Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) It is generally believed that Peppermint is a cross between Spearmint (Mentha spicata) and Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) and since most of the plants are sterile, it can’t be produced from seed. This traditional mint is good for teas and prefers partial shade with evenly moist (but not wet) soils. Grows 12-20″ high by 36-48″ wide. Hardy to zone 5.
Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens) This tall herbaceous perennial has fuzzy pale green foliage and needs frequent pruning to prevent it from flowering. A blend of Apple Mint and Chamomile makes a nice calming cup of herbal tea, and it is a good garnish for fruit salads. It also prefers a part sun exposure with even soil moisture. Grows 2-3′ high by 2′ wide. Hardy to zone 5.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) This native of Europe is probably best not used as a culinary herb, as it is too strong to be ingested by pregnant women. That said, it is an excellent bug repellent and can be planted anywhere ants are wreaking havoc to keep them at bay. It is an aggressive spreader, which is why it also makes a good groundcover. Grows 4-16″ high by 2′ +. Hardy to zone 6.
Kentucky Colonel Mint (Mentha x ‘Kentucky Colonel’) Although often listed as a cultivar of Spearmint, this plant is actually a hybrid of Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata). It is one of the essential ingredients for Mint Juleps and may also be used in Mojitos. The fruity taste also works in desserts and jellies. Grows 18″ high by 24″wide. Zone 5.
Chocolate Mint (Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate Mint’ [syn. ‘Chocolate’]) There is no mistaking the distinctive chocolate mint mint scent, although some say that it doesn’t translate into flavour. Chop it fresh and add to ice cream or as a garnish on hot chocolate. The bees and butterflies really love this plant when it is left to flower. Grows 12-18″ high by 24″ wide. Hardy to zone 4.