Common Names #
Gingermint, Scotch Spearmint (UK), Rau Hung Cay (Vietnam), Vietnamese Mint, Slender Mint, American Red Mint, Red Mint, Creeping Whorled Mint, Golden Apple Mint, Little-Leaved Mint, Double Mint
About This Plant #
Scotch Mint is a naturally occurring sterile hybrid of Spearmint (M. spicata) and Field Mint (M. arvensis). It has a very strong and especially sweet Spearmint aroma and flavor. It is cultivated for its essential oil and is one of the main contributors to the American Mint oil industry. The world center for growing Scotch Mint for commercial use is in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and it is used almost entirely for processing into Mint flavors for chewing gum, candies and rat repellent. The Vietnamese use Scotch Mint in the making of Pho.
Scotch Mint is an easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial that grows 1 ½ – 2 feet tall and is hardy in USDA zones 5-9. Its leaves are thinner and more delicate than Spearmint, typically up to 2 ¾” long. The gold and green variegated leaves have beautiful bright yellow stripes and serrated edges. Its light purple flowers form in whorled clusters along the axils. Its growth is more compact than other Mints. It thrives in distubed, moist ground, especially along the shores of waterways. It smells like Spearmint and has a bit of a Peppermint-like bite.
Scotch Mint was first introduced to North America by a gardener in Wisconsin in 1908. From there, it began being cultivated throughout the Midwest and later in the Pacific Northwest. Spearmint (M. spicata) had been introduced to the U.S. in the 1800’s for oil production. After 1908, Scotch Mint became the cultivated variety of choice.
Scotch Mint is a sterile hybrid that rarely sets seed; when it does, the seeds are rarely viable. It is propagated rather by plant cuttings and division. Division can happen at any time of year but is best done in the Spring or Fall.
Scotch Mint can be spaced about 12 – 18” apart.
Scotch Mint will grow well in any type of soil, including heavy clay, as long as it’s well-watered. Growing it in full sun will result in the best flavor and aroma, though it will grow in partial shade as well.
Seed Harvest #
Scotch Mint is a sterile hybrid that does not produce viable seed.
Plant Uses #
- Pest deterrent
Culinary Uses #
Scotch Mint is an excellent culinary and tea variety of Mint. It is used in Vietnam for herb plates and in Pho. It can be added to melon salads, hot or cold teas, and lemonade. It can be added to marinades for meat and poultry. Finely chopped leaves can be added to butter spreads. It can compliment the flavor for fish and meat dishes. It is used as the traditional flavoring in Scotch Mint candies.
Medicinal Uses #
Mints have a long history of use for a number of ailments. They are commonly used for digestive complaints such as indigestions, bloating, gas, and nausea. It can be used for motion sickness, tension headaches and for fever.
Scotch Mint is a naturally occurring hybrid indigenous throughout the overlapping native regions of Spearmint (M. spicata) and Field Mint (M. arvensis) in Europe and Asia.