By: Liz Baessler
Orange mint (Mentha piperita citrata) is a mint hybrid known for its strong, pleasant citrus flavor and aroma. It’s prized for its culinary uses both for cooking and beverages. On top of being useful in the kitchen, its fragrance makes it a great choice for garden borders where its tendrils can be easily bruised by foot traffic, releasing its scent into the air. Keep reading to learn more about growing orange mint and the uses for orange mint plants.
Orange mint herbs, like all mint varieties, are vigorous growers and can overwhelm a garden if they’re allowed to. To keep your orange mint in check, it’s best either to grow it in pots or in containers sunk in the ground.
Sunken containers will give the appearance of a regular garden bed while preventing the roots from spreading out beyond their limits. That being said, if you have a space that you’d like to fill out quickly, orange mint is a good choice.
Caring for orange mint is very easy. It prefers rich, moist, clay-like soils that are a little acidic, which means it can fill in damp, dense areas of your yard or garden where nothing else will take hold.
It grows best in full sun, but it also does very well in partial shade. It can handle quite a bit of neglect. In mid to late summer, it will produce spiked flowers in pink and white that are very good for attracting butterflies.
You can use the leaves in salads, jellies, desserts, pestos, lemonades, cocktails, and a wide variety of other dishes. The leaves are edible and very fragrant both raw and cooked.
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Ame lives off-the-grid on her beautiful farm in Falmouth, Kentucky. She has been gardening organically for over 30 years and has grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and ornamentals. She also participates in Farmers Markets, CSA, and mentors young farmers. Ame is the founder and director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center where she teaches environmental education programs in self-sufficiency, herbal medicine, green building, and wildlife conservation.
Mint juleps on warm Derby Day. Hot tea when you have a miserable cold. Chocolate dessert with a minty surprise inside. Mint can do it all. The easy-to-grow herb is an indispensable plant that can be used for flavoring, as natural health care and as a cool refreshment on a sunny day.
I’m sure you’ve heard that mint is an invasive weed. That’s true, and it’s not. The key is to plant with care so that it stays where you want it and doesn’t go where you don’t. On the plus side, being such a hardy plant means that growing mint doesn’t take much effort.
Mint is an enormous family that includes bee balm, basil, catnip, and oregano. In this guide, we’re going to concentrate on the true mints such as peppermint, spearmint and apple mint. Whether you use it in edible landscaping as a groundcover, or as an addition to your herb garden, there is a range of varieties, colors, and scents to choose from.
|Family:||Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)|
|Genus:||Mentha (MEN-thuh) (Info)|
|Species:||citrata (sit-TRAY-tuh) (Info)|
|Synonym:||Mentha piperita var. citrata|
|Synonym:||Mentha aquatica var. citrata|
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
Can be grown as an annual
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
May be a noxious weed or invasive
From herbaceous stem cuttings
Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
On Oct 24, 2012, herbella from Albuquerque, NM wrote:
So far, this is my favorite mint. I don't detect a strong scent of orange. It has a mild flavor. It grows well in an old half whiskey barrel that was here when we bought the house. It gets sun only in the morning. I put a half gallon olla (clay pot for watering) in the middle of the barrel and refill the olla every two days. It has survived a week without having the water refreshed in the olla. My favorite use for orange mint is to put a few fresh leaves in with our green salads. It perks up the salad, but does not overwhelm it as peppermint or others would do. I also dry it and add it to other herb tea combinations in place of peppermint because the orange mint is milder. It survived through last winter. My other experiences with mint include spearmint (odd flavor & tends to die out), pep. read more permint (super invasive), chocolate (died out), catmint (not tasty bit the flowers are attractive), pineapple (temperamental and tends to die out), and apple (died out).
On Mar 21, 2006, prometeo21 from Mayaguez, PR (Zone 11) wrote:
Very nice mint. My favorite. Someone said that is useless in cooking. humm, just try a few leaves in a cup with hot chocolate and cover the cup for five minutes. The results will be incredible. A really nice cup of hot chocolate with a heavenly aroma and a really nice exotic flavor. Just Try it once. This one is my personal recipe. My plant gave out flowers in Puerto Rico this last winter in full sun. Needs moist soil here.
On Jun 20, 2005, jadewolf from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
This is also one of my favorite mints. Very fragrent and pleasing aroma. I've also found it useful in certain soups where a spicy, mildly mint flavor is desired. Not as strong as peppermint or spearmint for culinary use.
On May 23, 2005, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:
One of my favorite mints (and I love mints) . delicious minty/orangey citrusy smelling foliage smells lightly "perfumey"? and almost sometimes like a man's cologne. Grows very easily one of hardier "special" mints. round small (smaller than peppermint etc.) shiny dark green leaves with darkish veins and darkish stems.
On Feb 6, 2005, cultivateweeds from Salem, MA wrote:
Grows well in imperfect soil in shade. Will run and become invasive groundcover, using other plants for support to reach for light. Shallow roots/runners, easy to pull out unwanted portion. Nice smell, useless in cooking, doesn't bloom in shade. Water during drought.
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Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day shade means little or no direct sun.
Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.
Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year perennials can live for more than two years.
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.
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Mint may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or planted as a potted plant.
Sowing Seed Indoors:
Planting in the Garden:
This hummingbird mint boasts large spikes of reddish-pink tubular flowers with an orange tint over a long season in summer and early fall. The whole plant is aromatic. Grow in a bed, border, rock garden, or xeric garden.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsHybrid of A. rupestris and A. cana . Large plant with spikes of pink-red-orange flowers that hummingbirds love.
CareGrow in full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Tolerates dry, xeric sites but also grows well in regular garden conditions.
PropagationStart seeds indoors in early spring at 55° to 64°F divide in spring take cuttings in late summer.
ProblemsUsually easy to grow, but mildew and rust can be problems during a dry summer. Downy mildew and other fungal diseases occasionally occur.
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