By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Watermint plants are aquatic to riparian flora. It naturally occurs in northern Europe along waterways, in storm ditches, and near rivers and other waterways. Older generations had many thoughts on how to use watermint. It has topical uses, can be made into a tea, helps in natural pest control and other properties. Mentha aquatica, as it is known to botanical students, is abundant in its native range and hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11.
Shore plants, like watermint, are important for erosion control, food sources, animal habitat, and simple waterline beauty. What is watermint? Growing watermint around the pond will add fragrance in the summer blooming season and attract butterflies and pollinating insects. The midsummer blooms are caps of tiny florets amassed into a larger flower in deep hues of purple to blue, creating a beautiful effect.
Watermint has thick, dark green leaves, tinged with deep, purple veins, and slight hair. Like all mints, this plant spreads with long runners, which root at nodes and create daughter plants. It has the tendency to become invasive, so plant in a container to prevent invasive growth.
Plant Mentha aquatica along the edges of bodies of water or in shallow water. The plant prefers slightly acidic soil in moist loam. Watermint plants do best in full sun but can also thrive in partial shade. The stems spread out appealingly on top of water and the bright fresh flowers add fragrance and color to the pond or water garden.
You can plant the mint directly into the ground but to prevent spreading, try planting in a container with good drainage holes. Sink it directly into the edge of the water so moisture constantly flows around the roots.
Watermint has few pest or disease problems, but it tends to get a little rust, so avoid overhead watering in warmer, humid regions. The plant responds favorably to light trimming and will push out thicker growth when cut back. Watermint is a perennial plant that may die back in cold weather but will burst with fresh, green growth when temperatures warm.
Watermint plants have topical medicinal properties as a balm for sore muscles and an aid for cleaning wounds. The oils in the leaves add flavor to cooking and baking and leaves add a bright zing to salads. You can dry the leaves for use as a tea, which aids in digestion and calms ulcers.
As a natural pesticide, it repels flies and mice seem to avoid the scent of the plant. Mentha aquatica distillations are also refreshing additions to mouthwash, body wash, and even lotions. The pure refreshing scent can add a boost to potpourri and as an aromatherapy treatment the plant calms and refreshes.
As with all mints, the oils and aroma help relieve stuffy noses and clear the breathing passages. Watermint is a valuable and lovely addition to the garden, with uses beyond medicinal and culinary. Add the oil to cleaning products to freshen the home and enliven the air.
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Mint is one of those herb plants that is ubiquitous everywhere around the world. Grown in the balmy Mediterranean to tropical Vietnam to the Washington valleys, mint is a staple in world cuisines. It is easy to plant in your backyard and harvest the leaves in 60 days.
There is no big secret to harvesting mint leaves. If you need only a few leaves to garnish a dish, simply pluck some off the top of the plant. If you require a bunch of leaves, use your pruning shears and trim off some stems, then remove the leaves.
Mint plants come in all varieties, so if you’re starting from scratch, you have several to choose from. The most common type would be the well-known and much-loved peppermint. You could also diversify and start planting spearmint or even chocolate or apple mint.
Spearmint is sweeter because it contains a compound called carvone. As a result, things that are peppermint flavored have an intense mint flavor (think candy canes and mint tea), while products or dishes that contain spearmint are more subtle. As a result, spearmint is more often used for savory dishes (via Imperial Sugar).
While there are a number of differences between the two, you can use them interchangeably if you don't have the variety that a recipe calls for. In fact, when you see "mint" extract at the grocery store, it's likely a blend of the two mints, whereas peppermint extract is sourced solely from peppermint plants.
Both plants also grow tiny purple-pink leaves when they blossom (via Encyclopedia Brittanica). When it comes to identifying the two in a garden, you might have a very hard time differentiating between them. Both grow like weeds, and they both feature fuzzy, toothed leaves. Even the most experienced gardeners say the best way to determine which mint you have is to take a taste test.
Photo by David J. Stang [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
First and foremost, water mint spreads via rhizomes. This means that it can spread far and fast, potentially taking over your existing plants, or worse, spreading into natural ecosystems and becoming disruptive. To prevent this, plant aquatic mint in pots or containers that will restrict its root spread. It can be planted in two to four inches of soil, or in emergent portions of your pond (or on pond shelves) with its roots in the substrate and two to four inches of water covering the stem.
They do well in either shallow marginal waters or damp soil. If planted in your pond, either soil or a substrate like sand or gravel will work just fine. Mints should be planted about five feet apart from each other to allow for maximum growth. In the wild, watermint can be found along rivers, streams, lake banks, ponds, and in wetlands – particularly bogs – as well as moist grasslands and woods.
Mint has been shown to soothe the stomach and promote healthy digestion, to ease feelings of nausea and to reduce inflammation. Chris Naylor shares how to make tea using water mint leaves.
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Published: May 14, 2020 at 12:30 pm
As the name suggests, water mint flourishes in wet ground, and for this reason it can be found growing around lakes, rivers and ponds.
Like the common mint plant, it has leaves with serrated edges, but unlike mint, they are tinged with purple and are deeply veined.
The edible parts of the water mint plant are its leaves, which have been used in herbal remedies for thousands of years.
Water mint is perennial, so the leaves can be harvested at any time. The youngest leaves have the best flavour, so aim for these if you want a strong minty quality.
Depending on how many containers you use in the garden, making your own garden mix is cheaper than purchasing several bags of pre-made Potting mix.
Making your own potting soil also gives you the freedom to customize the mix for different plant varieties.
However, if you only need a small amount of potting mix for a small garden, it is, however, better if you purchase the mix. It saves you time and energy.
Making your customized potting mix should only or mostly be done for a large scale project or for a long term project.
Before making your own soil mix, you have to consider the following key points:
To mix your personal potting soil blend is rather easy, this also gives you total control of the crucial steps in the growing process of your crops. This is important because, for container gardeners, the variety of potting soil used is very important, and it has to be of high-quality.
As earlier said, making your own potting soil gives you better freedom in choosing the specific soil type to use for certain plants. You not only save money but also get better outcomes from the soil you made.
Start by adding one gallon of moist, very coarse sphagnum peat moss to a gallon of either coarse sand, vermiculite, or perlite. If you find the soil is tight, adjust the source or medium for a more loose and drained mixture.
Add more peat moss if the potting mix has too much sand.
Afterward, take a large amount of homemade potting mix and combine in a cement mixer or a compost tumbler for a large scale mixture.
If you want small scale quantities, combine the ingredients with a wheelbarrow, a big bucket, or even a mortar mix tub. Ensure that the ingredients are mixed thoroughly and evenly to give a consistent result.
Grasshoppers! They look harmless enough, right? That is until you realize they are the reason for your damaged garden.
A grasshopper can eat about half of its body weight in plants per day. That’s a lot of damage!
The last thing you want to do, however, is use pesticides loaded with chemicals in your garden. So, what can you do?
In my research, I came across these great all-natural methods to repel grasshoppers.
What you’ll need:
ACV Grasshopper Trap:
Do you know of any plants that repel grasshoppers? Plant cilantro on the borders of your garden to keep grasshoppers out.
Grasshoppers can’t stand the smell of cilantro. Professional gardeners plant cilantro around their gardens specifically to keep grasshoppers from eating their crops.
You can also place potted cilantro plants around your garden area to create the same barrier. Using potted plants, you can move them around as desired throughout the season.
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Another thing that grasshoppers do not like is the smell and taste of garlic. Applying a bit of garlic solution to your garden won’t kill the grasshoppers but it could do enough to keep them away.
What you’ll need:
You can also plant garlic throughout your garden to provide an extra defense against grasshoppers.
Dust your plants with all-purpose flour. Flour gums up and blocks the grasshopper’s mouth, which prevents it from eating.
As we mentioned before, grasshoppers eat about half of their body weight per day so imagine the devastating effect flour can have on the grasshopper population.
One note of caution: When you use this method, make sure you are only using ordinary all-purpose flour. There are certain types of flour, such as self-rising flour, which contain salts that could ruin plants in your garden.
Place molasses glass traps throughout your garden. Dig several holes in your garden just large enough to place an entire glass jar inside, so the lip of the jar is at ground level.
Add one part molasses and 10 parts water to the jar, then mix thoroughly. The grasshoppers will be attracted to the jars because of the molasses smell but will fall in and drown.
Clean and replace the traps every few weeks as necessary.
This method may not be practical for urban gardeners, but more and more neighborhoods are allowing backyard chickens for individual households. Not only can you raise your own eggs, but you can also help reduce the pest population in your yard and garden.
Chickens, when left to free-range, will consume bugs, thus helping to reduce the insect population. Chicken waste material also makes great compost.
Watch this video by GrowOrganic Peaceful Valley about controlling grasshoppers:
Act immediately if you see grasshoppers around your precious plants. If you know better, you already know what these creatures can bring to your garden.
Just don’t be tempted to use pesticides with chemicals. Simply follow the natural ways above to keep your plants safe from these pests.
What do you think about these natural ways to repel grasshoppers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 26, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.