Mint ‘Yerba Buena’ (Mentha spicata)

Add to My Plants (0)
Close

No account yet? Register

Plant Details

Category: Herb
Light: Sun to Part Shade
Bloom Season: Summer
Height: 12-24" / 
30-61cm
Space: 18-24" / 
46-61cm
Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Lowest Temp: -40° to -30°F / 
-40° to -34°C
Colors: Purple

Basic Care

Best in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil. Keep soil moist, watering freely in dry weather. Harvest foliage as needed. May become invasive if left unchecked.

Water

Keep well-watered.

Soil

Fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil.

Feed

Slow release feed in spring.

attracts pollinators

Attracts Pollinators

creeping plants

Creeping

Fast Growth

Fragrant

Sun Loving

Culinary

Containers

Beds

border plants

Borders

Features

Yerba buena refers to several herbs; mostly members of the mint family. These herbs have similar flavors and can all be used in the same way. Yerba Buena is especially prized for use in teas, mojitos, and other beverages. Also known as hierba buena. Plants are quite vigorous and may be planted in pots to restrict growth.

Uses

Very desirable herb garden addition also looks great in any bed, border or container. The dry leaves can be used for tea. Popular for sachets and potpourri. Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs thoroughly before eating.

Mint ‘Yerba Buena’ (Mentha spicata) Care Guide

Perennial herbs can be planted anytime from spring through fall. Plant annual herbs in the spring.

Herbs are ideal for containers. Pots can be brought indoors for the winter and placed near a sunny window for a continuous harvest year-round.

Prepare the garden by breaking up the existing soil (use a hoe, spade, or power tiller) to a depth of 12-16” (30-40cm). Add organic matter such as manure, peat moss or garden compost until the soil is loose and easy to work. Organic ingredients improve drainage, add nutrients, and encourage earthworms and other organisms that help keep soil healthy.

Check the plant label for suggested spacing and the mature height of the plant. Position plants so that taller plants are in the center or background of the landscape design and shorter plants in the foreground. To remove the plant from the container, gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.

Dig the hole up to two times larger than the root ball and deep enough that the plant will be at the same level in the ground as the soil level in the container. Grasping the plant at the top of the root ball, use your finger to lightly rake apart the lower roots apart. This is especially important if the roots are dense and have filled up the container. Set the plant in the hole.

Push the soil gently around the roots filling in empty space around the root ball. Firm the soil down around the plant by hand, tamping with the flat side of a small trowel, or even by pressing down on the soil by foot. The soil covering the planting hole should be even with the surrounding soil, or up to one inch higher than the top of the root ball. New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks to get them well established.

Finish up with a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch such as shredded bark or compost to make the garden look tidy, reduce weeds, and retain soil moisture.

Herbs are ideal for containers. Pots can be brought indoors for the winter and placed near a sunny window for a continuous harvest year-round.

Prepare the garden by breaking up the existing soil (use a hoe, spade, or power tiller) to a depth of 12-16” (30-40cm). Add organic matter such as manure, peat moss or garden compost until the soil is loose and easy to work. Organic ingredients improve drainage, add nutrients, and encourage earthworms and other organisms that help keep soil healthy.

Check the plant label for suggested spacing and the mature height of the plant. Position plants so that taller plants are in the center or background of the landscape design and shorter plants in the foreground. To remove the plant from the container, gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.

Dig the hole up to two times larger than the root ball and deep enough that the plant will be at the same level in the ground as the soil level in the container. Grasping the plant at the top of the root ball, use your finger to lightly rake apart the lower roots apart. This is especially important if the roots are dense and have filled up the container. Set the plant in the hole.

Push the soil gently around the roots filling in empty space around the root ball. Firm the soil down around the plant by hand, tamping with the flat side of a small trowel, or even by pressing down on the soil by foot. The soil covering the planting hole should be even with the surrounding soil, or up to one inch higher than the top of the root ball. New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks to get them well established.

Finish up with a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch such as shredded bark or compost to make the garden look tidy, reduce weeds, and retain soil moisture.

New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks. After that, depending on the weather and soil type, watering may be adjusted to every two or three days. Clay soils hold moisture longer than sandy soils, so expect to water more frequently in sandy settings.

Different plants have different water needs. Some plants prefer staying on the dry side, others, like to be consistently moist. Refer to the plant label to check a plant’s specific requirements.

Thoroughly soaking the ground up to 8” (20 cm) every few days is better than watering a little bit daily. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance.

To check for soil moisture, use your finger or a small trowel to dig in and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.

Plants in containers can dry out quickly, depending on the weather, and may need water more frequently than plants in the garden bed. Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.

Invest in a good, sharp hand pruner or knife for harvesting. Pinching the stems off can cause damage to the main plant.

Herbs can be harvested throughout the growing season to be used fresh, dried, or frozen. It’s best not to prune more than 50% of the foliage at one time. This keeps the plant healthy and producing new growth for continuous harvesting.

Unless you are growing an herb specifically for its flowers (such as lavender), or seed production (such as fennel), it is best to remove flower buds as they appear. This keeps the plant’s energy focused on foliage production instead of blooms and seeds.

Harvest herbs in the morning, when the plant oils are at their peak. Prepare herb cuttings for use by gently washing and drying the foliage. If planning to preserve the herbs, check foliage for insects or eggs as well. Herbs can be dried or frozen for future use. The general rule for use in cooking is: use twice as much fresh or frozen herb as compared to dried herb.

Harvest seeds when the flowers start to fade and turn brown, but before the seeds fall from the plant.

Do not prune plants after September 1st. Pruning stimulates tender new growth that will damage easily when the first frosts arrive. Once plants have died to the ground they are easy to clean up by simply cutting back to about 4” (10cm) above the ground.

Perennial herbs should be dug up and divided every 2-3 years. This stimulates healthy new growth and provides new plants to expand the garden or share with gardening friends.

Dead branches should be removed close to the trunk, flush with the bark. When pruning to control a plant’s size or shape, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts.

Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a hedge, edging or formal foundation planting.

Always use sharp, clean tools when pruning. There are many tools available depending on the job. Hand shears, pruners, and loppers are ideal for most shrubs. Pole pruners and tree saws are better for large, mature shrubs or trees. If a tree is so large that it can’t be safely pruned with a pole pruner, it is best to call in a professional tree service.

Herbs planted in the garden don’t require additional fertilizer. Apply a 1-2” (3-5cm) layer of mulch or compost annually. As mulch breaks down it supplies nutrients to the plants and improves the overall soil condition at the same time.

Herbs in containers can be fed lightly with a general purpose fertilizer at half the rate suggested on the package directions.

Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.

Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. A single application can often provide plants with the proper level of nutrition all season long.

A general-purpose fertilizer for house plants can be used for feeding cacti or succulents but it must be diluted to one quarter the strength of the normal rate.

Companion/Combination Plants

2 Comments

  1. susan schmieder

    How do you harvest? When do you harvest? What are the uses of this mint?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Susan,
      From South America to parts of western North America, “yerba buena” translates to the generic term “good herb” and can refer to any number of different plants that offer health benefits or delicious flavor. Exactly what plant is being called “yerba buena” depends on what country you are in. For example, a number of different mints are called yerba buena as well as some entirely different plant genera; such as Clinopodium douglasii, Satureja viminea, or Tagetes minuta. Since spearmint (Mentha spicata) is one of the most common yerba buena it’s the basis of the information here.

      Mint is a vigorous grower and can be harvested frequently, as you need it, although it’s a good rule-of-thumb to leave a third of the plant. Snip along the stem just above a set of leaves. When winter nears you may want to cut the plant to the ground and dry your harvest for use through the winter. The mint plant will reemerge in the spring. To learn more about different mints and how to use them see our article, All About Mint.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Find more plants for your garden or home!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!