How to Grow a Mint Garden will give you the tools on the best ways to start, nurture and harvest your herb garden for best results.
Growing mint is perfect for beginning gardeners because its one of the easiest herbs to start and care for.
It is a perennial and is hardy in zones 4-9. There are 25 different varieties to try in your garden. It grows 2-3 feet in height.
With adequate water it grows vigorously.
Mint goes well with shellfish, meat, fish, poultry, peas, beets, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuces, potatoes, summer squashes, tomatoes and fruits.
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Mint has been grown for thousands of years all over the world. It’s a very versatile plant that is used for multiple purposes.
Mint is a very invasive plant, so make sure you keep it contained either in a remote part of the garden or in the preferable method of container gardening.
It will grow in full sun and partial shade. If your climate is particularly hot, make sure to grow it with partial shade. For colder climates, try to plant in the full sun.
When mint goes dormant, (winter in cold climates and summer in hot climates) you want to prune the mint.
Fertilize your plant with organic matter once per year at the end of the dormant season. It doesn’t need much fertilizer because it’s a hardy plant and too much fertilizer can kill the plant.
Sprinkle the fertilizer along the base of the plant. You want to make sure not to put it on the plant’s leaves because it could burn them.
After you fertilize the plant, make sure you water it well.
Why you should grow a mint garden
- Why drink sugary drinks when instead you can infuse your water with this amazing herb and various fruits for pennies?
- Mint is a natural pest deterrent in the herb, vegetable or flower garden.
- Keeping fresh mint on hand means always having a natural breath freshener at your fingertips.
- Fresh mint makes amazing cocktails that your friends and family will love.
- Tie a handful together and add it to your bath for a refreshing change of pace.
- Dry the leaves and make your own mint tea.
- Mint adds a delicious flavor to cooking.
- If you make your own fresh juice, juicing a few leaves of mint along with your other produce adds a zing to your drink.
- You can add mint to your homemade soap recipes and other DIY beauty products.
- Making your own mint-infused oil is easy and can be used in homemade cleaning products and to keep your home and car smelling fresh and clean.
- Peppermint repels mice. Dry the leaves and place in small mesh bags. Add the bags to your pantry, closets, attic and garage.
- You can make candied mint leaves to add a decorative touch to your desserts. Find out how to make them here.
- Plant mint in pots near the entrances of your homes to keep ants from coming into your home.
- Mint makes a beautiful garnish to your dishes.
- Chocolate and mint pair together well.
How to Grow Seed Mint from Seed
Mint gardens can be grown from seed year-round if it is being grown indoors and can be grown up until two months before fall’s first frost.
Start with a seed starting kit. You can find them here.
Keep the soil moist. In 7-14 days, seedlings will emerge.
How to Grow Mint
The easiest way to grow mint is to simply purchase trays from your local nursery and plant.
You want to space them at least 6 inches apart. Full sun or partial shade would be the best growing conditions.
The plant can grow up to three feet tall.
How to Grow Mint in Pots
Most types of mint are very invasive, so keep them in check make sure you grow your plants in containers.
Mint should be planted in early spring, so the roots can grow before the arrival of summer.
Make sure you water your plants on a regular basis. Test your soil with your finger to determine how often you need to water.
How to Grow Mint Indoors
This is one herb that’s pretty easy to grow indoors, year-round.
The containers you grow your mint should be wide and have good drainage.
Make sure you place your mint in a room with lots of sunlight and that has a temperature of over 60 degrees.
Mint will stay happy if you keep the soil watered.
How to Grow Mint in Water
If you want to root your mint in water, make sure the cuttings are between 5-6 inches, cutting right below a node. A node is where the leaves grow.
Remove all the leaves except the top ones.
Place the cuttings in a glass with water about an inch tall.
Place the glass in a sunny window with light at least 4 hours a day. Change the water everyday.
Replant the rooted cutting in a pot with moist soil. When the planting outgrows the pot, replant in a larger pot or in the ground.
Harvesting Mint Plants for your Mint Garden
Let the root system of your plants develop before harvesting the leaves. You should wait 4-6 weeks after planting.
Make sure you consistently prune your mint. If you do, it will promote succulent growth versus growing a woody plant.
Cut each stem you harvest at least two inches above the ground, right above a set of leaves. (When you cut the leaves, it encourages new growth.)
Pick leaves that are free from brown spots or bug damage.
Once you start harvesting your mint leaves, you’ll want to gather ideas on how to store your mint sprigs to enjoy all year long. I wrote an article on How to Store Mint: Drying, Freezing, and Storing.
Varieties of Mint Plants for your Garden
The most popular mint plants are peppermint and spearmint. Did you know that there are lots of other types of mint? Here’s just a few:
This mint is sometimes called a round-leaved mint and is a wonderful addition to your mint garden. It can be used in making apple mint jelly.
I love the flavor of chocolate mint. I infuse it in my water and add a little stevia to make it perfect.
This mint has a nice fresh cool taste. With just a touch of cinnamon flavor, these leaves can be added to hot or cold tea for amazing flavor.
This plant has purple-tinted green leaves to go along with its citrus scent. It’s a perfect addition to a fruit salad or any dish that has orange, lemon or lime juice.
Summer drinks get a boost of flavor when this tasty herb is added.
If you’re looking for even more varieties of mint to grow, I made a list of favorite mint plants.
Mint Plant Uses
1) Place a mint leaf in each compartment of an ice-cube tray. Add water and freeze. Use these minty ice cubes to add flavor to your drinks.
2) Make soap. I found this Energizing Mint Soap Recipe on Mother Earth Living.
3) You can also make your own mint essential oil.
4) Make your own mint tea. Use 1 tablespoon of dried mint leaves per 8 ounces of hot water. Let it steep for five minutes. Remove infuser from your cup or teapot.
5) For a natural pest repellant spray, blend eight ounces of mint leaves with one quart of water. Strain mixture and place in a spray bottle.
Spray your plants every 8-10 days to keep aphids and caterpillars away.
For more ideas on hat to do with mint leaves, I wrote an entire article with more ideas.
We’ve reached the end of How to Grow a Mint Garden.
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I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know in the comments below if you grow mint in your garden and some of the ways you use it in your recipes and crafts.