There are many herbs to plant in your garden but perhaps none is as fragrant as mint. Grown for a myriad of purposes, including adding flavor to a stew and brightening up a cool drink, mint is a wonderful herb to have around. Read on to know more about when to plant mint and how to grow it.
When to plant mint: Mint is a voracious perennial plant. It will quickly take over your entire garden if you allow it. You should plant mint in your garden in the spring. Wait until the threat of frost is over before planting. While you can start with seeds, mint grows in abundance and if you ask around, you should be able to find a person who will allow you to take a cutting. To propagate mint, take a cutting of about six inches and make sure the roots are attached to the stem. Then, plant it horizontally to encourage more root growth. Mint is best in a container or a sectioned-off part of your garden. You can actually plant mint in its own container and then place the entire pot in the ground. If the roots of a mint plant are not contained, they will spread. If this happens, don’t panic, and instead start cutting it up. You can even give some to your neighbors.
Planting Mint in Different Climates
Mint should be good in a tropical climate. While this perennial is used to a cooler winter temperature, it does like warmth, so you can try it out.
Planting mint in a dry climate will probably not result in success. This plant needs moist soil so unless you want to keep it in a container and hand water your mint, it won’t thrive.
Mint grows really well in a temperature climate. However, you will want to make sure that the soil can drain, or else the pooling water can cause root rot.
Mint might be ok in a continental climate. While it can withstand colder winter temperatures, if you aren’t having much luck with it, you can always plant it in a container indoors.
Mint definitely will not be able to grow in a polar climate.
Choosing Mint Seeds
Mint and chocolate are a perfect pairing, so if you can find it in nature, why not try it out? This variety is particularly well-suited for traditional Moroccan tea.
An obvious choice for a reason, peppermint will give you a real pack of flavor. It can be used to flavor tea, add a pleasing aroma to your home, and can even help with digestion issues.
Another favorite, spearmint is named after the shape of its leaves, which taper off into sharp points. This variety can be added to teas and even brighten up a salad.
If you love a crisp mojito on a warm summer day, then this variety should be in your garden. While it can also be used to flavor savory dishes and teas, it has a lovely, strong aroma that will brighten your favorite cocktail.
How to Plant Mint Seeds
Even though mint is a perennial, the best time to plant is still in the spring. You will want to wait until the threat of frost is over and the temperatures have warmed up.
For most areas, this is between late April and late May. Mint will grow in many locations. Although it does better in warmer areas than cold ones, it can generally withstand growing zones three to eight.
Unlike other more temperamental herbs, mint is a perennial and can survive colder winter temperatures. It should be planted in an area where you want it to grow each year.
Another important consideration with mint is that it will quickly spread out. If left unattended, mint can actually take over your whole garden.
The best place to plant mint is in a container or a secluded part of your garden. If you want to plant your mint in the ground, think about constructing a simple barrier so that it can’t grow into neighboring plants.
As for sunlight, mint will tolerate both full sun and partial shade. However, some varieties don’t do well with the hot afternoon sun, so check the individual needs of each variety you purchase.
Mint is a plant that will grow near streams in the wild. You should try to replicate this environment in your own garden.
The soil should be moist but also well-draining. You don’t want the water to simply pool in the ground where it is growing.
If you are worried about your mint spreading, you can actually use a container for one mint plant and then place the entire plant into the garden. This will make it easier to grow but will contain the roots within the pot.
Seeds and seedlings
Because mint grows so abundantly, it is very easy to simply grab a cutting or two from a friend and plant this in your garden. Alternatively, you can purchase seedlings at your local garden center, or start with your own seeds.
When planting, space your mint out so that it is about two feet apart. Within a year or two, each mint plant will grow in this area so you don’t need to plant more than a couple of seedlings for a large harvest.
How to Water Mint
Aim to have soil that is nice and moist for your mint plant. If you live in a very warm area, you might want to consider installing drip irrigation so that the soil doesn’t dry out.
For containers, you may have to water them every day or two. Make sure the container has holes to allow the water to drain, but this can cause the soil to become dry quite quickly.
When in doubt, simply use your finger to determine if the soil is too dry and water accordingly.
How to Grow Mint
A huge benefit of mint is that it does not take a lot of effort to grow. One of the few steps you can take is to place a thin layer of mulch around your plants.
The mulch will help keep weeds at bay and will ensure the soil stays nice and moist but not overly saturated.
Pets and diseases
Mint is not especially prone to disease but there are a few to look out for. The most common is powdery mildew, which is a fungus.
Try to water the base of your mint plant. When the leaves become too wet and don’t have a chance to dry, this is when powdery mildew can set in.
Thankfully, the strong scent of mint will deter many pests. It is a deer-resistant plant so you don’t have to worry about them. Furthermore, mice will quickly run in the other direction so if you are worried about rodents in your garden, mint can help your problem.
Mint will keep on growing so you want to take advantage of it. Furthermore, new mint leaves are more fragrant and flavorful than older ones, so you want to pick and use these.
Mint will start to become ready in spring and you can start harvesting it then. If you are worried about how much mint you are harvesting, just know that it is easy to store. Plus, there are usually friends and neighbors that will happily share in your bounty.
When harvesting, you can decide on a method based on your needs. If you want a few leaves for a meal or drink, pinch them off as you need them.
If you want to take advantage of a large harvest and store your mint, cut the stems from the plant, about an inch off from the ground. You can then decide to dry the mint or freeze it for later use in cooked dishes.
Mint that is harvested right before the plant starts to flower is the ideal time for large batch preserving.
Can you propagate mint?
Due to its fast-growing nature, it is very easy to propagate mint. You can simply dig up a part of the mint and as long as there are some roots to the stem, you can transplant it.
To encourage new growth, lay the stem horizontally on the ground and then cover it with soil. More roots will grow out of the stem and you will have a bushy mint plant in no time.
How long does mint take to grow?
Mint grows very quickly. After being planted in the spring, you will have a late spring to early summer harvest.
Mint is a perennial so it will continue to grow each year. You should get two to three yields of mint per year.
Mint is a solid choice for any herb garden. Its fresh aroma is perfect for many dishes and drinks. Plant your mint in the spring but make sure it is contained or else it will quickly take over the rest of your garden.