Huacatay (Tagetes minuta)

Huacatay (Tagetes minuta)

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Huacatay, also known as Peruvian Black Mint, is a fast-growing highly fragrant culinary annual herb native to the Andes! It's related to marigold but has a strong anise-like scent. Crisp Huacatay leaves have an unusual, tangy flavor combination of tarragon, spearmint, basil, and citrus.

In the kitchen Huacatay has many culinary and medicinal uses. It can be used to make a herbal tea to help reduce cold symptoms or as the  main ingredient in the popular Peruvian Black mint sauce, which flavors grilled seafood and chicken dishes. We even to use it fresh in cocktails or floral mocktails!  Many South Americans also believe the tea can help reduce inflammation, treat bacterial issues, relieve stomach problems, and help with asthma. In addition to its medicinal uses, Huacatay is a common plant to be grown in cemeteries as its strong, pleasant fragrance is said to repel insects. It is also wrapped in large bunches with twine to help mask odors.

In terms of cultivation, Huacatay grows almost effortlessly and is self-propagating in its native habitats of the Americas, including the southern United States, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay.  Huacatay is most commonly grown and used in Bolivia and Peru for use as a popular culinary spice. Local names for Huacatay will vary by region, but are found in literature as ‘wakataya, chinchilla, chiquilla, chilca, zuico, suico, or the Spanish term anisillo.’

Plant Type:
Perennial, Annual Herb, depending on zone

Harvest Season: 
Leaves can generally be picked year-round in warmer regions or just before flowering in colder climates, about 5-7 weeks after planting

Mature Size: 
Up to 4 ft. tall and wide

Soil & Moisture: 
Rich, well-drained soil, good drought-tolerance

Light Requirements: 
Full Sun, Part Shade


Growth Rate: 

Zone Hardiness: 
Outdoors Perennial to Zones 9-11, Annual 4-9; Patio/Greenhouse 4+

Our Huacatey is grown from seed and is capable of harvest within growing season. 

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