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Spearmint vs Peppermint: What’s the Difference?

Are you wondering about the differences of spearmint vs peppermint?

Did you know that in spite of them being both mints, they are still different from each other?

Get to know more information about these two mint plants by reading the information below.

difference between peppermint and spearmint

Spearmint VS Peppermint

For people who don’t know, spearmint and peppermint have a lot of differences, from the flower, the leaves, and even their flavors.

They were known to have values for the effects that their oils have, but each of them is used differently.

Both of them maybe from the mint family (Lamiaceae), but they are from different species. Spearmint is the species of spicata, while peppermint is of the species of Piperita.

Different between Spearmint and Peppermint

Let's dive deeper into each plant.


Spearmint 

Spearmint is a aromatic herb that is often touted for its medicinal uses, as well as culinary and cosmetic! Spearmint can be used to aid in the digestive process as well as improve memory function. 

The leaves of spearmint are bright green and pointed and the plant grows a lovely lavender flower. The plant can reach up to 24 inches high and wide in ideal conditions.

Spearmint's Flavouring Uses

How to Grow Spearmint at Home

Growing spearmint is quite easy! It is hardy perennial that will come back every year. It is fairly low-maintenance, mostly needing regular trimming. Air dry the trimmings and store in an airtight container for use later. 

Spearmint likes the sun, but be careful when planting spearmint in direct sun if you live in an area with a very hot climate. 

Direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day could cause damage to the leaves. While it is easier to grow from a plant, you can grow it from seed. 

It is quite difficult to grow spearmint from seed, however, if you wish to begin with seed, be sure to wait until the ground warms up and then once the seeds are planted, keep them moist until they have germinated. 

Planting Spearmint

Spearmint plants like rich soil with a pH level of 6.5 to 7, though there is a little wiggle room. It grows very quickly and can take over your garden. There are a couple of ways to combat this: one is to plant them in a pot or hanging basket and the other is to plant them inside a container within your garden bed.

If you choose to do this, use a 5 gallon pot and cut out the bottom before digging out the space in your garden bed. Both options will help keep the spearmint plan from running amok! 

Caring for spearmint is also quite easy. If you plant it in a garden bed, be sure to put in new mulch every year. If you plant it in a container, use a liquid fertilizer each month during the growing season. 

You will need to divide the plants every couple of years to allow them room to grow and stay healthy. Potted plants will need to be pruned. Bring in potted plants during the winter if your area gets very cold. 

Spearmint even grow under artificial light and in grow tents

Spearmint Pests and Diseases


Even low-maintenance plants can have diseases or pests. Following we take a look at the very few that mint plants have at times. 

Twospotted Spider Mites

Twospotted spider mites are insects that lay their eggs on the underside of mint leaves. They will then attack the plant as will their offspring. Avoid planting mint in areas that are dry and dusty. 

If your plant shows signs of spider mites, make a neem oil spray and soak the plant and soil with it. You can use it proactively as well before the mites become a problem. 

Rust 

Is a fungal infection that causes mint plants to have brown or black spots on the leaves. The only treatment for rust is to completely destroy the plants and replace them.

Avoid getting the leaves and stems wet by watering only at the base of the plant. Fortunately, this is typically an issue that only occurs with indoor planting. Make sure the room you keep mint plants in is well-aerated. 

Verticillium Wilt

Is another fungal infection that is caused by too much moisture and will cause the plant to wilt and then die. Again, this issue is usually only present with plants that are kept indoors. Water only at the soil level and keep in an aerated room. 

Peppermint Flowers and Leaves vs spearmint leaves and flowers

Peppermint

Peppermint was created from watermint and spearmint in 1750.

Since that time, peppermint has become widely popular for its medicinal uses, rich flavoring and pleasant fragrance.

Peppermint is often use to aid in digestion and for colds. Peppermint oil is often rubbed on a person's temples for headache relief.

There are actually two types of peppermint, black and white. The black peppermint has a stronger flavor and higher oil content than white peppermint.

Also, black peppermint is a deep purple-green while white peppermint is a light green.

How to Grow Peppermint at Home

Planting peppermint isn't difficult, but there are a few things you need to know. Peppermint does need a lot of moisture and it prefers full sun.

It also needs to be completely relocated every three to four years. While peppermint isn't quite as invasive as spearmint and some other mint species, planting it in a pot or in a bed with some edging is a good idea. 

Benefits of Mint Plants

As with many plants, there is more benefit to growing spearmint and peppermint than just for the way they look in your garden. Plants offer several benefits for culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes. 

Benefits of Spearmint

Natural Filter

Spearmint, when growing in an outdoor garden, can attract insects that work to pollinate other plants. Pollination is an important aspect of any garden. 

Conversely, it can also drive away other insects that you don’t want around, like ants and flies. 

Spearmint Fragrance

Add some spearmint to household cleaners to release a fresh fragrance in your home while cleaning. 

Spearmint also makes a great breath freshener, yes, the leaves themselves!

Flavoring

Spearmint is used in many recipes, particularly with goat, lamb, and some fruit. It is also used in some cocktails, such as a mojito or mint julep. 

Medicinal

Spearmint is very useful for several medicinal qualities, such as stress relief, digestion, and heart health. 


Benefits of Peppermint

Use of peppermint fresh and dried
Fragrance

Similarly to spearmint, the fragrance of peppermint is very pleasing and can have both invigorating and calming effects. 

Pest Deterrent

Many household pests, such as mice and ants, have the smell of peppermint and using it in your home will help repel them. 

Peppermint Flavoring

Peppermint has a wonderful flavor and is often used in many recipes and is very popular during the holidays. 

Medicinal

Peppermint also has many qualities for your health, including digestion, decongestion, and reducing blood sugar and blood pressure.

Peppermint is also great for relieving headaches, motion sickness, morning sickness, and colic. 

How To Use Fresh Spearmint and Peppermint

There are many ways to use fresh mint, which is great since it grows so abundantly! 

How to Use Spearmint

  • Chop up some fresh mint and add to greek yogurt, along with a few fresh berries. 
  • Bundle some fresh spearmint, thyme and wormwood and place in some cloth near your pet’s resting place. 
  • Make up some quick refreshing mojitos, with or without rum, by combining lime, club soda, mint and a little stevia. 
  • Fancy a protein smoothie with an interesting twist? Add some fresh mint!
  • Add spearmint to a few strawberries, along with some basil and balsamic vinaigrette. This quick combination is great on its own or as a topping for salad greens. 
  • Make up a quick Mediterranean salad with watermelon, basil, mint and a sprinkling of feta!

How to Use Peppermint

  • Rub a bit of peppermint tea on your baby’s tummy to ease colic.
  • Sprinkle some fresh leaves in the back of cabinets to deter household pests. 
  • Make a natural decongestant by adding some fresh peppermint to an inch of boiling water in a large pot. Remove the pot from heat and drape a towel over your head so that it traps the steam inside and just inhale. For troubled sinuses, add a tablespoon of epsom salt as well. 
  • Make up a DIY mouthwash with fresh peppermint. 
  • Infuse honey with fresh peppermint. 
  • Add some chopped leaves to brownie batter for a wonderful twist!
  • Chopped peppermint is a great addition to salads. 
  • Iced drinks with chopped peppermint are the perfect summer refresher. Add it to iced tea, lemonade, water and cocktails! 
Peppermint's Flavoring Uses

Spearmint Tea Benefits

Adding spearmint tea to your diet is very easy and comes with many benefits. 

It aids in digestive problems, is a great source for antioxidants, and can lower blood sugar. It is caffeine and calorie free, making it a great substitute for unhealthy sugar loaded drinks, while offering a great flavored alternative to plain water. 

Spearmint tea can also help balance hormones and reduce stress, as well as joint stiffness. 

How to Make Spearmint Tea

Ingredients

Heaping handful spearmint leaves, rinsed1 ¼ pints waterSweetener, optional

Directions

  1. Add water to a saucepan
  2. Add spearmint leaves to the saucepan and simmer in the water on low for approximately 10 minutes
  3. Pour tea infused water through a sieve into a pitcher and discard the leaves. 
  4. Add sweetener, if desired. 
  5. Allow to cool slightly and garnish with a mint sprig before serving. 


Peppermint Tea Benefits

Peppermint tea is a great way to take advantage of many of the benefits that this herb has to offer. 

Drinking peppermint tea can aid digestion and calm spasms in the digestive tract. It can also aid in relieving nausea. 

It can relieve headaches and help promote restful sleep. It can aid in weight loss as an appetite suppressant as well as boosting energy. 

Additionally, peppermint tea offers cold and flu relief by opening up nasal passages and soothing chest congestion. 

How to Make Peppermint Tea

Ingredients

Heaping handful peppermint leaves, rinsed1 ¼ pints waterSweetener, optional

Directions

  1. Add water to a saucepan
  2. Add peppermint leaves to the saucepan and simmer in the water on low for approximately 10 minutes
  3. Pour tea infused water through a sieve into a pitcher and discard the leaves. 
  4. Add sweetener, if desired. 
  5. Allow to cool slightly and garnish with a mint sprig before serving. 


My Favourite Tea

Here is a blend of spearmint and peppermint leaves making one delicious mint herbal tea. Get it on Amazon here.

Spearmint vs Peppermint Oil Benefits

Spearmint Oil Benefits

Spearmint oil offers many benefits that mint, herb, and oil enthusiasts all take advantage of, such as the following: 

Spearmint's Health Benefits

Source: https://www.organicfacts.net

  • Assists digestion process
  • Eases nausea discomfort
  • Promotes oral health
  • Clears sinuses
  • Calms spasming and restricted airways to assist respiration
  • Eases headaches


Peppermint Oil Benefits

Like spearmint, peppermint oil offers a wealth of benefits, especially for medicinal purposes. 

Peppermint's Health Benefits
  • Stress relief
  • Colic relief
  • Calms digestive spasms
  • Stimulates hair follicles
  • Promotes oral health
  • Reduces joint and muscle inflammation
  • Relieves nasal congestion
  • Increases energy
  • Suppresses appetite
  • Relieves headaches
  • Opens nasal and respiratory passages
  • Reduces nausea
  • Soothes itching
  • Reduces oil production on skin/clears acne

How To Dry Spearmint vs Peppermint Leaves - 4 ways

If you want to grow your own mint or even if you purchase some fresh from the market, knowing how to dry them is definitely a must know!

Spearmint uses fresh and dried

Uses of Spearmint

Following are a few ways you can dry mint leaves on your own so they’ll be ready to add to anything you like. 

Microwave Oven

  1. Gather as many mint leaves as you would like. 
  2. Wash them thoroughly to remove dirt. 
  3. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
  4. Remove the leave from the stem gently. 
  5. Lay on a plate in a single layer. 
  6. Microwave in 10-second intervals. 
  7. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry area.

 

Food Dehydrator

  1. Gather the mint leaves you would like to dry. 
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove dirt
  3. Pat the leaves dry with a paper towel. 
  4. Lay the leaves on a tray, or trays, that belong to the dehydrator. 
  5. Place the trays in the dehydrator and run the dehydrator on the lowest setting. 
  6. Check the leaves every five minutes until the edges begin to curl and look crispy. 


Dehumidifier

  1. Gather the mint leaves you would like to dry. 
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove the dirt. 
  3. Pat the leaves dry with a paper towel to remove excess water. 
  4. Place the leaves in a single layer on a cooling rack. 
  5. Lay the rack directly in front of the dehumidifier. 
  6. Run the dehumidifier for a day or two until the leaves are crispy.

 

Air Drying

  1. Begin by gathering as many mint leaves as you’d like to dry. Wash them as thoroughly as possible. Fresh mint leaves usually have dirt on them. 
  2. Pat them dry with paper towels. Then line a drying rack with more paper towels and lay the leaves on them. 
  3. Once the water has dried from the leaves, you’ll use cotton string to tie the leaves in small bundles. 
  4. Then you will attach the bundles to another cotton string, spacing them equally. Find a room that is well-ventilated, but with little sunlight. 
  5. Hang the string with the bundled mint leaves horizontally, it may be from one side of the room to the other. 

You may need to place a dehumidifier in the room as well. 

  1. Leave the leaves hanging up for at least one week. Test the leaves by crushing a couple between your fingers. Gently remove the leaves from the stems and lay them out on a table or counter. Ensure that all of the leaves are dry. 
  2. Keep the dried leaves in a cool, dry area out of the light in an airtight container. 

FAQ About Peppermint and Spearmint

Can you grow spearmint and peppermint together? 

Yes, you can grow them together as well as with other plants as they help to repel insects that can be harmful to other plants. 

Does spearmint need full sun? 

While spearmint loves full sun, it will thrive in partial shade as well. 

How long does it take to grow spearmint?

If planted from seed, it takes approximately 90 days to grow into a plant. 

Does spearmint come back every year?

It should! Spearmint plants will usually die back during the winter, but should come back in the spring just fine. 

Do peppermint plants come back every year? 

Peppermint plants will usually die back during the winter months, but come springtime, they should bounce back fine. 

How fast does peppermint grow? 

Peppermint will grow about 4 inches per month, covering up to two feet in about six months!

Wrapping Up Spearmint vs Peppermint

These are the differences between spearmint vs peppermint that you need, for you to know which one you need the most. Of course, you can have both, depending on your preferences.

difference between peppermint and spearmint

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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