Mint, Pineapple (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’)
Apple Mint, Wooly Mint, Round Leaved Mint
About This Plant
Pineapple Mint is an attractive variegated cultivar of Apple Mint (M. suaveolens). It is a spreading perennial that grows about two feet in height and is hardy to USDA zone 6. Pineapple Mint is considered one of the most attractive Mint varieties and is often grown in ornamental flower gardens. It also grows well in containers and hanging baskets.
Its ovate leaves are deeply veined with a coarse, bumpy texture. The leaves grow on stiff stems and are light green in color with cream-colored edges and are somewhat hairy on their tops and bottoms. Its pink, purple, or white flowers grow in whorls on long spikes and attract bees and butterflies. Pineapple Mint is highly aromatic with sweet, tropical notes like that of Pineapple or citrus. It’s flavor is both minty and fruity.
Pineapple Mint does not set seed and is propagated from cuttings or by division.
Pineapple Mint can be planted 12” to 15” apart.
Like most Mints, Pineapple Mint can grow in partial shade to full sun and prefers a rich, moist soil. If grown in full sun it tends to stand upright while plants grown in more shade tend to sprawl. It is hardy and easy to grow and spreads by runners which gives it an invasive tendency.
Older plants can become woody and unattractive. It is best to pull them up and let younger plants fill in the empty space. Pinching the growing tips back regularly helps keep the plant compact and bushy. When the plant stops producing heavily, it is time to thin out the roots. Occasionally, you may find a solid green sprig of Mint growing in it – this is a sprig of its parent plant, Apple Mint. These should be pinched out because the Apple Mint will grow more vigorously than its variegated offspring and, while still tasty and lovely, it will take over the Pineapple Mint. Sometimes, completely white sprigs of the plant also appear. These sprigs lack chlorophyll and without the ability to synthesize sunlight into food, won’t last long before dying back.
Pineapple Mint does not produce seeds.
- Pest Deterrent
Pineapple Mint can be used for any variety of sweet and savory creations in the kitchen. It is used to make old fashioned Applemint jelly and makes a delicious fruity flavored mint tea. Its variegated leaves make a nice garnish in salads and deserts. It pairs well with lamb, chicken, and fish. Toss a few sprigs into your marinade for a refreshing twist. It can be added to fresh chutney and salsa or muddled and added to cocktails. It is often used fresh as its delicate aromas are lost when cooked. It is often used as garnish for desserts and main dishes in Caribbean and Polynesian cooking.
Pineapple Mint, while not commonly the Mint of choice for medicinal purposes, does still employ the same general medicinal attributes of other more popular mints – namely it can be used for minor stomach upset and disturbances.
Pineapple Mint is a variegated selection of Apple Mint (M. suaveolens) which is native to southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean.