Growing Orange Mint Plants in Northeast Florida Gardens
Origins and Use of Orange Mint For Northeast Florida:
Orange Mint is one of my favorites, the large round leaves smell wonderful and are just the right mix of mint and orange. They are perfect to plant in a pot by the kitchen door to snip off a few leaves for a pot of tea.
Growing Season in Northeast Florida for Orange Mint:
Almost all types of mint herb plants are year round, hardy perennial plant selections for Florida gardeners. This orange mint photo was taken in January! Plant from an S & J Nursery container or bury a stem or root division from a friend at any time of the year. Mint grows quickly here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden.
Sun Exposure for Orange Mint in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscapes:
Plant Orange 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 most mint herb plants during the heat of the summer. Filtered light under taller canopy trees will work nicely as well.
Orange mint makes an excellent indoor house plant in a nice window location. When planting 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 Orange Mint Herb Plants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida Area Gardens:
Moist, but well draining soils. Orange 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 moist or wet side.
When planting 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 Orange Mint Herb Plants:
Newly planted Spearmint, Mentha viridis, herb plants will require watering every day for the first few days, then taper back watering to three times a week followed by twice a week or as needed for in-ground plants and three to four times a week or as needed 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 it’s 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 Orange Mint Herb Plants When Mature:
The mature size on a Orange mint herb plants will be between 12 and 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 Orange Mint Herb Plant Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Mint seeds are often sterile and mint seeds that are not sterile have a high level of variability to the seedlings they will produce, they do not ‘come true’ from seed. Often times you don’t get a mint plant similar to the one you were looking for when you plant mint seeds. I think of mint like cats, a pretty black and white spotted cat may have any number of colored kittens with all kinds of patterns to their fur! For that reason, mint is often propagated by divisions of existing clumps or by sticking cuttings into moist soil for them to root and grow.
Harvesting Orange Mint Herb foliage in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Orange 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 Spearmint Herbs / Mentha spicata for Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine area Landscape:
Mint blooms are a lavender to pinkish white color and are slender, tapering to a point at the top bloom instead of rounded. Blooms appear on the plant during summer.