Mentha ssp. Although long associated in the American mind with cold drinks, mints play a much more varied and vital role in the kitchen by flavoring tea, vegetables, salads, jelly, cookies and desserts. Mints also have a place of honor in fragrant potpourris. Hundreds of mints are known and they run the gamut of intriguing flavors and cultural requirements. For the home gardener with limited space, two or three carefully chosen and contained species usually suffice. (If you lack space to let them run, grow them in pots on a concrete slab).
Mints generally do not require more than 3 hours of sun a day, but they can withstand constant sunshine. A constantly moist, loamy soil with a pH range of 5 to 7.5 is required for best growth.
All mints spread from runners either underground or on top of the soil. Most mints grow 20 to 30 inches tall. Space plants on 6 to 12-inch centers. Planting them together does not alter their aroma or flavor, but once they become a tangle of foliage it may be difficult to select the mint variety you want to use.
Small children may have an immediate and adverse reaction to some mints.