Mentha spicata 'Kentucky Colonel'
Common Name: spearmint
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Lilac to pink to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Ground Cover, Herb, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in rich, moist soils in full sun to part shade. Adapts to a wide range of soils except dry ones. Large plantings may be sheared after bloom to remove flower spikes and stimulate new vegetative growth. Soil barriers may be used to restrain rhizomatous spread if plants are grown in borders or other areas where spread is unwanted.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Mentha spicata, commonly called spearmint, is a rhizomatous, upright perennial which is most commonly grown as a culinary herb and/or ground cover. It typically grows to 2' tall and spreads by rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover. It features ovate to lanceolate dark green leaves (to 3" long) and terminal spikes of small lilac to pink to white flowers in summer. Leaves have a strong spearmint fragrance and taste, and may be used to flavor teas, in salads, as a garnish or in pot pourris.

Genus name comes from Minthe or Menthe, a water nymph in Greek mythology, who was transformed by Persephone into a mint plant in revenge for Minthe's ongoing affair with Hades (husband of Persephone).

Specific epithet means spike.

'Kentucky Colonel' features superior foliage to the species.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Can be an aggressive spreader.

Garden Uses

Herb gardens. Naturalize as a ground cover in moist informal areas such as pond/water garden margins or low open woodland areas.