Growing Mints and Herbs in your Dorm

yerba buena by randomtruth
yerba buena by randomtruth

TheGardenLady received this question from Jessica.

I was wondering what you thought about Yerba buena. I discovered this plant today and love the lemony minty smell to it. I wanted to know if it’s a dorm friendly plant. I’ll be living in Mills College in Oakland, CA. I was thinking of buying a small bamboo shoot and another plant (yerba buena?). Maybe you can recommend other plants the do well in dorm rooms and has a nice fragrance (not to strong)? I also like plants that can be used for different things, like made into a tea to sooth the throat. Something like that.

Yerba buena is Spanish for good herb. Another common name is Oregon-tea. The Latin name is Satureja (savory) douglasii, sometimes called Clinopodium douglasii and is in the Lamiaceae or Mint family. The common name Yerba Buena has been applied to several species of mint, especially Spearmint (Mentha spicata), but in the West it generally refers to Sartureja douglasii.

Sartureja douglassi is native to western N. America. It grows in redwood forests and was much used by tribes in the Pacific Northwest. It needs moist, sandy, slightly acid loam and partial shade when grown outdoors. It is used as a trailing plant for the front of window boxes and hanging baskets in semi-shade. TheGardenLady has never heard of it’s being used as an indoor plant, but since most mints will grow indoors, give it a try. Just know that it is a creeping perennial that likes to spread up to 6 ft. across. So give it a big pot, put it in a window with good light but not sun and keep the soil moist. If you are lucky, you will be able to make a mild tea from the leaves.

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