What Is Pineapple Mint: How To Care For Pineapple Mint Plants


By: Jackie Carroll

Pineapple mint plants (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’) are among the most attractive varieties of mints. Use it in beverages, as an attractive garnish, in potpourris, and in any dish that calls for mint. It makes an attractive and fragrant ground cover, and also grows well in containers and hanging baskets.

The only problem with pineapple mint is that it spreads vigorously. This can be good if you want to use it as a ground cover to fill an area, but it will eventually find its way into the rest of the garden unless you install a deep edging around it. Growing pineapple mint in containers is a good way to keep this and other mints under control, but you’ll still need to take some precautions. The plant has been known to escape through the drainage holes in the bottoms of pots and even jump from pot to pot in container groupings.

What is Pineapple Mint?

Pineapple mint is a variegated cultivar of apple mint (Mentha suaveolens). It features attractive, variegated leaves, usually with white margins, on plants that grow up to a foot (30 cm.) tall. The leaves are bumpy and hairy and the white edging can make them look as though they are sporting a ruffle.

White or light pink flowers bloom on small spikes at the top of the plant in summer. The flowers attract a wide variety of pollinating insects, including bees and butterflies. Deer dislike strong fragrances and hairy leaves, so they have two reasons to dislike pineapple mint.

How to Care for Pineapple Mint

Grow pineapple mint in full sun or partial shade in rich, moist soil. Plants grown in sun tend to stand upright, while those that get afternoon shade sprawl near the ground.

Keep the soil evenly moist until the plants are well-established. Once they are growing well, you’ll only need to water them during dry spells.

The plants don’t need regular fertilization when planted in good garden soil. Older plants become woody and unattractive. Pull them up and let younger plants fill in the empty space.

Pinch out the growing tips of pineapple mint plants regularly to keep them compact and bushy. You may occasionally find solid green sprigs of mint mixed in with your pineapple mint. These are sprigs of apple mint — the parent plant of the pineapple mint cultivar. You should pinch them out as you find them because, like most variegated plants, pineapple mint isn’t as vigorous as its non-variegated parent plant, and the apple mint will soon take over.

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Mint, Pineapple

Fruity fragrance for use in mint sauces, teas, salads, and iced drinks.

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day shade means little or no direct sun.

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year perennials can live for more than two years.

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

Additional Uses Additional ways in which the product may be used in the garden.

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Video

Mint may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or planted as a potted plant.

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Sow mint seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit.
  • Sow seeds ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula.
  • Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Planting in the Garden:

  • Select a location (out of the way or in a container due to rapid spread) in full sun or part shade with good rich, evenly moist soil. Consider that mints can be vigorous spreaders and may be best grown in containers or raised beds.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
  • Set the plants 18 inches apart. Or plant in containers in a commercial potting mix.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.


Growing Pineapple Mint - Pineapple Mint Uses And Growing Conditions - garden

Variegated Pineapple Mint foliage

Variegated Pineapple Mint foliage

Pineapple mint likes full sun early and prefers afternoon shade rogue green stems and leaves should be cut off to preserve variegation great in containers and herb gardens guard against spreading by using a container in the ground

Variegated Pineapple Mint is a perennial herb that is commonly grown for its edible qualities, although it does have ornamental merits as well. The fragrant pointy green leaves with distinctive creamy white edges are usually harvested from late spring to early fall. The leaves have a minty taste.

The leaves are most often used in the following ways:

  • Fresh Eating
  • Cooking
  • Seasoning
  • Tea

Variegated Pineapple Mint features bold spikes of white flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. Its attractive fragrant pointy leaves remain green in color with distinctive creamy white edges throughout the season.

This is an herbaceous perennial herb with a spreading, ground-hugging habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition. This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration

Aside from its primary use as an edible, Variegated Pineapple Mint is sutiable for the following landscape applications

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Herb Gardens
  • Container Planting

Variegated Pineapple Mint will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity extending to 24 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 24 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant is quite ornamental as well as edible, and is as much at home in a landscape or flower garden as it is in a designated herb garden. It does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Variegated Pineapple Mint is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.


You Grow Girl

Another corner of my garden. This is fuzzy ‘Pineapple’ mint growing in a pot. I’ve resolved to grow all of my mint in pots this year. Contrary to reputation, mints behave rather well over at my community garden. The trick to keeping them under control seems to be growing them in less than ideal conditions. Plus, over there they have to fight against the wild and alpine strawberries for supreme dominance and guess who’s winning that war?

Here though, I expect mint to flourish and then some so I’m playing it safe for now. Everyone in pots!

The pretty floral design seen in the shot (above) is the top of a foot stool I found in the garbage the other night. Going out on garbage night around here is like going shopping! We’ve done well outfitting the garden with our neighbours’ discards.

The stool is red and the top is covered in this amazingly vibrant plastic mac-tac. I LOVE it! If the previous owner comes across this photo and realizes their mistake: I’m sorry but you can’t have it back.


Water

Mint plants require consistently moist soil, so if the soil feels dry, add water. The best time to water them is during the early morning. That way they have enough moisture to withstand the afternoon heat. Just make sure that you don’t overwater because they tend not to do so well in soil that is too soggy.

Fertilizer

As the new growth begins to come up in early spring, go ahead and fertilize them with a balanced all-purpose fertilizer. After that, fertilize your plants about every 4 to 6 weeks throughout the growing season. Keep in mind that if you are growing your mint in pots, they lose their nutrients quicker than those that are planted in the ground, so you may need to fertilize more frequently.


Mint Problems and Solutions

Mints are hardy, but that doesn’t mean they never have problems. There are a few pests and diseases that plague mint.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that spreads quickly and can slow down or stop plant growth. White splotches and discoloration on the leaves make it easy to spot. It can be spread by aphids and other sap-sucking insects.

The key to avoiding mildews is to have good air circulation. You can do this by keeping weeds away and spacing plants adequately. Make sure you water plants from the bottom. Drip irrigation is a good choice if you have powdery mildew in your garden.

Mint Rust

As the name implies, this rust is mint-specific. Avoid it in the same way you do powdery mildew.

Whitefly

Mint can also be sensitive to whitefly, especially if you are growing in a greenhouse or hoop house. Whiteflies are small insects that will hide under the leaves of your plants. They like a warm, humid environment so they can be particularly problematic in humid areas.

Aphids

These tiny arachnids cause leaves to wilt and stunt growth. Prune out infected plants, spray aphids off plants with water and use canola oil or neem oil spray if your infestation gets bad.

Thrips

Thrips can cause growing mint leaves to become distorted, but the real danger is that this insect spreads disease. Avoid planting next to onions and garlic, and use mulch to deter them.

Cutworms

Cutworms sever plants at the soil and eat holes in the leaves of your growing mint plants. Till your soil in the fall before planting and spread diatomaceous earth around plants to prevent.

Anthracnose

This fungal disease causes lesions on the leaves and stems of growing mint. It can spread rapidly in rainy areas. Toss any infected plants and spray them with a copper spray if it gets out of control, though be careful not to use copper too often because it can harm beneficial microbes.


Watch the video: Trio of Mint: Peppermint, Sweet Mint, and Pineapple Mint


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