How to Grow and Care for Corsican Mint

Glossy green rounded leaves with tiny pink five petalled flowers
Corsican mint has glossy round leaves and pink flowers in summer.

Meighan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Unlike most varieties of mint, which grow aggressively and often invasively, Corsican mint is somewhat challenging to grow. It is a low-growing herb, with tiny rounded glossy green leaves on very short stems, barely growing more than a quarter of an inch tall. In the right growing conditions, Corsican mint can be an effective, attractive ground cover. It can also be grown in containers with other herbs or flowers. Native to Corsica , Montecristo, and Sardinia, it has also been naturalized in other parts of Europe, including Portugal and the British Isles.

Corsican mint, also known as Mentha requienii, is perennial in warmer zones, from 7 to 11. It bears very tiny pale purple flowers in summer, somewhat similar in appearance to creeping thyme. Also like creeping thyme, the tiny leaves of this herb make it suitable for growing around stepping stones or walkways where it provides a fresh burst of scent when stepped on. Unlike creeping thyme, which likes full sun, Corsican mint thrives in shady spots. In addition to having a strong mint fragrance, Corsican mint is known to have a strong mint flavor and has traditionally been used to make creme de menthe, a bright green liqueur. It also has traditional medicinal uses for indigestion and as an antiseptic.

The strong scent of Corsican mint makes it a useful companion plant for brassicas, as it repels pests that like to munch on cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower. The smell of mint can also be a deterrent to rodents and planting it near entrances or in containers in the garden can help deter mice and other pests.

In the United States, Corsican mint is considered an invasive species in the southeast where it has naturalized as a perennial. Most gardeners are familiar with the aggressive, invasive qualities of mint plants, but Corsican mint has proved itself to be enough of a nuisance that its cultivation is prohibited in some areas.

Botanical Name Mentha requienii
Common Name Corsican mint 
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size  1/4 in. tall
Sun Exposure  Full sun to part shade
Soil Type  Well-drained 
Soil pH  5.6 to 7.0 (acidic to neutral)
Bloom Time  June through August 
Flower Color  Light purple 
Hardiness Zones  7 to 11 (USDA) 
Native Areas  Sardinia, Corsica, Italy, France
Toxicity  Toxic to dogs in large amounts 
Variegated grass next to tiny green groundcover with black mulch
Corsican mint is a fast-growing, fragrant, low ground cover

Megan Hansen / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Coriscan Mint Care

Corsican mint needs a bit more effort and care than most garden varieties of mint, which are so low care they can become invasive with very little effort. Corsican mint is a good choice for those who like a strongly scented and flavored mint for culinary use. To help control spread grow this, and other mints, in containers. A pot on the patio or outside the kitchen door is also handy for the chef. If you are looking to cover a bare spot in the landscape or an area difficult to maintain such as a slope or bank, go ahead and plant in the ground but keep a close eye on continued spread.

Invasive Species

Corsican mint is classified as an invasive species in the southeastern part of the United States. Consult with your local extension office to determine if you can plant Corsican mint in your garden.

Light

This mint adapts to a range of light conditions, from full sun to partial shade. Partial shade may prove to be a better location where summers are hotter.

Soil

Corsican mint grows best in well-drained soil, with some organic matter to hold moisture. It also tolerates acidic soil.

Water

Corsican mint needs ample moisture to thrive, but too much water will lead to root rot. It does require regular watering, however, and is not very drought tolerant, so maintaining this balance can be somewhat tricky. The best approach to seasonal watering is to let the soil surface of the planting area dry out before watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Corsican mint is fairly sensitive to temperature and will only naturalize within the narrow growing zone range of 7 to 11 in the United States. It likes consistent but not constant moisture, and if it gets too wet its leaves may turn into a black and slimy unsightly mess.

Is Corsican Mint Toxic?

This edible culinary plant is generally non-toxic to humans and animals. However, if a dog ingests large quantities of mint, including Corsican mint, it can cause gastrointestinal distress.

Symptoms of Poisoning

If your dog exhibits symptoms of weakness, vomiting or diarrhea after ingesting this plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Propagating

The easiest way to propagate Corsican mint is by division. In a suitable climate, it will self-seed and continue to spread, and can become invasive. Once established, you can easily divide the plants to share or plant elsewhere.

How to Grow Corsican Mint from Seed

If you can obtain seeds, Corsican mint can be planted indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. If sowing seeds outdoors, soil should have reached a consistent temperature of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Press seeds lightly into the soil surface and mist lightly with water. They should germinate in 7 to 14 days.

Overwintering

This plant is not really suitable for overwintering outdoors if your growing zone is below 7. But you can grow it indoors in containers in the winter time. Give it plenty of indirect light near a sunny window.