How To Grow Mint

There are several mint species, all of which have opposing leaves and square stems, which make them easy to distinguish from one other based on their fresh and spicy scents and their hardiness.

For the mint plant to expand as much as possible, it develops roots where the stems meet the earth. Bees and other pollinators are drawn to its tiny white or purple summer-flowering blooms. Mint plants are fast-growing and should be planted in the spring after the fear of frost has gone.

Methods For Growing Mint

Keep mint away from your usual garden beds since it is an aggressive spreader and will eat nutrients from other plants in the bed. As a precaution against it expanding out of control, planting mint in a container is a good idea. The mint’s fragrant perfume is released when the leaves are crushed when it is planted in walkway cracks and between rocky regions in heavy traffic locations.

When You Should Plant

In the spring, once the fear of frost has gone, plant mint outside. Rainfall in the spring can help mints grow better.

Choosing A Planting Location

Area mint in a place where it may grow without causing any harm. Mint grows best in wet, well-draining soil, but it may also thrive in full sun or partial shade, depending on the variety. Compost enriches the soil, which the plant prefers.

Spacing, Depth, And Support

Outdoors, put cuttings or tiny bought plants 18 inches to 2 feet apart. Due to how fast it grows, two plants should be enough to cover a few feet of land. When planting mint, be sure to just dig as deep as is necessary to gently lay the plant and disseminate its roots.

Keep mint under check by cutting it back so it doesn’t get out of hand and spread to other locations. An 18-24 inch thick edging around the area where you plant mint may help keep it from spreading, as can a container for it.

Mint Plant Care

Light

Mint plants like partial shade, but they may thrive in full sun if watered regularly. Protecting them from the hot afternoon sun is still preferable. It is possible to grow mint in shaded areas, but the plant may get leggy and produce fewer and less tasty leaves.

Soil

Mint may grow in a wide range of soil types, although it favors a rich, slightly acidic to neutral pH soil. The importance of good soil drainage cannot be overstated. But wet soil may cause root rot in mint plants.

Water

The soil should be kept slightly damp during dry times. If you want the mint to grow well, you’ll need to keep the soil wet but not waterlogged. Give your plant some water if the top inch of soil is dry. Wilting mint leaves are an indication that the plant needs more water, so make sure you give it some. As temps increase, it’s ideal to water your mint in the morning so it has enough moisture to survive.

Humidity And Temperature Table

Tolerance to a broad range of temperatures varies from species to species, although mint plants, in general, are quite adaptable. As an example, peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a hardy plant that can withstand USDA hardiness zone 3’s frigid temperatures. Mint (Mentha spicata) may be grown in USDA hardiness zone 11 because of its heat tolerance.

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Mint plants may suffer under dry conditions. If you are growing mint indoors, spray the plant between waterings or place the container on a water-filled tray of stones. This is particularly important during the dry winter months.

Fertilizer

Feed mint plants throughout the growing season (spring to autumn) if your soil is deficient in nutrients. Mint doesn’t need any additional fertilizer if your garden soil is healthy and fertile to start with. A balanced, all-purpose fertilizer should be used to feed container-grown plants and plants grown in soil that is deficient in nutrients throughout the growing season, beginning in the spring when new growth emerges. To ensure proper use, always refer to the label.

Varieties Of Mint

A wide variety of tastes and looks may be found when it comes to the mint plant. Included are:

1.   Mentha x. Piperita:

A sweet, minty taste, Mentha x. Piperita peppermint thrives in USDA zones 3 to 11.

2.   Mentha piperita f. citrata ‘Chocolate’:

Chocolate Mint, is a first cousin of peppermint and has leaves with a minty-chocolate scent and taste.

3.   Mentha spicata:

One of the best mints to utilize as a landscaping ground cover is spearmint. Zones 5 through 9 are suitable for this plant.

4.   Mentha piperita citrate:

Orange mint is one of the tastiest of the fruit-flavored mints. Zones 4 through 11 are suitable for its cultivation.

5.   Mentha suaveolens:

‘Apple mint,’ the menthol-based tea, is a hybrid of the two herbs. For best results, it should be grown in zones 5 through 11.

6.   Mentha suaveolens Variegata:

It is a variegated form of the apple mint, Mentha suaveolens. Suitable for growing in zones 6-11

Spearmint Vs Lemon Balm

Even though lemon balm is a member of the mint family, its flavor and aroma are distinctive. Despite its size, it is often mistaken for a mint plant due to its appearance. It has a stronger citrus aroma, with a hint of mint. The citrus balm has bigger leaves and may reach greater heights than the mint varieties.

Harvesting Mint

Mint leaves may be harvested when the plant has numerous stems that are six to eight inches long. Plants grown from seed or purchased from a nursery should achieve this level of growth in two months or less. During the summer and autumn months, the shoots of mature mint may be plucked before they die down. Remove no more than a third of a plant at a time since doing so may harm the plant.

Remove sprigs and leaves as required. If you don’t pick your mint often, it will benefit from a mid-season shearing. You’ll probably see the stems and leaves becoming taller and shorter at some time in the future. At this point, the plant should be trimmed by 1/3 to 1/2. By doing so, it will begin to produce fresh new growth with large leaves.

Grow Mint In Pots

Mint is often grown in pots because it is so versatile. The ideal container is an unglazed clay pot with a lot of drainage holes since it will enable excess soil moisture to exit via the holes and the container walls. Make sure the soil is wet but not soggy by using a high-quality potting mix.

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Long branches contacting the surrounding soil may take root, so use caution when deciding where to put the container. On a patio or other hardscaping location, the pot will thrive better. Put the second layer of landscaping cloth over the drainage holes in the pot to keep the roots in the container and out of any surrounding soil.

Pruning

As a ground cover, mint likes to be. As an added benefit, trimming back the branches promotes a bushier, more visually appealing phenotype. Grow your mint in a limited space, such as a container or between paved surfaces, to eliminate the need for regular trimming.

Growing Mint

Simple, low-cost cuttings may be used to generate new plants of mint. During the late spring and early summer, when the plant is actively developing and before it has blossomed, propagation is optimal. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take four to six inches of healthy stem and cut it using sanitized scissors or pruning shears.
  2. Removing the lowest portion of the stem’s leaves
  3. Place the stem in a container of water or a small pot of wet potting mix. Place the container in a location that gets bright, indirect sunshine.
  4. Change the water in the rooting medium regularly to maintain its freshness and cleanliness. Plant the cutting in potting soil after the roots have grown to a length of a few centimeters.
  5. When roots are in potting soil, keep the soil slightly damp.

In general, it takes a couple of weeks to fully root an apple. There are roots where you can pull on the stem without feeling any resistance. Afterward, if you want, you may move the mint to a permanent location in the yard or garden.

Planting Mint Seeds

The best time to sow seeds indoors is eight to ten weeks before your area’s last predicted frost date in the late spring. You should be aware that certain mint kinds have been bred to produce hybrids that do not grow true to seed.

  1. Potting soil should be lightly applied over the seed.
  2. It takes 10 to 15 days for the seed to germinate, so make sure the soil is kept wet throughout that period.

Plants grown from seed may be harvested in two months.

Replanting Mint In A New Location

As soon as the roots begin to emerge above ground, it’s usually easier to start again from scratch with a cutting of your mint instead of repotting it. The flavor of an older mint plant will be less potent.

Overwintering

A mint plant is hard to destroy even in the cold of winter. If you have mint growing outside, clip it down to the ground, cover it with mulch or leaves (some gardeners use an old sheet), and leave it alone until the spring. Before the possibility of frost, bring potted mint inside to overwinter. Inspect for pests often and place the pots in a well-lit location. Water the plants regularly, but don’t let them become wet.

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Disease

There are several possible reasons why your mint isn’t working properly.

Anthracnose

When the weather is warm and rainy, a fungus called anthracnose may swiftly spread throughout the plant, causing little spots to grow in size until the leaves eventually fall off completely.

When a plant becomes infected, remove it immediately to avoid its spread.

Plants should be kept above the ground to allow enough airflow. Clean the beds well in the autumn and rotate crops to prevent the spores from overwintering there. The lowest leaves of the plant should be spared the wrath of water.

Mint Rust

Small brown, orange, or yellow pustules on the undersides of leaves are caused by a different fungus, called mint rust.

To avoid the spread of this disease, infected plants should be destroyed.

Rust may be reduced by heating the roots. To achieve this, soak the roots in 111°F water for 10 minutes, then cool them under running water and plant as normal.

Powdery Mildew

A further fungus that might show up under wet, damp circumstances is powdery mildew, which covers the stems and leaves in fuzzy dust and weakens and destroys plants.

Remove any sick plants and allow the soil to dry up before beginning the process of re-establishing the area. Do not water until the top 1 inch of soil is dry, and thin plants if necessary.

Because these plants thrive in water, it’s not unexpected that they’re susceptible to fungal illnesses.

Treatment with an organic-friendly fungicide should be used if the fungus persists.

Recipes & Ideas For Cooking

As a garnish for gently cooked vegetables like baby carrots, peas, and young potatoes, fresh mint goes well with a variety of proteins.

Levantine cuisines like tabbouleh are popular because of their use of leaves in salads, such as tabbouleh.

Lemonade, punch, and herbal teas may all benefit from their taste. Even without the refreshing taste of fresh mint, an Old Fashioned or a Mojito wouldn’t be complete.

Peppermint’s taste is mentholated, so keep this in mind while preparing it. As a result, it’s perfect for ice cream, ice cream desserts, and other treats containing alcohol.

If you’re looking to add some sweetness to your food, spearmint might be a great choice.

Conclusion

Planting mint not only enhances the aesthetics of your yard, but also serves as an excellent flavoring element for beverages, savory foods, and sweets. It’s also easy to grow.

There are dark green leaves and branches on a soft-focus backdrop for the close-up shot of the mint plant growing in my garden.

It’s only a matter of making sure you give your plants lots of extra water and frequently trim or pinch them. Also, only plant it in the ground if you have a few acres you don’t mind fast being overrun by this herb!

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