||Vietnamese mint, Daun KeSum, Laksa Leaves, Chen Hom
Vietnamese mint comes from South East Asia.
It is clump forming water plant, growing to 1 metre tall, often very happy in boggy ground.
In the autumn, it grows small star shapped, light pink flowers, carried on short terminal spikes.
The plant will only flower if grown in warmer situations.
The leaves have a pungent lemony flavour, quite distinct from other herbs and spices.
In Malaysian cuisine, the leaves are used to flavour laksa, a spicy soup noodle dish.
When you get your plants, plant immediately in a 10cm container of outdoor potting mix.
Place in a semi-shaded spot and water well.
Place the pot inside a deep saucer.
Top up the water in the saucer to keep the mix wet.
After two weeks, gradually introduce to more light then, plant into the garden.
If you are starting this plant in the colder months and there is frost, you will need to over winter in pots and plant out in the Spring.
Full sun or part shade is best.
Any soil will do as long as plenty of moisture is supplied.
It will even grow in very shallow water.
Feed once a year in the Spring with a high nitrogen fertiliser.
Cut back hard in the Autumn, after the pink flowers fade.
It will not flower if grown in colder areas.
Also, it may be killed by the frost.
If you live in an area that gets frosts, it pays to site this plant where it will get some Winter protection.
As an insurance, cut a few stalks and put in a jar of water to over-winter indoors.
If the outdoor plant does not survive the Winter, replant using the stored cuttings.
Replant the clump every 3-4 years, as after that the heart will start to loose its vigour and produce smaller leaved stems.
Like all mints, this quick growing plant will gradually spread, although it is not as invasive as common mint.