Scientific: Mentha spicata (synonym Mentha viridis)
Common: spearmint, garden mint, menthol mint, mint, sage of Bethlehem, silver mint
Family: Lamiaceae
Origin: Central and southeastern Europe, naturalized across extensive parts of temperate Canada and the US.

Pronounciation: MEN-tha spi-CA-ta

Hardiness zones
All (depending on use)
USDA All (depending on use)

Landscape Use: Herb gardens, container plants, shade ground cover, food garden, and mesic garden design themes.

Form & Character: Low, spreading, informal, aromatic, peaceful, lush.

Growth Habit: Evergreen herbaceous ground cover, 3 to 6 inches tall, that is moderately spreading by rhizomes, often needs containment.

Foliage/texture: Strongly aromatic, small bright to dark green leaves, opposite, sharply ovate to lanceolate,crinkled, margins serrate, veins prominent, stems angular and succulent with occassional reddish coloration; medium fine texture.

Flowers & fruits: Small terminal flowers spikes during summer, individual flowers pink to lavendar; fruit inconspicuous.

Seasonal color: None

Temperature: Hardy to 105oF.

Light: In Phoenix, spearmint must have eastern morning sun only to full shade to grow as a landscape perennial; full sun if cultivating in a winter garden.

Soil: Tolerant, but in Phoenix grows best in soils that have been heavily amended with organic matter.

Watering: In Phoenix, spearmint needs regular irrigations throughout the year.

Pruning: In Phoenix, spearmint needs containment in the landscape because of its tendency to vigorously spread in shady areas. Division and replanting every couple of years is best to maintain plant vigor.

Propagation: Seed, but by far the easiest way to propagate is by division of rhizomes.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: Spearmint is a great herbaceous ground cover for the edible garden enthusiast because of its recognized medicinal qualities. The leaves and flowers are edible raw or cooked. Spearmint's strong flavor can be used in salads or added to cooked foods. A common medicinal herb tea can be made from the fresh or dried leaves and has a very palatable, refreshing taste that is beneficial for the human digestive system. Spearmint is also processed into an old fashioned jelly. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavoring in candy, gum, ice cream, drinks and commercially prepared hygiene products (toothpaste, mouthwash, etc). Spearmint has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries on many different continents. It is antiemetic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, restorative, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. The medicinal herb tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, bronchitis, chills, cramps, chronic gastritis, common cold, headaches, indigestion, morning sickness, motion sickness, nasal congestion, nausea, halitosis, painful menstruation, and various minor ailments. The stems when crushed can be used as a medicinal poultice on bruises. Oils in the leaves have been used as a rub for stiffness, muscle soreness and rheumatism. Because the oils in spearmint are a powerful antiseptic, it should not be consumed in large doses.

There are many medicinal constituents found in spearmint. They include: 1,8-cineole, acetic-acid, acetophenone, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, apigenin, arginine, benzaldehyde, benzyl-alcohol, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, borneol, calcium, carvacrol, carvone, caryophyllene, diosmin, ethanol, eugenol, farnesol, geraniol, hesperidin, limonene, luteolin, menthol, methionine, niacin, oleanolic-acid, perillyl-alcohol, pulegone, rosmarinic-acid, terpinen-4-ol, thiamin, thymol, tryptophan, ursolic-acid, and many vitamins. Spearmint also has excellent antioxidant activity.

The common name 'spear' mint is derived from the pointed leaf tips.