Orange Mint Care: Tips On Growing Orange Mint Herbs


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.

Growing Orange Mint Herbs

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 Plants

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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Growing Mint: How to Plant, Grow, and Take Care of Mint

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.


Orange Bergamot Mint

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

Category:

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

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.

Plants ship in Spring at proper planting time (Click here for Spring Shipping Schedule)

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Video

Mint may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or planted as a potted plant.

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Sow mint seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit.
  • Sow seeds ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula.
  • Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Planting in the Garden:

  • Select a location (out of the way or in a container due to rapid spread) in full sun or part shade with good rich, evenly moist soil. Consider that mints can be vigorous spreaders and may be best grown in containers or raised beds.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
  • Set the plants 18 inches apart. Or plant in containers in a commercial potting mix.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.


The Plant Guide

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.

  • Genus : Agastache
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 10, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Characteristics : Attracts Hummingbirds, Fragrant Flowers, Fragrant Foliage
  • Tolerance : Deer Tolerant, Drought Tolerant
  • Moisture : Dry to Medium
  • Bloom Time : Early Fall, Fall, Late Summer, Summer
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Flower Color : Pink
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest


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