Mints are aromatic perennial herbs with quadrangular stem and bearing leaves with essential oil present in glands located in the subcuticular region. Among the various types of mints, only Japanese mint is cultivated in the tropics or subtropics with a cooler climate.
Mints are a group of plants belonging to the family Labiatae (Lamiaceae) and the genus Mentha.
Four major mints recognised in this genus.
Mentha arvensis L - Japanese mint
Mentha piperita L - Pepper mint
Mentha spicata L. - Spear mint
Mentha citrata Ehrh. - Bergamot mint or Lemon mint
- Japanese Mints grow well over a wide range of climatic conditions.
- Adequate and regular rainfall during the growing period and good sunshine during harvesting are ideal for its cultivation.
- Medium deep soil rich in humus is best suited for the cultivation of Japanese mint.
- The soil should have a pH range of 6 -7.5 with good water holding capacity but waterlogging is detrimental.
- Japanese mint is propagated through stolons.
- Seed rate is 400 kg/ha. A hectare of well-established mint provides enough planting materials for 10 hectares.
- Stolon’s are planted either on flat land or ridges.
Harvesting & Yield
- Japanese mint is first harvested after about 4 months of planting when the lower leaves start turning yellow.
- Subsequently two more harvests can be taken generally at an interval of 80 days.
- The fresh herb yield ranges from 25 to 50 Mt/Ha tons and around 250 Kg of Oil is obtained in 3 cuttings annually.
- The fresh herbage at harvesting stage contains 0.5 to 0.68% of oil and is ready for distillation after wilting for 6-10 hrs.
- The crop is cut 10cm above the ground by means of a sickle on bright sunny days, since harvesting on cloudy or rainy days decrease the menthol content in the oil.