Vietnamese Mint or Persicaria odorata

Poyntzfield garden beds on Black Isle

It certainly looks as though summer and with it, the growing season has arrived, albeit with a bit of rain interspersing the bright sunshiny days.

I am right chuffed with the success of my Vietnamese Mint cuttings. In September last year after searching all over this island for a specimen of Persicaria odorata, I was fortunate enough to contact the Poyntzfield herb nursery on the Black Isle up in the Highlands of Scotland.

Duncan Ross sent me a little plant that I coddled and nursed in my study all through the winter and into this spring. I was used to growing this herb in the sub tropics of New South Wales where it went wild in its own little bed. It is a pretty leggy plant and as the limbs fall down on the soil the leaf joints send out roots so there was always a profusion of healthy plants and plantlets in my garden.

Very healthy Laksa leaves

I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to nurture it here through a coldish winter that I looked at it daily, watered it sparingly and kept it as warm as I could. Well, come spring and the little plant just took off! Up went several leggy limbs with healthy leaves and I started to relax.

Duncan’s original Persicaria now embiggened!

But not that relaxed that I didn’t think that I might need some back up plants just in case. I used some fine sand mixed with potting mix and a bit of compost and made up four pots, watered and ready with a small hole made by a chopstick in the middle of each pot.

I snipped off four pieces with end leaf tips and to about the third jointed leaf segment. They are quite distinctive as you can see from the photo. I cut the leaves in half to reduce any moisture loss, wet the cut ends and dipped them into some rooting powder. Popped each one into its pot and firmed the soil around the stem. No more water but I covered each pot with its own light plastic bag.

It is now about eight or nine weeks and the plantlets look superb as the photo shows. I took the plastic bags off two weeks ago and relocated all five pots to my new summerhouse which is ideal for plant life. I will still have to bring them into the study over winter though. They won’t survive in the outdoors or a unheated summerhouse.

Cutting success!

I have a friend to whom I will give one of the plants – she likes the herb as much as I do, I think. One simply cannot make a Prawn Laksa without Vitenamese mint. It is variously called Laksa leaf, Vietnamese coriander, Cambodian mint and has other names in other languages. I have always known it as daun laksa from early days in Singapore.

It has a distinctive taste and is a worthwhile addition to any herb garden and used as a leaf in salads, soups and stews. It is terrific with chicken and with fish. It goes well with all asian food and likes a bit of chilli as well.

In the meantime, various tomato seedlings and capsicums with dwarf cucumbers, golden courgette and butternut pumpkin seedlings are thriving in the summerhouse. All my asian vege seeds are up and the coriander is healthy.

This was a very good idea. I can sit inside or on the deck! Bonus

The peas are starting to look for their support and the strawberries will need protection from the birds soon.

The strawberries are weed free

 

 

So I am as happy as the proverbial pig in ….. The ground elder has had a bit of a reprieve for a few days but my onslaught is about re-commence!!

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4 responses to “Vietnamese Mint or Persicaria odorata

  1. I forgot to say that Persicaria odorata is classed as part of the smart weed family. It is some BIG family!! I should also add that my years spent in countries in the Pacific Basin have coloured my predilection for hot, spicy foods and asian vegetables, herbs and spices. Scotland has to get used to me not the other way round:-)

  2. Anima – I have never seen it seed. It grows as a vine like plant and spreads. I have never seen it flower either. I suggest you look for a garden centre or herb farm that has it growing and buy an established plant. It will put out roots from the leaf nodes that you can use to grow other plants

    It likes a warm, tropical or sub-tropical climate, plenty of water, no fertiliser and will grow easily. Good luck.

  3. Pingback: Polygonum persicaria | Find Me A Cure

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