Banana mint plants (Mentha arvensis ‘Banana’) are a variety of mint with bright, fuzzy, lime-green foliage and a pronounced, very delightful aroma of banana. Like all mint plants, growing banana mint is easy. Read on for all the banana mint information you need to get started with this fun, and rather quirky plant.
Banana Mint Information
Although these plants are grown primarily for their foliage, the small purple flowers, which bloom throughout the summer, are highly attractive to bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Mature height of the plant is about 18 inches. Banana mint plants are perennial, and suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 11.
Growing Banana Mint
Banana mint grows in partial shade or full sunlight and nearly any type of well-drained soil. However, keep in mind that although banana mint may not be quite as rowdy as many of its mint cousins, it can still become quite aggressive. If you’re concerned that the plants may be bullies in your garden, plant them in containers to keep growth in check.
Planting seeds isn’t recommended for banana mint, and may not produce the results you’re hoping for. However, it’s easy to start mint cuttings or divisions from an existing plant, or by planting young banana mint plants purchased at a nursery or greenhouse. You can even root banana mint cuttings in a glass of water.
Banana Mint Care
Banana mint requires little care. The most important thing is to keep the soil moist, but not saturated. Banana mint plants don’t tolerant dry soil.
Harvest banana mint regularly to keep the plant full and attractive. If the plant ever begins to look long and leggy in midsummer, feel free to cut it back by about one-third of its height. It will rebound quickly.
Cut the plants nearly to the ground in fall. If you live in the cooler ranges of the acceptable climate zones, a layer of mulch will protect the roots during the winter.
Uses for Banana Mint
Fresh banana mint leaves add flavor to hot and cold tea, adult beverages, ice cream and baked goods, such as muffins and cookies. The leaves are also easy to dry for use in the off-season.