Basil Mint is a hardy perennial growing to 45-60 cm in height. It has an upright growth habit, with an undefined width up to 1 meter, due to the spreading nature of this plant. The narrow, toothed leaves are bright green with a red tinge and extend from the red toned stems. It has pale purple flowers over summer.
The scent is quite unique, a sweet and spicy mint fragrance somewhat reminiscent of aromas associated with Italian cooking. In keeping with this Italian link, the Basil Mint may also be called ‘Bastardo’. Basil Mint has the botanical name Mentha X piperita f. citrata ‘Basil’ and is one of several varieties including Chocolate Mint to come from this parent hybrid.
Basil Mint is easy to grow, very disease resistant and heavy yielding, so it should do well in most regions. It is a viable choice for people who find Basil hard to grow. It prefers part shade to full sun, most soils and has moderate water requirements. As the plant ages the stems may become woody. These may be removed with pruning, encouraging new growth. This is a very strong growing variety of mint, so container growing is recommended to reduce the opportunity for it to spread too far.
Basil Mint has a variety of uses, raw in salads or cooked in many dishes. However, it does very well when combined with tomato dishes and pasta. Since the flavour is not strong, the leaves should be added at the end of the cooking period.
Medicinal uses for Basil Mint are similar to other mints, but this is not the primary reason for growing many of the alternative culinary mints. It may be used to make a tea that will help as a digestive aid, used as a treatment for headaches and fevers, throat gargles and as an insect repellent. Like other mints Basil Mint will have antiseptic properties.
Rubbing Basil Mint on the skin may provide a useful insect repellent. It may also be a good companion plant for vegetables due to its insect repelling nature.