21 Incredible Types of Mint [& Why You Should Try Each!]

by Chenell | Last Updated: June 23, 2021

There are several types of mint that you’ll find grown in gardens around the world. You can grow mint indoors and outside in your garden, both are quite easy to maintain once the plant is growing.

mint varieties

Mint is often grown for its beautiful flowers, which come in various shades of white, pink, purple, and lavender. These can be a great addition it any garden or flower centerpiece. Mint plants grow best in well-draining, moist soil.

Most mint varieties can be grown in hardiness zones 3-11 with full sun to partial shade. Mint is an excellent companion plant for many vegetables in your garden.

Mint is a creeping plant that grows via underground rhizomes, and is considered a runner that will spread like wildfire if allowed to.

How many types of mint are there?

There are said to be more than 7,500 varieties of mint, some grown for medicinal or culinary purposes, while others are grown as shrubs or trees and ornamentals.

Mint has a wide variety of uses, from culinary to medicinal to aromatherapy and even essential oils.

Culinary Uses for Mint

Medicinal Uses for Mint

Apple Mint

Apple, or “wooly mint” is a mild, rapidly growing type of mint. Its common name comes from its fruity smell and apple-y aftertaste. If you grow apple mint near tomatoes, cabbage, and peas, those vegetables will have a more robust flavor.

It thrives on partial sunlight, relatively warm environments of no less than 50-degrees Fahrenheit, and nutritious soils. While it can survive lower temperatures, you may experience stunted growth or a smaller harvest.

The plant can grow to 2 feet tall and, like other varieties of mint, will spread rapidly across gardens. You can grow the apple mint from seed or grow cuttings of the mature mint plant in water.

This mint is easy to grow and survive in almost any environment except freezing or extra-dry areas.

Banana Mint

banana mint

Similar to apple mint, banana mint gets its name from its taste.

Banana Mint can also be added to drinks for an extra flavor boost; adding it to iced coffee will give your drink a fruity taste without the need for any artificial sugars. This particular mint variety tastes great when added to desserts too because it gives them more sweetness than you would typically get from other types of mint.

Calamint

This mint is native to the UK and grows in sandy soils and full sun in hardiness zones five to nine. It has large leaves with deep veins, thick stalks, and fuzzy herbs. You shouldn’t use or handle this type of mint if you’re pregnant. This one is not typically used in meals but more in the medicinal space. It’s a popular seasoning for meat and in beverages. You can use it in place of basil or thyme. It is a tea mint, and pairs well with lime in iced or hot teas. It contains menthol, which can be used as a skin and muscle-relieving ingredient.

Catmint

Not to be confused with catnip, this type of mint has striking grey-green leaves with blue-lavender flowers. The plant is resistant to drought and can grow in sandy or dry soil. It’s not a feline stimulant, but is used in herbal teas and other calming drinks. It’s possible to dry or use every part of the plant, and you can dry it or use it fresh. If dried it, it’ll store for months in an airtight bag without losing potency. Adding shoots or leaves to sauces and soups are popular ways to use it. It is an aggressively growing plant and you want to take care to keep it trimmed.

Chocolate Mint

With slightly brown stems and brown markings on the leaves, this mint smells and tastes slightly chocolatey. Chocolate mint prefers a cool, shady location with moist soil. Once you find the perfect location, it’s an easy-care mint.

It can be added to whipped cream and blended in an ice cream maker to create a chocolate-mint ice cream without adding chocolate. And it’s perhaps the best mint to complement chocolate in baking for the ever-so-tasty chocolate mint flavor of baked goods for a chocolate mint delight. Like many of the other mints, chocolate mint makes a delicious tea.

Corn mint (Field Mint)

In ayurvedic medicine, Pudina (another name for corn mint) is used for stomach and gastric issues, while Europeans used wild mint for similar digestional and gall bladder issues, as well as coughing.

Corn mint leaves have been used as an ingredient in the production of toothpaste and mouthwash due to its high menthol content. Tannins, alpha-pinene, and flavanoids can also be extracted from wild mint for various uses.

The flavor profile of Corn Mint has been described as being cool, but mild with a hint of sweetness.

Corsican Mint

Corsican mint is a low-growing mint that is often used as a groundcover because it self seeds and will quickly fill up open spaces in garden beds or around your property. You have been forewarned though as Corsican mint will take over the space it’s planted in, so make sure you don’t want anything else growing there with it.

It can be used in the kitchen as well, for adding a little minty punch to dishes and drinks.

Corsican mint does best in USDA hardiness zones 7-9 as it will freeze in colder climates. It doesn’t do well with dry soil either, so make sure to stay on top of watering.

Corsican mint will produce flowers, but they are small and not as common as flowers from other types of mint.

Curly Mint

Curly mint is a type of mint that is not commonly found in stores but can be grown easily. It grows quickly, and is a perennial that can survive up to 10 years.

Curly mint does well as an ornamental, and can withstand almost any environment making it great for lanscaping, even in urban settings. Curly mint is also a great addition to the kitchen with its robust flavor and fun shaped leaves.

Egyptian Mint

By Dr. Roy Winkelman

Egyptian mint is less invasive that other cultivars and varieties of mint, so you don’t have to worry about it taking over your garden.

Ginger Mint (aka redmint)

Hairy Mountain Mint

Horse mint (Silver Mint)

Horsemint is one of the most beautiful mint varieties when it flowers. It produces large pink and white flower petals that are great for bouquets or just adding some color to your garden.

A horsemint flower is often pink with white edges. Purple horsemint, also known as bee balm, has flowers that are more purple.

Lavender Mint

Lavender mint is a useful and beneficial mint, both for its medicinal qualities and for culinary purposes. Lavender is said to increase relaxation and calm feelings, and a sprig of fresh fresh lavender mint will enhance the flavor of savory dishes like salads, pasta, and soups.

This mint is hardy and versatile and can be used in soaps, creams, lip balms, shampoos, and creams. Some people enjoy fresh mint added to cold lemonade or other drinks.

Orange Mint

A tea made with dried orange mint leaves is said to help with nausea, various digestive problems, and alleviate stomach pains.

The oil from orange mint is often used for essential oils and added to air fresheners to brighten up a room.

Are you a fan of Chartreuse? The original Chartreuse liqueur had 130 secret ingredients, and orange mint is said to have been one of them.

Pennyroyal Mint

Peppermint

Peppermint is a cross between water mint and spearmint.

Fresh peppermint infused (soaked) in honey keeps well for a tasty additive to winter teas, hot chocolate (mint of any variety goes well with chocolate) and in sweet treats.

Peppermint is useful around the house, inside and out. Peppermint is said to help keep rodents, flies, ants and other pests away with its strong scent.

It can be added to sweet or savory dishes, puddings, salads, and salad dressings. It’s known to grow as high as 3 feet tall and prefers a moist, marginally shady area for growing. It has a cool feeling when placed on the skin helps rejuvenate tired, achy feet and the smell of peppermint has a sweet, attractive odor. It makes a tasty addition to cold drinks as well, like lemonade, iced tea, and other cocktails.

Pineapple Mint

  • Scientific Name: Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’
  • Other Common Names:
  • Flavor: Minty, with a hint of pineapple
  • Height: 3 feet
  • Days to Harvest: 90 days
  • Appearance: Green and white variegated leaves
  • Flower Color:
  • Common Uses:
    • Used in fruity salads, garnishes, and potpourris

Pineapple mint is a variety of apple mint. This mint is valued for its variegated leaves, of both green and white.

It’s also a great addition in fruit salads, jellies, and teas and even used as a garnish due to it’s dual color scheme.

It’s often used in potpourri’s that are fruity and light as well. Pineapple mint also makes a great groundcover or accent plant in your yard due to it’s beautiful coloring, and sometimes has fully white leaves instead of two-toned with green.

Red Raripila Mint

Red raripila mint is a cross between spearmint, watermint, and corn mint. It’s great flavor works well in ice cream and as flavoring for other foods.

It’s said to help aid digestion and calm an upset stomach.

The red raripila mint leaves are commonly spread around areas like granaries that need to keep mice or rat populations down as they are not attracted to the scent at all.

Spearmint (Garden Mint)

Spearmint is one of the most common mint plan varieties and has leaves that are very pronounced and sharp-looking. The ends of the leaves are shaped like spears, giving this mint the name “Spearmint”. How clever 🙂

Spearmint is a main ingredient in Maghrebi tea (aka Moroccan mint tea).

The mints you grab in tins at the grocery store are typically made with spearmint. This fresh flavor is also found in chewing gum, tea, and essential oils. The name ‘spear’ in the plant addresses the pointy leaf tips that look like a spear. The plant grows tall, sometimes up to 3 feet, with long, narrow leaves and pink or white flowers that grow in slender spikes.

The leaves may be used fresh, dried, or frozen, but it’s best to harvest the leaves before the plant flowers. Mint in general is a potentially invasive plant that is popularly grown in containers to limit its spread. It will adapt to a wide range of soil types so long as they are kept moist, but not soaking wet.

Spearmint creates pink or white spikes of flowers if allowed to bud.

Strawberry Mint

A cultivar of spearmint, strawberry mint gets its name from the very distinct strawberry scent it gives off.

Watermint

Water mint grows in water as its name suggests. It can be found in shallow river, lakes, streams and ponds.

Ideal Environment for Growing Mint

Common Mint Pests

Mint has quite a few pests that can wreak havoc on the plant if not controlled.

Most of the common pests can be tamed using neem oil or insecticidal soap.

There are plenty of varieties of mint to choose from, and each has its own characteristics. From bright green leaves, to variegated white and green leaves, to tiny leaves great as a groundcover.

Most taste great in tea, as a garnish to salads, or in ice cream and even as an essential oil.

Chenell lived in a big city for 9 years and loved it. But ever since she was a little kid watching her grandfather raise cattle and pigs, she's always wanted to live on a farm. Once the pandemic hit, she bought a house with her partner on an acre and half of land and started planning a 50 foot by 50 foot garden....with no experience. This site is the place where you can follow along as this millennial tries to learn to grow her own food (and eventually make her own avocado toast).