How To Grow Mint

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Mint is probably the easiest and best plant to grow for beginner gardeners. Mint grows and spreads all over the container very quickly by spreading its roots horizontally (called runners) underneath the ground. All it needs is bright sun, regular watering, well draining soil and frequent pruning/harvesting.

 

Grow mint only in containers, and do not plant them in a raised bed or in the ground as it will just take over your ground or raised bed and spread very easily. Never plant mint with another plant, as mint will outcompete the other plants.

 

Mint plant care is easy. Just grow your mint in a well-draining and moisture-retaining soil in full sun or partial shade, water regularly to keep the soil always moist, but never waterlogged. Prune frequently in general, and heavily when mint is dormant. Add a layer of organic compost after every harvest.

Mint General Info

 

Common Names

Mentha

Varieties

Chocolate mint, spearmint, peppermint, sweet mint

👪Family

Lamiaceae (mint family)

🌡️Temperature

55°F to 80°F (12°C to 26°C)

🌼Growing season

Spring, after the last frost date

💧Watering

Keep the soil moist always

Soil

General potting mix, 6 to 7 pH. 

☀️Light

Full sun or Partial shade

Fertilizer

Cover the soil with compost after every harvest

Propagation🌱

Seeds and cutting

Growing from Seeds

Best time to sow: March to July (Warm Climate)

 

  1. Fill a 10" container with a well-draining moisture retaining soil mix like sand + compost + perlite.
  2. Moisten the soil by adding water.
  3. Sprinkle the tiny mint seeds over the soil and try to avoid overlapping seeds.
  4. Add a ¼ inch fine layer of potting mix. Do not sow the seeds too deep.
  5. Press it down lightly, firm the potting mix with the palm of your hand to create a smooth, even surface.
  6. Mist the soil with a spray bottle to settle it. Spray the potting mix until it feels wet at a depth of 1 inch.
  7. Place the container in a partial shade where it can get morning sun from 7 am to 12pm. Keep the potting mix moist all the time while the mint seeds germinate.
  8. Seeds will germinate in 10-15 days. Some seeds will germinate after 30 to 35 days so it’s important to work patiently and keep giving the seeds the appropriate environment.

Mint Seeds Not Germinating?

If your mint seeds are not sprouting, follow this checklist:

  • Did you keep your soil moist at all times? The seeds will turn brown if they get dry and will die.
  • Has it been 3 weeks since you planted the seeds? Mint seeds can take upto 3 weeks to germinate.

Growing from Cuttings

  1. Cut a 5-6 inch long stem of the mint plant, just below a leaf node. Cut 15 to 20 such cuttings
  2. Remove any leaves at the bottom of the cutting
  3. Place the cuttings 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil (or water). If you are growing in water, prevent the stem from touching the bottom.
  4. Keep the pot in a bright location, but avoid direct sunlight for 10 days.
  5. Roots will develop and you will notice new growth in 10 to 15 days.

How to Harvest

  • Harvest mint regularly by pinching the top stems.
  • Harvesting regularly promotes more growth.
  • If you stop harvesting, the plant will stop growing and may eventually die.
  • You can harvest mint anytime you want. There is no set height or days to watch for.  However, the flavor of mint is most intense just before it starts to bloom.
  • Remove the flowers as it may fall into other pots or your ground and completely take over that area.
  • Pinch out all the yellowing leaves at the bottom.
  • You can store harvested mint leaves 
    • by freezing in ice cubes for iced tea
    • By drying the leaves for potpourri

How to water💧

Mint plants love water and you need to keep the soil always moist (not wet). Mint plants do not like the soil to go dry, so make sure to always keep the soil moist.

 

During summer, you will need to water at least once every day. In desert climates where the temperature reaches 100 degrees F or more, you may need to water more than once per day in order to keep the soil moist at all times. Make sure the excess water exits the container easily as standing water will kill the plant.

Sunlight Requirements ☀️

Mint thrives in full sun if the soil is kept moist. Mint also grows equally well in partial shade. Mint leaves will burn and become crispy if the sun is too harsh. If you live in a hot, dry, desert, arid or tropical climate, grow mint either in partial shade, or place it indoors near a south facing window. 

Temperature and Humidity🌡️

Ideal temperature for growing mint is between 55°F to 80°F (12°C to 26°C). Mint plants are slightly frost tolerant but will die in long frost conditions so bring the mint in the containers indoors. If you live in a hot, dry, desert, arid or tropical climate, cover the soil with mulch (dead leaves, coco peat, or wood chips) to keep the soil temperature cool and avoid heating of exposed soil by the sun.

 

If you live in a cold climate, mint plants will go dormant during the winter. However, if you live in a hot sub tropical climate, mint will be dormant during the summer.

Soil

In terms of soil, mint needs constant moisture to survive and grow, but at the same time the soil should be well-draining as wet soil will kill the plant. To grow mint, you can use a general purpose potting mix and add some mulch on top to retain moisture. You need to keep the soil moist at all times and mulch helps in retaining the moisture.

Fertilizer

Mint is a hardy herb and does not need much added fertilizer for its growth. If you over fertilize mint plants, they can become leggy/stringy and may also kill the plant. When adding fertilizer, make sure not to get the fertilizer on the leaves as it can burn the leaves.

 

Feed the plant with a layer of composted dry manure when new growth emerges. Fertilize once every month, throughout the growing season. 

Pruning Mint

Prune your mint as it encourages new growth that is succulent rather than woody and tough. These plump leaves will be much better in smoothies and cooking. The old leaves are less fragrant than the new ones. If your mint is not that fragrant anymore, pruning the mint plant and keeping it short will produce new more fragrant leaves. 

 

Prune frequently, at least once every 2 weeks during the growing season and prune heavily (almost down to the roots) when mint is dormant.

Pests 🐛and Diseases🦠

Do not spray your mint with pesticides or other chemicals as it is not required. Mint is a leafy crop and any residue of chemicals can be easily ingested by you or your family. The common pests on mint plants could be grasshoppers which you can just pick and throw them off. If you see any diseased leaves with fungus on them, just pluck them off. Regular pruning will help control the pests and diseases anyway.

 

Ideas of using Mint

  • Use it in water to make your water interesting
  • Put it on top of smoothies.
  • Garnish your steaks with mint.
  • Black tea with Mint
  • Mint Tea (Moroccan Tea)
  • Make a potpourri
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