Variegated Peppermint – (mentha x piperita ‘variegata’) Beautiful variegated green and white leaved variety of peppermint. Same sweet scent and flavor as regular peppermint. Excellent for culinary and tea use. Tendency to revert back to it’s all green form. Remove solid green leaves when they appear to keep it in the variegated form.
Peppermint is a cross between Mentha aquatica (Water Mint) and Mentha spicata (Spearmint). Peppermint seeds are rare and, when they do occur, they usually do not germinate. If a seed did sprout it would most likely be a less desirable form of mint. Sometimes we call these offspring “rank mints” because they can be foul tasting and have a very unpleasant odor. Our Peppermint is the variety most often used for peppermint oil production. It was originally obtained by us from the Mint Repository in Oregon and is sometimes referred to as Black Mitcham or Black Peppermint.
Mitcham is a location in the United Kingdom where Peppermint has been grown commercially for oil production for centuries. The climate there, which is cool and sunny in the summer, is ideal for mint. Even though mint prefers these conditions, with a little understanding, it can thrive almost anywhere in the United States. For instance, here in the Southwest, where we can have many summer days over 100, we give our Peppermint shade in the afternoon. While the mint does not mind our sun and high temperatures, it does mind going without water. Keeping the plants consistently moist is necessary to develop succulent stems. So to give ourselves a break from watering all the time, we grow it in partial shade. The key is to balance the amount of shade with the quality of the oil produced in the plant. Too much shade and not only does the flavor suffer, but the plant also becomes more susceptible to disease. You know your mint plant is in too much shade when the tall stems become lanky instead of rigid. Peppermint will also grow a lighter shade of green in too much shade. Variegated Peppermint is a little different and should be protected from sun that is too harsh. The white and cream sections of the leaves are very susceptible to sunburn. This normally doesn’t hurt the plant but it is disfiguring and, if left unchecked, will cause the plant to grow very slowly or die. Because we always grow Peppermint in a container it is easier to find just the right spot simply by relocating the pot.
Both Peppermints like to grow in well drained potting soil to which organic fertilizer has been added. Each plant needs as much room as you can provide. It is better to have a very wide container instead of a very deep one. Six inches is deep enough. There is never enough width! Most mints will need to be split up and repotted each spring to keep them healthy. See our Great Mint Repotting Caper for more on proper soil, division and replanting.
Hortela is another name for Peppermint and this site has an amazing amount of medicinal information about this one plant. The first thing you notice is the incredible list of chemicals contained in the lowly Hortela plant. It is important to realize that all these chemicals work together to give Peppermint and, any other herb for that matter, its unique taste and healing properties. It seems impossible that a single element removed from the plant and inserted into a tablet, could possibly work as well as or have the same great flavor that the Peppermint from your own back yard does.
Variegated Peppermint like most variegated plants make for intriguing garden companions. Their highlights make darker plants pop and add an interesting complement to bright flower colors. There are two kinds of variegated plants: those that are a true species and those that are variegated due to a virus or other environmental factor. Most variegated herbs fall into this second group. These virus-infected plants are referred to as sports . A sport is a stem, or, more correctly, a bud of an all-green plant that goes awry and produces a variegated branch or stem. These mutations are often selected by growers, rooted, and given a ne