Pineapple Mint

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Virtues: This is a highly ornamental, fragrant, useful herb, all owing to its green-and-cream variegated leaves. A great choice for gardeners looking to combine the ornamental and edible gardens into one. Deer resistant; attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Pineapple mint Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata'

Common name: Pineapple mint

Botanical name:Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata'

Foliage: Leaves are green with cream edges and markings. They are oval in shape, with a puckered, wrinkled texture.

Flowers: Tubular white or light pink flowers held in upright, columnar clusters, in summer.

Habit: Spreading perennial to 2 feet tall and at least as wide.

Season: Spring and summer.

Origin: Variegated selection of apple mint (Mentha suaveolens), which is native to southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Cultivation: Grow in full sun for most compact habit; tolerates some shade. Prefers moist, well-drained soil but adaptable to other soils and fairly drought tolerant once established.

Pinch back stems regularly (or harvest for use in teas and baking or as garnish) to encourage a bushy shape and promote new growth, which has the strongest fragrance. If stems with plain green stems appear, clip them off—all the way back to their starting point—to discourage the plant from reverting to its parent, the all-green M. suaveolens, or apple mint. As plants become woody, remove them to allow younger plants to fill in. Deer resistant. USDA Zones 5–11.

Important note: As with all mints, pineapple mint spreads by stolons (underground stems) and can be aggressive when happy. To keep it within an area, trap its roots by either planting it in a bottomless pot or bucket first, then sinking that in the ground, or hemming it in with deep edging material. Also an excellent candidate for patio containers and hanging baskets, which elevate the scent to nose level and eliminate the risk of unwanted spread.

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