UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA


Garden Help > Herbs

Of the over 600 varieties of mints, the two most popular are peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint (M. spicata). Peppermint, which is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint, has a higher concentration of menthol than does spearmint. Accordingly, peppermint is more often used in candies, chocolates, liqueurs, and teas, while spearmint is popular in savory Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.

How to grow

Any mint is best grown in a container to prevent it from becoming invasive. Mint can tolerate light frost.

  • Type: Perennial, herbaceous
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil: Well drained, well amended
  • Water: Moderate
  • Size: Peppermint 18–36" high; spearmint 6–24" high

When to plant/propagate

  • Seeds: Sow seeds indoors 8–10 weeks before last frost date in spring
  • Transplants: Plant seedlings when danger of frost is past
  • Cuttings & divisions: Cuttings and divisions can be done year round


  • Harvest fresh leaves at any size by pinching off stems
  • For drying, harvest just before flowering for best flavor
  • Preserving and drying herbs

Indoors: Mint can grow indoors with 6 hours of bright light from a sunny window, or 12–16 hours of supplemental light provided by cool white fluorescent or LED lamps

More information

  • Grow Herbs!, UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County


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