Want to Grow Mint Plants in your Herb Garden but don’t want it to take over? I have the guide for you on how to grow this easily maintained but rather invasive Herb.
Mint is a perennial with very fragrant, toothed leaves and tiny purple, pink, or white flowers. It has that familiar smell that reminds you or toothpaste. The leaves are wonderful when infused in hot water to make a refreshing tea, chopped and added to many dishes, or used to make mint sauce
There are many different varieties of mint to choose from with leaves that smell completely different.
How to grow Mint Plants the Herb Garden
Mint, unlike its Mediterrain cousins, needs a deep moist unfertilized soil as the roots spread quickly. In fact too quickly sometimes, Mint will take over a bed if you are not careful. Containers are perfect for mint plants as you needn’t worry about the roots spreading underground. The also don’t mind partial shade which is great.
Getting Started with Mint
It is best to buy mint as young plants in spring but you can grow from seeds. But with herbs readily available from Supermarkets it is so easy to get started. Place in a container or alternatively grow in a large, bottomless bucket and plunge it into a gap in the soil, making sure the lip of the container remains above the surface to prevent shoots from escaping over the top.
Keeping your Mint Happy
Mint is plenty vigorous on its own but will appreciate a little fertilizer every couple of weeks, especially if you harvest a lot. Organic Comfrey or Seaweed fertilizer will feed it. Keep the soil moist and mulch around the plant to keep its roots moist to keep it happy.
Keep plants in check by harvesting the tips regularly and pulling up wayward runners. Mint’s small flowers bloom from June to September; trim these before the buds open to keep the plant compact. Although slightly frost tolerant, the top of mint will eventually die back in winter. But I have found it comes back in Spring it takes a really hard frost to kill it off.
Propagating your mint
After 3 or 4 years propagate to get new fresh plants. The best way to propagate mints is by taking cuttings from those that you like best. It’s easy—take 6-inch cuttings of rooted stems and plant them horizontally in the soil. Mint stems will also root in a glass of water. Start with a small cutting from an established plant.
Problems with your Mint plants
Rust: A common fungal disease of many plants that can be recognised by orange, yellow or black spots or blisters that form on leaves, along with pale and distorted stems. Leaves can fall and in severe cases, plants will eventually die.
Remedy: Dig up badly infected plants and dispose of to prevent the spores spreading to other plants. Carefully check plants before buying to ensure they are healthy and show no signs of disease.
Mint beetle: Shiny green beetles and their round black larvae feed on the foliage of mint plants in summer. Large populations can severely damage plants.
Remedy: Their size and colour make both adult beetles and their larvae easy to spot and remove by hand.
Harvesting your Mint
Mint is another herb that is easy to harvest. In fact, regular harvesting is encouraged, in order to prevent legginess. You may opt to harvest most of the plant at once, clipping away up to 2/3 of the length of the stems, or you may clip away only what you need. For the best flavour, harvest just before the mint flowers in June/ July. Its aroma will be at its peak. Chop it into ice-cube trays with water for a fresh addition to drinks.
Varieties of Mint plants
Mint comes in lots of varieties which all taste subtly different.
Mentha suaveolens – apple mint has oval-shaped leaves and mauve flowers that appear in summer.
Spearmint, also known as garden mint, common mint, lamb mint and mackerel mint
Mentha × piperata f. citrata ‘Chocolate’ has dark brown leaves that taste like chocolate creams. And are great for baking.
This is just a handful of varieties and you can find lots at your local garden centre. Get your FREE quick grow guide to mint here
I hope you enjoy this guide – I love mint even though it can take over your herb patch if you are not careful. You can find more herb guides here
- Growing Basil successfully
- Growing Rosemary in the Herb garden
- Parsley in the herb garden
- Sage in the Organic Herb garden
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