Sustainable Organic Gardening

In mint condition: spearmint Mentha spicata

This herb is a lovable rogue – don’t let it get the jump on you or it will take over your garden. I planted spearmint and that’s exactly what has happened. A profusion of spearmint. Lucky I like mint. So if you don’t want this to happen to you I suggest growing it in a large container. A wide terracotta look-alike saucer is a good choice. This is one of those times that the real thing, terracotta, doesn’t work as well because it dries out too quickly.

Mint behaving badly

In most areas spearmint is a great plant to have in your garden and spring is the best time to divide your plants. Repotting is necessary every year if you have it in a container as it gets overcrowded very quickly. Start a new plant by nicking a cutting from a friend as it propagates easily. Spearmint will grow to 90cm in height and likes rich, well-drained soil. It prefers semi-shade in temperate areas, full sun in subtropical and tropical areas. It also enjoys a good supply of water without being waterlogged and loves being cut back to the ground after flowering. Do be careful though, in some areas of Australia it is considered invasive.

Spearmint growing in a saucer

Grasshoppers unfortunately like mint as much as I do, so keep an eye out for them in early summer.

Mint has been used medicinally for centuries: its uses range from enhancing memory to easing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The flowers are also a great forage plant for bees.

I use the fresh leaves seeped in hot water as a tea, as a traditional mint sauce and love it in my tabouleh. It combines beautifully with pineapple, in anything from a pina colada to a tropical fruit punch.

Spearmint leaves

The following is a take on Tabouleh Salad. I like to use quinoa as a substitute for burghul but you can use burghul if you wish.

Tabouleh Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 2 cups finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup spearmint, chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped green shallots


  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ chopped preserved lemon with pith removed

Prepare quinoa as per pack instructions. Once cooked, let cool to room temperature. Combine salad ingredients.

To prepare dressing combine ingredients into a jar with lid and shake. Add to salad and gently stir through.

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Posted in Kitchen, Organic Gardening

One Response to “In mint condition: spearmint Mentha spicata

  • Melissa Hudson says:

    I have it in my veggie patch as a companion plant. I just pull it out if it goes a bit wild. I also use normal mint around my fruit trees.

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