On the south-east side of the main house, we grow mint. We understand that it’s invasive. That’s okay. It gets that whole section of the yard to take over.
The mint’s primary job is to repel bugs and critters which is why we grow it next to the house. Don’t know if it actually works. However, I do love being able to harvest and dry the different varieties, and I make a lot of mint tea.
Along the side of the house we have orange mint, spearmint, apple mint, peppermint, and mojito mint.
Of course, we just planted it. I never looked up anything about it.
On the other side of the house, across the driveway, under one of the baby pine trees, my sweetie planted chocolate mint many, many years ago. (Possibly as many as nine years ago.)
He’d thought he’d killed it at one point. However, it had just kind of gone underground. When he was mowing that area a few years ago, he suddenly smelled mint and realized that the chocolate mint had survived.
Me, personally? I adore chocolate mint. Particularly in tea.
The last couple of years, I’ve been able to harvest small amounts of chocolate mint. I’ve considered buying and planting more, but just never got around to it.
This year, I harvested the chocolate mint as usual, letting the mint dry by hanging.
However, after it had dried, I compared the leaves to the existing chocolate mint.
Hmmm. Leaves looked different. They didn’t have a brownish red color to them. They were also considerably larger.
I *know* that I harvested chocolate mint. But what I had in my hand was peppermint.
I discovered on a single stalk that I had both leaves of peppermint as well as leaves of chocolate mint.
I ended up putting all the dried leaves into their own jar, rather than try to differentiate one leaf from another.
Then, I went looking out on the interwebs. It appears that it’s a well known fact that mint cross-pollinates. You’re not supposed to put different types of mint together because they will exchange flavors.
The internets even told me that yes, you can end up with more than one flavor on a single stalk.
Next year, I will plant more chocolate mint. Hopefully, after a single season, I will be able to harvest actual chocolate mint. I don’t know how long it will take before it goes wild again.
It’s strange to me how far apart the two mint plants were. As my sweetie pointed out though, the bees don’t care.
None of the rest of the mint on the side of the house has started cross-pollinating. Yet. I’m not sure what sorts of combinations we’ll get once it does.
What I’m more concerned about is the lemon balm and the sweet mint deciding to get it on. I’m not sure that would be a nice combination. (Both of those mints need more shade, so they’re planted in yet a different part of the garden/property.)
Or even the mint commingling with the oregano…
Do you have a favorite type of mint? Either to grow or to use?