leaves are slightly rounded, covered on the top surface with small hairs, and have a soft downy fuzz on the undersides of the leaves giving it the common name of “Woolly Mint”. Apple Mint can be used for making mint tea, for mint jellies, meat marinades, salads, perfect for mint sauce, chew the leaves for minty fresh breath, use them to make mint oil, herb vinegars or herb oils, or just throw crushed mint leaves into your hot bath to make a relaxing and rejuvinating Mint aromatherapy treatment after a long day.
Growing Season for Northeast Florida Apple Mint Plants / Mentha suaveolens:
Almost all types of mint herb plants are hardy perennial plant selections for Florida gardeners. They can be grown year round in our Norhteast Florida garden.
Plant Apple mint from S & J Nursery containers or bury a stem or root division from a friend.
Apple mint grows quickly here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden.
Sun Exposure for Apple Mint in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscapes:
Plant Apple mint plants in areas where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade for best results in Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens. Partial shade is preferred to full sun locations that can be a bit overpowering on Apple mint herb plants during the heat of the summer. Filtered light under taller canopy trees will work nicely as well.
Apple mint makes an excellent indoor house plant in a nice window location. When planting Apple mint herb plants on a porch, patio, or as an indoor house plant, place them in a location to receive at least 4 hours of light each day.
Soil Preference for Apple Mint Herb Plants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida Area Gardens:
Plant your apple mint into moist, but well draining soils. Apple mint is not particular about the components of the soil that it is planted into, as long as it is moist.
When planting Apple Mint into the ground, amend the soil generously with compost. It acts as a sponge and helps to keep the soil moist and well drained.
Mint herb plants make a great container plant as well, as the plant and root system take up very little room. Mint roots are very shallow in the soil, almost right at the surface so there is no need for a deep pot. You may want to consider adding a soil moisture retention granule like soil moist to your potting soil mix to help conserve water, the smaller the container that your mint plant is potted into, the quicker the soil will dry out.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of Apple Mint Herb Plants:
Newly planted Apple mint herb plants will require watering every day for the first few days, taper back watering to three times a week, then twice a week for in-ground plants, and three to four times a week for potted containers.
In general herbs require little in the way of fertilizer. To much fertilizer with herbs can be worse than not enough. Over fertilization can lead to lush green growth with a reduced quantity of volatile oils in the leaves. Reduced oils will cause reduced flavor and aroma in your herbs.
However, in Florida’s sandy soils you may find your plants in some need of some help, particularly if compost wasn’t added to the soil when planting.
Granular Fertilizer for Herb Plants:
On water loving herbs like Ginger or Mint, I like to add granular Milorganite® fertilizer to the compost when potting or planting my herbs. Milorganite helps the soil retain moisture and fertilizes your plant with great quality organic bio solids. Milorganite will not burn the new fiber hair roots on newly planted herbs from you S & J Nursery.
Foliar spray Fertilizer for Herb Plants:
Fertilize with a mixture of liquid fish emulsions and seaweed at one ounce of each per gallon of water. Put into a sprayer and water every other week or as needed with the mixed solution.
If you find your plant struggling at any point, make up a batch of compost tea and water generously. Repeat as needed weekly or biweekly.
Size of Apple Mint Herb Plants When Mature:
Apple mint is an upright growing mint herb plant. The mature size of an Apple Mint plant will be between 18 and 24 inches high. They may tend to grow even higher in other areas.
Mint will root into the surrounding soil anywhere the foliage has contact and continue growing and spreading if left unchecked. Many gardeners confine mint by planting into raised beds or potted containers.
Sowing Apple Mint Herb Plant Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Mint seeds are often sterile and those that are not sterile have a high level of variability to the seedlings they will produce, they do not ‘come true’ from seed. So you often don’t get a mint plant similar to the one you were hoping for when you plant mint seeds. For that reason, apple mint is propagated by divisions of existing clumps or by sticking cuttings into moist soil for them to root and grow.
Harvesting Apple Mint Herb foliage in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Mint herb plants can be harvested year round, although the leaves should be at their best in spring and again in fall in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscape.
Fresh mint leaves are best when available, but still retain good flavor and color when stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for a few days.
If you have harvested more than you need to use, throw them into the blender with a little bit of water and pour the mixture into ice cube trays to freeze. Add to your tea for a refreshing burst of flavor.
Dried Mint leaves should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark area.
Blooms of Apple Mint Herbs for Northeast Florida Landscape:
The color on apple mint blooms seems to be all over the place in books and articles, some describe it as white, some light pink, often lavender and I have even read where the blooms of apple mint have been described as purple and blue. So your guess is as good as mine as to the color of apple mint blooms. I may never know for sure, because I happen to love Apple Mint herbs, and I tend to harvest it so frequently it never gets a chance to show me its pretty little blooms. Maybe this year I will plant another one and leave it alone to see for myself!