How to Grow Habek Mint
Habek Mint aka Bible Mint hales from the Middle East it is believed by some to be the mint plant referred to in several Biblical passages Matthew 23:23 and Luke Luke 11:42.
Perennial in suitable zones
USDA zones 5 to 11. In zones 3 to 6 it is best grown as an annual or potted and transported indoors in Winter.
Soil pH 6.0 to 7.0
Full Sun or Partial Shade
Not Frost Tolerant
Not Drought Tolerant
Soil: Will grow in just about any soil that retains moisture, even clay type soils.
Space Seedlings 14 to 18 inches apart
Mature height: 1.5 to 2 feet
Its Latin name is longifolia [Mentha longifolia] in recognition of its long slender foliage. In addition to being long and slender as opposed to most other mint leaves, which tend to be tear drop shaped. Habek mint leaves are a tad fuzzy, like a peach.
Habek Mint is a hardy perennial, sometimes grown as an annual in less than suitable regions. It flowers are a pale purple sometimes described as lilac or lavender colored and appear on its elongated spikes in early to mid summer. The plant has a strong camphor aroma reminiscent of eucalyptus or even commercial vapor rubs such as ben gay or vicks.
Starting Habek Mint Plants
Although mint is best started via cuttings or divisions this particular cultivar appears to be easier than others to start from seed. Germination is relatively quick. A drawback to starting from seed however is that Mint is notorious for
hybridization, so there is no guarantee that the seed you plant will produce true, you could end up with an undesirable poor quality hybrid.
Root divisions are best, if you have access to a plant from which to take some. Any fragment from any section of the root is a candidate to produce a new plant. Larger root divisions can be planted directly into the soil in the appropriate zones.
Habek mint is neither drought or frost tolerant and fades rapidly in temperature fluctuations and should be kept well watered. It will grow in full sun, however if you live in a hot region partial shade is best. It is also not drought tolerant so should be kept well watered. It will survive some dry spells, but not too often.
Mint varieties when grown close to one another have a tendency to cross pollinate. This end result is usually undesirable so it is advisable to keep various mint varieties a safe distance from one another.
A good companion plant for any Brassica plants such as Cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, Chinese cabbage. Will also work well as a border for garden areas prone to attack by deer and wild herbivores. Repels some insects such as cabbage moths, aphids ,flea beetles. Keep it away from Chamomile as this plant inhibits the mints ability to produce the essential oils that create the menthol flavor and aroma.
Mint is invasive and will spread prolifically if left unchecked. Keep the plants in check by harvesting the tips on a regular basis and removing renegade runners. Small flowers bloom from June to September, you should trim these before the buds open to keep the plant compact and manageable.
Another method of controlling mint plant is using bottomless containers 12 - 15 inches in depth and sunk in the ground with one or two inches protruding above the soil surface. Another is to plant them above ground in containers.
Fertilizer is not necessary so long as the soil is reasonably fertile. If your soil is abysmal Modest amounts of fertilizer can't hurt. Fertilize in early Spring and then every fifth week thereafter with a balanced fertilizer. No more than 3 X per season and in Modest amounts.
A layer of mulch in the Autumn will help protect them in their winter dormancy.
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