Nothing screams Christmas like candy canes. Shirley describes how you can grow a variety of mint, including peppermint and spearmint, indoors for all of our upcoming Holiday recipes. Shirley also shares a fun-fact. Legend has it candy canes were born out of a mid-1600s practice of giving kids little sugar candies to keep quiet during Christmas services. It became a tradition and later incorporated the peppermint flavor and signature red and green stripes.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEPPERMINT & SPEARMINT
- All plants in the mint family have recognizable square-shaped stems.
- All mint plants have the same interesting leaf pattern.
- Peppermint has long, vine-like stems that grow and attaches itself to the ground, making new plants at the joints.
- Spearmint grows upright but also spreads from underground stems, making all mints highly invasive in the garden.
TASTE DIFFERENCES AND USES:
- Peppermint is great for baking/cooking. Spearmint is great for holiday drinks.
- When you taste the fresh leaves you will notice the difference in flavor!
- Peppermint has more menthol than spearmint, giving it a much cooler, strong flavor- iconic flavor in candy canes and paired with chocolate.
- Spearmint has a milder, sweeter flavor and has another substance called carvone, which is the iconic, "spearmint flavor" not found in peppermint.
GROWING MINT INDOORS:
- Peppermint grows low to the ground and will form new roots, (and plants) along the stem where it touches the soil!
- As a hanging plant, peppermint will be easier to maintain and you can harvest the leaves that hang from the container!
CARING FOR MINT INDOORS:
- Place it in a very bright room near a window but not direct sunlight or use a plant light if needed.
- Keep mint well-watered but not soaked. Do not let the soil completely dry.
- Temperatures: 50- 80 degrees indoors is ideal.
- Harvest leaves from the tips as needed, this will keep your plant growing.
- Take stem cuttings, removing the lower leaves and place in a glass of water.
- Change water every 3 days. roots will form in a couple of weeks.
- Mint plants can live in the water or plant in soil once roots form.