The Nature of Mint

I am enjoying a lovely mint plant on my window.

  • I notice that even when I spray a gentle mist on it, strong aroma is released. Is there a functional reason (plant-wise) for this behavior?

  • The plant seems much weaker than in early summer – leaves are paler green with microscopic dark dots. I give it plenty of water, sun, and plant food (sticks). Any insight?


I´d hazard the guess that the mist carries the smell better, thus you perceive a stronger aroma.

Your mist is probably hydrating the guard cells around the stomata. That’ll open the stomatal pores, and increase gas exchange, including the gas that generates that strong aroma.

This late in the year, those small dark spots are probably fungal or viral infections. That’s usually nothing to worry about as the leaves are starting to die back anyway.

The only thing I know about mint plants is that it’s impossible to get rid of them. Half my yard has been taken over by them, and they grow faster than I can pull them out. At this point it’s neck-and-neck between the insidious mint plants and the dreaded morning glory vines. They’ll both be the death of me, and then they’ll merrily take root on my grave.

Actually they’re very easy to get rid of. The last place I lived changed ownership shortly before I moved out, and the new owners promptly set about massacring the lovely fragrant spearmint plant I had been tending to in the yard. All it took was a big shears to lop off every last stem with.

I’ll never forgive that jerk, but anyway that’s how one goes about getting rid of a mint plant.

Here’s a bit more mint trivia than you asked for. North Judson, Indiana is the self-proclaimed “Mint Capital of the World.” They have a yearly festival, and they sell strong mint candy that puts Altoids to shame. The crop is grown in dark, wet “muck land.” In the fall, the mint is harvested into big specialized wagons that steam the plants on the way to the presses. The oil is pressed out, and the squished plants are returned and spread on the fields they came from. The mint aroma at that time is overwhelming. I’m told by a Judsonite that the crop comes back every year without reseeding.

North Judson reputedly has a considerable wild marijuana crop, too. I’m not at liberty to comment on that.