Photo by Epibase (CC BY-SA 3.0).
Scientific Name: Agastache rugosa
Common Names: Korean Mint, Blue Licorice, Chinese Patchouli, Indian Mint, Purple Giant Hyssop
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint)
Korean mint is native to mountainous regions of Eastern Asia where it grows along the edges of creeks and in valleys.
Korean mint leaves can be chopped finely and used to flavour salads or added during the last minute of cooking to flavour stews. It can be also be grown as a microgreen to use as a flavoursome garnish. Korean mint can be used in herbal teas and has many traditional Chinese medicine uses including reliving bloating, nausea and increasing appetite. The long-lasting mauve flowers are rich in nectar and help to attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insect pollinators to the garden. Can be used as an ornamental flowering plant in cottage gardens. The flower spikes can be used in cut flower arrangements.
Korean mint is short-lived perennial growing to about 80cm tall. Korean mint requires a fertile, well-drained but moisture retaining soil to grow well with a pH range from 5.0 to 8.0. Add organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to the soil prior to planting and mulch around plants to help retain soil moisture. Korean mint doesn't grow well in clay soils. Korean mint prefers growing in a full sun or lightly shaded location, the leaves will have a stronger flavour when grown in the full sun. Korean mint is tolerant of mild frosts down to about -5 degrees Celsius. Korean mint flowers from mid-Summer through to early Autumn. Deadhead any flower spikes that have finished to promote extra blooming. Once one plant is established you can propagate more if needed by dividing the roots in Autumn or early Spring.
When To Sow
In temperate areas of Australia sow Korean mint seeds from September to January. In subtropical areas of Australia sow Korean mint seeds from August to November or in March or April. In tropical areas of Australia sow Korean mint seeds during the dry season from April to July.
How To Sow
Korean Mint seeds are tiny so broadcast sow them over the top of a punnet or small pot and cover them only very lightly with growing mix. Press down the mix gently to ensure good contact between the damp growing media and the germinating seeds, doing this will help prevent the seeds drying out between watering. Water often and gently, it's easy to accidently wash the seeds out of the pot. Divide the seedlings into individual punnet cells or pots once they are large enough to safely handle. Space Korean mint 40cm apart when planting out to give them room to grow.
Most Korean mint seeds will germinate 10 to 28 days afters sowing although sometimes it may take months if the seeds are dormant or conditions unfavourable.
Time To Harvest
Korean mint takes between 12 and 14 weeks to grow large enough to be able to start harvesting leaves, only harvest small quantities at first until plants are well established.