Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii)

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Project “Let’s Not Kill the Corsican Mint” is well underway and so far so good. You see, I tried to grow one in my community garden plot last year and failed. If I can manage to move from not-killing the plant to encouraging it to grow lush an over the sides of it’s pot I will be very happy indeed.

Looking back I have a few theories around that failure that I am testing on plant number two, the sequel. I was naive and a bit lazy with plant #1. I just shoved it into the part of my garden where the other mints grow and called it a day.

Done and done. Literally.

But Corsican mint (Mentha requienii) is not the same as tough as-nails mint. It is very diminutive, spreading plant — more like a moss than a mint. It has delicate roots, while regular mint can bust through all sort of barricades.

  1. Good Drainage: Corsican mint is the sort of creeping plant that grows well between paving stones. It is sometimes used as a ground cover and can take a bit of foot traffic. This leaves me with the impression that it requires very good drainage. Regular mints like good drainage too, but they are less picky. I have worked hard on the soil at my community garden and it is good. However, I lost a thyme (also requires good drainage) in that exact spot so I think the drainage may not be as good as other parts of the plot where thyme has survived. Although, wild strawberries live there now and they have overwintered and happily spread themselves about. Go figure.

    My strategy with Corsican mint #2 is to grow it in a pot in which I have added a bit of sand and grit for extra drainage.

  2. Dappled Light: Mistake number 2 was planting the Lilliputian Corsican mint (they don’t grow more than an inch tall) nearby much taller mints. Over the course of the summer, the monster mints grew and took over the space as mints are want to do. Corsican mint likes dappled light, but I do not believe it likes to be shaded out completely. I am currently keeping plant #2 on this shelf, which resides in the partial shade portion of my roof. So far it looks happy and is growing. Life on the roof is hot but it is protected in that spot and I can check on the plant daily. I only visit the community garden plot weekly or twice weekly. The most fruitful observations are made when you can check on a plant every single day.
  3. Soil Moisture: This was the one thing I did right, but without the proper drainage. Corsican mint likes to be kept moist, but not too moist. It should never dry out. In a word, it is finicky. It likes things just so. The trick is to figure out what that means exactly and keep doing it.
Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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12 thoughts on “Corsican Mint (Mentha requienii)

  1. I LOVE Corsican mint. It is not hardy in my area, but I buy it every year and plant it by the garage door. Each time I open the door it sweeps across the mint releasing its delicious aroma. Yummy.

  2. Melissa: Oh yes that is the best part about the plant and you have found the perfect way to work it to your advantage.

  3. I adore Corsican Mint, however, I am a serial Corsican Mint Killer.

    Down here’s there’s just no way I can keep it from drying out, and that’s always fatal.

  4. Easily my favourite mint! The scent, like its appearance, is light and delicious with none of the coarse overtones of some mints. Came across some by accident a few years ago and planted it with great hope, not realizing it’s not garden-hardy here.

    I’m in Toronto also – do you plan to coddle yours somehow over the winter? Maybe I’ll go back and pick some up at the garden centre across from Dufferin Grove, where I saw it for sale last week…

  5. I love this little mint. It’s spreading nicely between some pavers here. If we weren’t walking on it, I think I’d garnish some desserts with it. But, when we do walk on it, the fragrance is out of this world. Glad you’re having better luck with it.

  6. I love the Corsican too! I have it growing between alongside a rock path and it has meandered through the rocks and now is under a bench. When you sit on the bench your feet are on the mint. Smells just heavenly. I’m a little worried about it spreading too far, but it’s just so lovely I’m going to wait and see what happens. I’m in zone 5ish 6ish on the States side of Lake Erie.

  7. Bought one! From a mainstream garden shop (not a big-box).

    Funny story: the tag said Hardy Zones 7-9 (we are zone 5-whatever here – 6 max, depending on microclimates). But as I was paying, the cashier said, “there’s a 2-year guarantee on all perennials.”

    I said, “oh. Even this one?” and I showed her the zone rating.
    She said, “yes.”
    “So I could plant it in my garden, knowing it probably won’t survive the winter, and you guys will give me a free one in the spring?”

    So there we go! Guaranteed survival or a freebie mint next spring! (little bit of a weird policy on behalf of the store, though…)

  8. Jennifer in Mamaland: Interesting. I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t bother, especially since you probably have to save the receipt so wouldn’t put the store out too much.

    Cindy P: You can just pull it out if it spreads further than you’d like. This coming from someone who is still struggling to keep theirs growing. :)

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