Huacatay / Black Mint
Huacatay Aka Black Mint
days to maturity: 60 days
plant spacing: 1 plant per square foot
sunlight requirements: 8-14 hours
look out for: spider mites
harvest notes: harvest by cutting main stem to encourage branching
Huacatay, aka Peruvian Black Mint, is a rare marigold species that is actually very common in Peru, where it is the main ingredient of a chimichurri sauce called Aji De Huacatay. The flavor of the leaf is reminiscent of mint & basil with a hint of lemon and it compliments red meats well. Huacatay leaves are also brewed as a medicinal tea to treat colds, respitory inflammations or stomach problems. On top of this easy to grow plants culinary and medicinal properties its also “nematocidal” which means it REPELS ROOT KNOT NEMATODES! Nematodes are the scourge of most South Florida gardeners and the pungent oils repel them when the plant foliage is tilled into the soil. This method is called “biofumigation” and it doesn’t mean that if you plant the plant in your garden its existence will repel nematodes. Rather, you need to grow the plant, then till it into the soil fresh. As it decomposes it acts as a biofumigant to kill any nematodes present.
Thanks to the chefs at Alter restaurant in Wynwood (who introduced us to this plant) and our chef pal Sasha (who brought seeds back for us from a trip to Peru!) we are growing and sharing this unique herb with the community this season. We love it when customers from Peru show up and are browsing our plants and exclaim “huacatay!” when they see this plant in stock, as its very special and important to the culinary culture of Peru. We encourage you to give it a try if you’re an adventurous cook. We recommend making a chimi or a green goddess style dressing with its leaves.