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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Pronounced: MEN-tha rek-wee-EN-ee-eye
Sunset zones: 5-9, 12-24.
USDA zones: 7-9.
Tiny, light purple flowers.
Small, round, ¼-inch wide, bright green leaves.
Sun or partial shade.
Moist, well-drained soil.
Divide in spring or autumn.
Rainy Side Notes
"Powerfully fragrant microscopic mint, useful for carpeting dampish places," wrote author, Louise Beebe Wilder about the tiny Corsican mint. The diminutive mint has long been used as flavoring for crème de menthe liqueur. The best part of this plant is the minty fragrance, released when you step on it. Some say it has the scent of pennyroyal. On a warm summer day, sitting in the shade is cooling, but placing your bare feet and wiggling your toes over the tiny, cool-to-the-touch mint while breathing in the released fragrance is both cooling and as refreshing as the liqueur made from it and poured on the rocks.
Sunset Western Gardening rates this herb for Sunset zone 5 or above, but it weathered over in my old gardens in Sunset zone 4. During cold winters, it dies back, yet resprouts when the weather warms in spring. The tiny plant does reseed itself, but I have not found it to be a troublesome pest. In full sun conditions, it needs copious amounts of water. In shaded areas, it will still need watering but not as much as its counterpart in full sun. During a mild winter, or if the tiny mint grows in a protected area, it can remain evergreen. For the most part though, it is deciduous. Mentha requienii looks great between pavers and stepping-stones, and is one of my favorite herbs to use. If you are looking for a short ground cover, similar to Corsican mint that is drought tolerant, Thymus 'Elfin' is a good substitute. It takes full sun conditions, with the added bonus of evergreen foliage.
Photographed in author's garden.