Plants that smell like mint are ones that would produce the same aromatic, sweet-smelling scent as mint plants and are widely used for their flavor and medicinal properties. Although they do actually belong to the same mint family, they are propagated differently and grow in peculiar locations.
If you are looking for a plant that’s similar to mint to cultivate in your backyard, this article will introduce you to some alternatives.
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List of Plants That Smell Like Mint
1. Peppermint Geranium
Peppermint geranium or Pelargonium tomentosum is an evergreen natural plant that produces aromatic flavors. 80 percent of the geranium genus is grown in South Africa, while the remaining 20 percent is grown in Australia and some areas in Madagascar.
Native to mountainous habitats where it leverages the moist sandy soil, this low-growing shrub disperses extensively in all directions and has small white flowers as it begins to bloom in the spring season. The leaves are heart-shaped with a fur-like texture that are smooth.
– Growth Conditions
Peppermint geranium grows best in full sun and well-drained soils. The plant suits all soil types, provided they are not overly wet, as it may damage the roots.
Moreover, it is also drought and heat-tolerant plant which would survive in these notorious conditions. Some species benefit from some shade and slightly wet conditions. Peppermint geraniums hate being damp, so you should water them occasionally.
Peppermint geraniums grow well in pots and containers too where they can show their climbing abilities. In cold weather, you can take the plants indoors. However, remember that they aren’t frost-tolerant, so some plants may die down but will be back up in spring. You can propagate by the tip or stem cuttings in spring.
Peppermint geranium is used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The leaves may be used for herbal teas and to sweeten cakes. For medicinal purposes, the plant is used for preparing poultices for sprains. It is also used to treat digestive ailments, ulcers, and sore throats through the health properties that this mint smelling plant has.
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, is similar to mint plants. It might not be as prominent as other herbs, but it is a good plant to cultivate in your backyard.
It is recognized for its full leaves and small-shaped white flowers that produce a lemon flavor. Also note that this is a perennial plant as it is a member of the mint family, which explains why it smells like mint to begin with. Many people confuse lemon balm with peppermint, but it is different. Like apple mints, lemon balm can be invasive if you don’t prune regularly.
– Growth Conditions
Cultivating lemon balm is straightforward. The plant grows almost anywhere but blossoms best in rich, moisture-free soils. Lemon balm flourishes in full sun, but can also grow in part shade.
It’s best to avoid adding fertilizer to the plant to avoid reducing the power of the scent, because it will grow and thrive on its own pace. Furthermore, lemon balm can be propagated via its seeds or cuttings, as a result, when it is established, the leaves would start to spread, which means you may regularly prune as it is required to control the spread.
You can also grow this plant indoors if given the right conditions. Like mint, lemon balm grows impeccably in containers.
However, it spreads rapidly, so use a large container to accommodate the plant, make sure that you water regularly, and it is also very important to ensure that the plant receives at least five hours of sunlight daily. With containers, you can easily move the plant outdoors in warmer months to enjoy the scent.
Lemon balm leaves can be used for several things. They serve like an insect repellent through the smell that they would release in your garden, as they would repel the rest of the pests on other plants as well. Lastly, you can use the leaves to prepare essential oils and body lotions.
3. Australian Alpine Mint Bush
Australian alpine mint bush or Prostanthera cuneata is an evergreen plant that grows in cooler areas with a compact habitat. It is endemic to sub-alpine sites like Southern Australia, precisely New South Wales, and Victoria.
Known for its small, bushy structure with dark green leaves and white flowers, this plant is the wild version of mint. The leaves of the Australian alpine mint bush produce a strong aromatic smell.
The plant is a member of the Lamiaceae family, which has more than 20 genera in Australia. It blooms in winter but is planted in summer. In late spring, the white flowers cover the entire plant and become attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies through both, the flowers that they produce in addition to the smell that they fill the atmosphere with.
– Growth Conditions
Australian alpine mint bush blossoms in partial shade to full sun. Well-drained soils with an alkaline pH are great for growing this shrub. It is suited to all soil types, whether clay, loamy, or sandy.
Also note that this plant is a drought-tolerant one that would also resistant against aphids and snails, making it a good candidate for growing in USDA zones 7 to 9.
When you are planting it, remember that during the initial stages of growth, it needs regular watering; however, once established, it only requires occasional watering. The plant doesn’t have a very long lifespan but can stay beautiful in your backyard for about a decade.
Since it’s a cover plant, the leaves spread massively, so pruning is required, but be careful and try not to over-prune the leaves, because it would become stressed if you do so.
Unlike some plants here, the Australian alpine mint bush is not edible, the leaves, on the other hand, are used for medicinal purposes. They are crushed and used to treat flu and headaches via inhalation due to its medical property. In addition, the leaves have antifungal properties, which help to treat some skin diseases when rubbed.
4. Mint Rose Geranium
Mint rose geranium is known as scented mint because of its rose flavor. This evergreen perennial shrub belongs to the Pelargonium family, even though it is called geranium. The rose variety is the most common besides chocolate mint and peppermint geraniums.
This plant doesn’t grow as tall or vast as other geranium plants, barely growing past 40 inches tall. However, it can form some shade in your landscape.
The flower is pink, while the furry leaves produce an aromatic rose scent. The hardy plant is drought and frost-tolerant and easy to grow. Mint rose geranium needs sufficient sun to blossom.
– Growth Conditions
As mentioned, mint rose geranium is an easy-to-grow perennial shrub. It prefers well-drained soils with an alkaline pH in full sun. In hot climates, you may grow the plant in the afternoon shade, on the other hand, during a cold climate, it needs good ventilation and mid-day shade.
The plant is propagated via cuttings or seeds, ideally. If propagated via cuttings, it is best to do that in spring or late summer. You may use secateurs to cut the stem at an angle of four inches long.
Plant it in the soil while it is moist to allow the roots to grow. Then transplant once the roots have been established. Propagation via seed works best in late winter to early spring.
However, note that the plant is drought-tolerant and relatively easy to maintain. It doesn’t require to be fed regularly, so adding liquid fertilizer occasionally will suffice. Trim the leaves once they have overgrown.
This plant is one that is susceptible to spider mites, edema, and mealybugs, so spraying fungicides to control spread is necessary.
Besides being grown for its minty smell, mint rose geranium can be used to add a rose and a little mint flavor to any dish.
In addition, it can be used to flavor some soft drinks and infused with herbs like lemon balm for herbal teas. Once you have used it to flavor food, remove it before serving. The leaves aren’t edible, and you could suffer food poisoning if eaten.
If you want to enjoy the scent of lavender-blue flowers in your backyard, catmint is a fantastic option. This aromatic herb also produces white flowers, depending on the variety. It is one of the best mint plant alternatives to grow in your landscape, not just because of its wonderful scent but because of its various uses.
– Growth Conditions
Catmint is pretty easy to grow. It prefers full sun but can also be grown in partial shade with well-drained soil. Since it is drought-tolerant, you can grow them in dry gardens. Catmint is mostly grown via seed or division.
This mint is one that requires low maintenance in order to thrive. All you need to do is water the plant regularly until they become established and mulch to retain moisture.
Once the plant is a few inches tall, pinch them to foster bushier growth. It is necessary to deadhead spent blooms to enhance flowering. Once the flowers bloom, harvest the leaves and cut the flowers.
It attracts pollinators like bees, and you would see them all around as they are attracted to the smell and the nectar of this plant.
The seeds are planted in spring and need plenty of space; however, note that if overcrowded, the plants will be exposed to powdery mildew, especially in humid climates. You may also grow catmint in containers, but you must be cautious of aggressive growers, as a result the plant blooms in summer and fall.
Catmint is used for culinary and herbal purposes. It can be used to add flavor to foods. The leaves can be crushed for herbal teas and to repel insects that are around this plant and the ones near to it as well, by filling the ambiance with the smell.
Costmary, also known as Tana balsamita, is a hardy perennial plant grown for its aroma and medicinal purposes. Common in Latin America, this plant is recognized for its long furry leaves, bright green foliage, and minty flavor.
It produces small yellow or white blooms in summer. This plant dates back centuries ago when the leaf was used to mark pages of scripture and keep churchgoers awake during long sermons because of its pungent smell, as a result to why it is sometimes called a Bible plant.
– Growth Conditions
This hardy herb plant is hot and cold climate-tolerant. It grows in almost all soil types and blooms best in full sun. It grows tall and adds more beauty to a garden if cultivated behind shorter herbs like thyme or other vibrant bloomers. The plant is propagated by division only.
Once established, the costmary plant doesn’t need to be fertilized or watered regularly, it is a very low maintenance one that would easily thrive. The plant disperses by underground rhizomes but needs to be removed every two to three years to prevent the plant from becoming worn out. It blooms well under the right conditions and adequate care.
As mentioned, this plant is grown for its aroma, medicinal properties, and chemical composition. It is cultivated to repel insects around the home. You can use the leaves to flavor salads and fruit drinks. For medicinal purposes, the leaves are used as poultices to treat insect bites and minor cuts.
The gentle and minty fragrance from mint plants can keep the air cleansed and allow you to enjoy the day happily. When looking for a mint alternative to cultivate, have the following at the back of your mind;
- Besides having a refreshed atmosphere, the colorful flowers they possess add beauty to the landscape.
- Most of the plants listed need sufficient sunlight during the early stages of their growth.
- If you’re looking for plants that smell like mint plants to grow in your backyard, any of the above-listed plants is perfect.
- Since they spread rapidly, you should grow them in large containers and trim them often to control the spread.
- You can plant them in your garden because they are beneficial to the surrounding plants, as they would repel the pests all around them.
Although there are varieties of this mint plant, they belong to the same Mentha genus. They are perfect alternatives to mint plants, so why don’t you go ahead and grow one in your backyard today?
- Mary H. Dyer. (08/10/21). Costmary Growing: Caring For Costmary Plants In Gardens. Gardening Know How.
Retrieved from https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/costmary/costmary-plants-in-gardens.htm
- Alpine Mint Bush. One Green World.
Retrieved from https://onegreenworld.com/product/alpine-mint-bush/
- Charles Eric. Plants That Smell Like Mint – Example, Types, Appearances And Pictures!. Smooth Yard.
Retrieved from https://smoothyard.com/plants-that-smell-like-mint/