Horsemint Mentha longifolia

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
horse mint

ABOUT

Mentha longifolia, commonly known as horse mint or wild mint, is a species that exhibits a characteristically fresh and minty aroma which it owes to the essential oils present in its tissues. The plant sports a robust growth habit with branching stems that tend to spread. Its stems are square-shaped, which is typical for members of the mint family. The leaves of horse mint are notably elongated, with a texture that can be described as slightly wrinkled or corrugated. They carry a deep green hue, and their edges are serrated, giving them a somewhat jagged appearance along the margins. When you touch the leaves, you might notice a coarse texture, and when crushed, they release a strong, pleasant minty scent. The plant produces flowers that arrange themselves in whorls, encircling the stem at intervals. These flowers are typically lilac or purple, adding a subtle splash of color against the green backdrop of the foliage. The blossoms are petite and tubular, with a lipped shape that is appealing to various pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Overall, horse mint presents a foliage-rich presence with its long, green leaves and periodic clusters of small, violet flowers, all rising above the ground on squared stems. It creates a sensory experience not just visually but also through its distinctive minty fragrance, which can be released even by just brushing against the leaves.

Plant Info
Care
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Horse Mint, Wild Mint, English Horsemint, Long-leaf Mint, Garden Mint, Heart Mint.

    • Common names

      Mentha sylvestris, Mentha incana, Mentha spicata var. longifolia, Mentha longifolia var. asiatica, Mentha longifolia var. capensis, Mentha longifolia subsp. wissii, Mentha longifolia var. noeana, Mentha longifolia var. petiolata, Mentha longifolia var. schimperi, Mentha satureioides.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Mentha longifolia, commonly known as horse mint, is not considered toxic to humans. Typically, mint species are used in various culinary applications and have medicinal properties. As with all plants, some individuals may experience adverse reactions due to allergies or sensitivities, but horse mint does not inherently contain any known toxins that would cause poisoning when ingested by humans under normal circumstances.

    • To pets

      Mentha longifolia, or horse mint, is not generally recognized as toxic to pets. While mint plants are often non-toxic to dogs and cats, individual animals might experience mild gastrointestinal upset if they consume large quantities due to the essential oils and compounds present. Typically, ingestion of horse mint by pets does not lead to poisoning, but as a precaution, it is always wise to monitor pets around plants and discourage them from eating significant amounts.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle

      Perennials

    • Foliage type

      Deciduous

    • Color of leaves

      Green

    • Flower color

      Purple

    • Height

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Plant type

      Herb

    • Hardiness zones

      5

    • Native area

      Europe

Benefits

  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Culinary uses: Mentha longifolia, commonly known as horse mint, is often used to flavor food and beverages due to its distinctive minty taste.
    • Aromatic properties: The plant emits a strong, pleasant aroma which is valued in perfumes and scented products.
    • Insect repellent: The essential oils in horse mint can act as a natural insect repellent, helping to keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay.
    • Garden aesthetics: With its attractive foliage and tall flower spikes, horse mint can enhance the visual appeal of gardens and landscapes
    • Pollinator attraction: The flowers of Mentha longifolia attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, which are important for the health of many ecosystems.
    • Herbal teas: The leaves are commonly used to brew herbal teas, which are enjoyed for their flavor and soothing qualities.
    • Culinary garnish: Fresh or dried leaves of horse mint can be used as a garnish to add a minty flavor and decorative touch to various dishes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antimicrobial: Mentha longifolia has been reported to possess antimicrobial properties, which help in inhibiting the growth of various bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
    • Antispasmodic: The plant may offer relief from spasms in the digestive tract, reducing symptoms like stomach cramps and indigestion.
    • Carminative: It can contribute to reducing gas in the digestive system, alleviating discomfort from bloating and flatulence.
    • Antioxidant: Contains compounds that help in neutralizing free radicals, thereby potentially reducing oxidative stress in the body.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Mentha longifolia might possess anti-inflammatory effects that can help to reduce inflammation and associated pain in various conditions.
    • Analgesic: There is evidence to suggest that the plant has pain-relieving properties that could help in alleviating headaches and other types of pain.
    • Expectorant: The plant may aid in clearing mucus from the respiratory tract, thus providing relief from coughs and colds.
    • Gastroprotective: It has been suggested to have properties that protect the lining of the stomach and possibly relieve symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.
    • Antipyretic: Mentha longifolia might have the ability to reduce fever and can be used as part of treatments for bringing down high temperatures.
    • Digestive Stimulant: It might also help stimulate digestion, making the digestion process more efficient.
    Reference: "Mentha longifolia (L.) Huds. A Review of Phytochemistry and Pharmacology" published in Molecules in 2018.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Mentha longifolia, commonly known as horse mint, can be used as a natural insect repellent when its leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin; the plant's pungent oils deter many types of insects.
    • In the culinary arts, horse mint leaves can be infused in vinegar to give it a distinctive minty flavor that complements salads and other dishes.
    • Horse mint is sometimes planted as a companion plant in gardens because its strong scent can mask the smell of other plants, helping to protect them from pests.
    • The leaves of horse mint can be dried and used as a fragrant lining in drawers or cabinets, providing a natural deodorizer and moth repellent.
    • When horse mint is planted along pathways or in areas where it can be brushed against, it releases its aroma into the air, acting as a natural air freshener for outdoor spaces.
    • Farmers and gardeners may use horse mint as a cover crop to help manage soil erosion, as it is quite hardy and can establish itself quickly, spreading easily to cover bare patches of land.
    • Horse mint has been used in traditional linen closets as a way to impart a fresh scent to beddings and towels.
    • It can also serve as a natural, biodegradable potpourri when mixed with other dried flowers and spices for creating a pleasant atmosphere in the home.
    • Some pet owners use dried horse mint as a bedding additive for small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters, to help reduce odors in the pet habitat.
    • Educational gardens and outdoor classrooms might plant horse mint to help teach children about pollinators, as its flowers are good at attracting bees and butterflies.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Horse Mint is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Horse Mint is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Refreshment: As a member of the mint family, this plant is often associated with cool and refreshing sensations, symbolizing vitality and rejuvenation.
    • Healing: Historically, wild mint has been used in herbal medicine, and it often represents healing and the restoration of health.
    • Hospitality: In many cultures, offering mint is seen as a gesture of welcome and friendship, embodying the spirit of hospitality.
    • Protection: Many folk beliefs hold that mint can ward off negative energies and spirits, symbolizing protection and safety.
    • Purification: The strong scent of the wild mint is believed to purify spaces and objects, representing cleanliness and the removal of negative influences.

💧
Every 1-2 weeks
Water
☀️
2500 - 10000 Lux
Light
💦️
40%
Humidity
🪴
Every 1-2 years
Repotting
🌱️
Spring-Early Summer
Propogation
✂️️
As needed
Pruning
  • water dropWater

    Horse mint, the common name for Mentha longifolia, should be watered deeply whenever the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch. Typically, this means watering once or twice a week during active growth periods in spring and summer, depending on your local climate and weather conditions. It’s important to ensure the plant receives consistent moisture but is not left in soggy soil, as this can lead to root rot. A good method is to pour water slowly around the base of the plant, allowing it to soak into the soil, using about one gallon of water per plant for each watering session. In the dormant season (fall and winter), reduce the frequency of watering as the plant's water requirements decrease.

  • sunLight

    Horse mint prefers full sun to partial shade conditions. The ideal spot for this plant would be an area that receives at least four to six hours of direct sunlight daily. If you live in a very hot climate, providing afternoon shade can help prevent the leaves from scorching. Horse mint adapts well to a variety of light conditions but thrives with plenty of sunlight for vigorous growth and optimal oil production in the leaves.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Horse mint is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. It flourishes in temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for robust growth. The plant can survive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but extreme temperatures may stress the plant. Providing some protection from intense heat and frost can help maintain the health and vitality of the horse mint.

  • scissorsPruning

    Horse mint should be pruned to encourage bushier growth, remove dead or damaged stems, and maintain its desired size. Pruning is best done in early spring before new growth begins or after the plant has flowered in the summer to rejuvenate it. It can be pruned back by up to one-third of its height. Regular removal of old flowers, or deadheading, will promote continued blooming throughout the growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Horse mint prefers well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. A mix of garden soil, compost, and sand or perlite will ensure proper drainage and nutrients.

  • plantRepotting

    Horse mint should be repotted once every 1-2 years to prevent overcrowding and replenish nutrients in the soil.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Horse mint thrives in moderate to high humidity but is adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of humidity conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place horse mint in a bright spot and water when soil dries.

    • Outdoor

      Plant horse mint in partial shade to full sun and water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Mentha longifolia, also known as Horsemint or Wild Mint, begins with seed germination; seeds require light for germination and typically sprout in spring under favorable conditions of moisture and temperature. Following germination, the seedlings establish themselves with a set of true leaves and begin to develop a root system. The plant then enters a vegetative growth phase where stems elongate, leaves expand, and the plant forms a spreading habit through stolons, rapidly colonizing the area. Horsemint reaches maturity in its first year, at which point it can produce flowers, usually in the summer, that are arranged in whorls at the stem tips, attracting pollinators. After pollination, seeds develop and are dispersed by wind or water, or through contact with animals. Throughout its life, Horsemint can also propagate vegetatively, spreading through its rhizome system to perpetuate the cycle without seed production.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Mentha longifolia, commonly known as wild mint or horsemint, is through division. This is best performed in early spring or autumn. To propagate wild mint by division, carefully dig up an established plant and gently separate the root clump into smaller sections, each with a fair amount of roots and several shoots. These sections can be replanted directly into the garden or into pots filled with a mix of potting soil and compost. The divisions should be watered well after planting and kept moist until they establish themselves in their new locations. This method is simple and effective, as it allows the plant to recover quickly and continue growing with minimal disruption.