Growing Ginger Mint Herb Plants in Northeast Florida Gardens
(Mentha x gracilis)
Uses and Origins of Ginger Mint (Mentha x gracilis ) For Northeast Florida:
Ginger Mint is the result of a cross between Mentha Arvensis (Corn Mint) and Mentha Spicata (Spearmint)It is a sterile hybrid cross. Cultivars may differ from region to region, but all have a reddish stem and rounded leaves. Some named selections are available, most often variegated named forms. Ginger mint has a pleasing aroma and flavor that has a slightly spicy apple/ginger – like tone to it.
Ginger Mint can be used for making a delicious 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 for Mint aromatherapy to make a relaxing and rejuvenating bath water after a long day.
Ginger mint is said to pair particularly well with fruits for a light and refreshing summer fruit salad. A friend of mine makes a mango salad with chopped cilantro, chopped mint, and mango pieces. It sounds a bit weird but was delicious.
“Herbalpedia’s” Ginger mint page (linked below) suggested adding a sprig of ginger mint to your hot cocoa, sounds delicious!
Growing Season for Northeast Florida Ginger Mint / Mentha gracilis:
Almost all types of mint herb plants are hardy perennial plant selections for Florida gardeners. Grow them year round. Ginger mint tends to be a bit pickier than some, so be sure to give it a little extra care. Plant from S & J Nursery containers or bury a stem or root division from a friend. Mint grows quickly here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden.
Sun Exposure for Ginger Mint / Mentha gracilis in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscapes:
Plant Ginger Mint herb 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 Ginger Mint herb plants during the heat of the summer. Filtered light under taller canopy trees will work nicely as well.
Ginger mint makes an excellent indoor house plant in a nice window location. When planting Ginger 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 Ginger Mint Herb Plants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida Area Gardens:
Moist soils are best for Ginger mint, wet soils are best when planted into a sunnier location. Ginger mint is not particular about the components of the soil that it is planted into, but tends to like the soil a bit on the wet side.
When planting Ginger 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 Ginger Mint Herb Plants:
Newly planted Ginger Mint herb plants will require watering every day for the first few days, then 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, means 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 Celery 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 a great quality organic that will not burn the new fiber hair roots that your herb plant will start putting out into the surrounding soil once planted from its S & J Nursery container.
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 Ginger Mint Herb Plants When Mature:
The mature size on a Ginger mint plant will be between 15-24 inches high. 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 Ginger Mint Herb Plant Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Ginger mint is a sterile cross between Corn mint and Spearmint plants. They will not have viable seeds and can be propagated only from stem and root cuttings or division.
Harvesting Ginger 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 and 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 Ginger Mint Herbs for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Ginger mint blooms are pinkish colored and appear on the plants in summer.