Free Tea!

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

I love free stuff, and plants that don’t need my attention. Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginiana), under those guidelines, is a great plant. It gives me a pleasant minty tea any time I want all summer, and I do nothing for it. I’ve had a clump growing for years by my front door so I can step out and pick some for tea without going all the way down to my garden.

Mountain mint is a work-free plant with no pest or disease problems that I have seen.

It grows about 2 to 3 feet tall and then flops over, but that doesn’t bother me. I just give it adequate space. Unlike real mints (genus Mentha), it doesn't spread by root, but lives in a nice clump for years. The leaves are an inch or so long, and barely an eighth of an inch across. Bumblebees, butterflies and pollinators of all types love it. It will grow in full sun or in part shade. 

The blossoms are loved by pollinators. It blooms for over a month.

As a tea, mountain mint is gentle. I pick a tip of a branch an inch or two long, and pour hot water over it. It never bites, even when blooming. The flowers are small and borne in clusters. They are whitish, with a hint of pink.

This is enough for a cup of tea

It is not common in garden centers, but is available in places that sells plants as herbs, medicines or tea. I got my plant from CiderHill Gardens in Windsor, VT. 

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