Mountain Mint — North Eastern Native Edible
Regular price $3.50 USD
Hairy Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum verticillatum var. pilosum) is a valuable nectar plant that pollinators flock to in droves while in bloom (mid-late summer). It is native to the Great Lakes regions of Canada and the US with a range that extends down into the southern states.
Not only is it a must-have for attracting pollinators, but this edible and medicinal plant is gorgeous, with soft, hairy leaves and stems topped with clusters of white to pale lavender blooms that are dotted with purple spots.
The leaves and flowers taste a lot like regular mint with a twist, and can be used in the same ways. However, where the flavour from Mentha species comes from the essential oil menthol, Pycnanthemum’s mintiness has a distinct spiciness that comes from the essential oil menthone. I use the leaves and flowers fresh in homegrown herbal tea blends and dry them at their peak (flowers and leaves) to enjoy through the winter months.
Like mint, it will survive in a range of soil types and light exposure, although I find it to be much more drought tolerant, yet less invasive. The plant grows in a clump and has never tried to take over the bed where I grow it, while mint... we all know how that goes. Mountain mint is also quite hardy, surviving in temperatures as low as -20F.
Special Notes: Prefers full sun and well-draining soil, but is adaptable. Loved by bees, wasps, and butterflies. Ornamental. Leaves and flowers edible. Blooms late season. Grows 2-3 ft tall. Hardy in USDA zones 4-8.
Approximately 100-200+ seeds per packet.
Seed Starting and Growing: Direct sow into the garden in early spring, as soon as the soil is "workable." Scatter or press seed lightly, but do not bury as it requires light to germinate. Alternatively, start seed indoors 6 weeks before the last frost. Again, press into the soil, but do not cover and keep moist until germination. Transplant outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. Once established this is a tough perennial. Note: I've never required cold stratification to encourage germination, but if you do have problems I suggest trying it, or scattering the seed more lightly on the soil surface.
About You Grow Girl Seeds:
All of the seeds that I sell were lovingly homegrown and harvested by me, small scale, in my urban garden using organic methods only -- no chemicals or pesticides whatsoever. Tomato varieties are isolated to stay true using the flower bagging method and I test for germination quality. I take special care in choosing varieties that I find unusual, interesting and fabulous, and/or especially suitable for growing in small space gardens.