Chocolate Mint: Mentha x piperita Hardy Perennial. (1xGarden Ready Plant Supplied)
This Garden Mint:- Chocolate Mint Mentha x piperita is a really useful full bodied mint that compliments coffee and hot chocolates or even teas - it smells just like after eight mints!
Fresh chocolate mint leaves when added to your coffee will give you that mint aroma first thing in the morning and can even help to disguise that not so desirable morning coffee breath!
Chocolate mint leaves are also a nice addition to chocolate brownie cakes, salads or even in drinks. You can put one ot two chocolate mint leaves in the water when making ice cubes and use with drinks or teas. Chocolate mint ice cream when made with this herb is out of this world!
There are over one thousand varities of mint, but only about a dozen or so are worth growing in your garden, patio or window boxes. They are ideal for the beginner gardener or a fantastic way to introduce children to growing and gardening. Mints are very easy to grow and making themselves at home in both full shade (even on a North facing wall) or full sun with very little maintenance required. If they have any problem at all it is that they grow too well! The solution for this is always to plant all varieties of mints in a pot if planting in the garden, or better still an old bucket, to restrict the mint plants growth. It does not like the soil to be too dry, so if planted in a container this has double-duty as it restricts the roots and at the same time retains moisture which all mint plants love. Mints love to be mulched, so get the kids involved and surround your mints with garden compost, bark, woodchip, cocoa shells or grass clippings (thick layers are inadvisable).
Your herb garden can also look stunning if you choose to use an inorganic mulch such as slate, gravel or pebbles. By mulching your mints they will be very happy indeed as the roots will have a moist compost to thrive in. Twice a year feed with bonemeal and your mints will reward you every year with even more gorgeous fresh chocolate scented leaves than you could imagine! When you harvest your fresh mint, simply snip the top leaves first because this will encourage the plant to shoot from the base and this will also help to keep your Chocolate Mints looking their best. Remove older woody stems to allow newer and younger shoots to fill in and at the end of the growing season cut your Chocolate Mints back to gound level. By cutting back the plants at the end of the growing season the roots of your Chocolate Mint plant will hug the soil all winter and re-shoot and reward you year after year. All the plants in the Mentha family are best used fresh but they can be dried or frozen for use in winter. Chocolate Mint is extremely hardy and can be harvested as soon as new shoots appear in the spring! This is the best time to harvest your mint as the young new growth is the most fragrant and flavoursome. If you are choosing to harvest to dry simply hang small bunches upside down in a dry, dark, warm area or alternatively dry on paper. Once you have done this you can then store your mint leaves in an air-tight container to keep them at their very best. I love to have a pot of Chocolate Mint in the kitchen and when you crush a leaf every now and then it gives the kitchen a nice chocolaty peppermint smell.
position: full sun or full shade, and will even thrive with a North facing aspect. Perfect for growing in patio containers, window boxes or in garden borders
scent: fragrant chocolate, just like After Eight mints!
height & spread: approximately, 50cms
culinary: coffee, digestive teas, cakes and ice creams. Can be dried and used in herbal sachets for colds and blocked sinuses or dried for pot-pourri or air freshners
Unique uses: dip leaves in melted chocolate, chill and finely chop and serve with ice-cream
wildlife: tubular pink flowers attractive to ladybirds, butterflies and bees
1 x Chocolate Mint Plant growing in a 9cm pot. Hardy perennial plant sent with pot to protect the root system. Available from early spring.
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