Learn tips and tricks for growing mint.
Growing mint isn't difficult, as it practically grows itself. Mint covers ground quickly, sending stems sprawling both above and below soil. This tendency to roam has earned this herb a reputation as a garden thug, but there are things you can do to keep mint in check.
Let us teach you how to grow mint.
Mint will grow either in full sun or part shade, though it definitely benefits from afternoon shade in the hottest regions. It also adapts readily to a variety of soils, but the ideal is moist, well-drained, and rich with organic matter. When growing mint in planting beds, mix 3 inches of Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Vegetables & Herbs into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil to add nutrients and improve drainage. In raised beds, blend equal parts of garden soil and potting mix. One way to defeat mint's spreading ways is to grow it in containers filled with light, fluffy Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix. Pots should be at least 12 inches across.
The best time of year for planting mint depends on where you livespring is ideal in cold-winter regions, fall in warmer regions. Established plants can withstand light frosts, but newly planted seedlings need protection.
Different varieties of the mint family cross-pollinate easily, so the surest way to get the type of mint you want is to start with young plants, like the strong, vigorous ones you get from Bonnie Plants®. In planting beds, space mint plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
To control mint in planting beds, surround it with edging that extends 18 to 24 inches deep into soil, or plant it in a pot that you sink into the soil, allowing 3 inches of the rim to sit above the soil line. Be sure to line the pot with a couple of layers of landscaping or shade cloth to keep the roots from escaping through the drainage holes.
Mint benefits from deep, infrequent watering. Check the soil weekly, and water when the top inch of soil is dry. When serious summer heat arrives, you'll need to check more often. It's worth noting that mint that has grown to fill a pot completely needs to be watered much more often than a container that's not chockfull of mint roots.
When growing mint, mulch around (not on top of) plants with 2 to 3 inches of Scotts® bagged mulch, straw, shredded leaves, pine straw, or some other locally available material. Mulch helps keep weeds from growing, soil moist, and mint leaves clean. (Avoid using any type of plastic or weed cloth beneath the mulch, because mint will root into and through it.)
A month after planting, start feeding mint with Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food to help the plant continue to produce lots of tasty leaves. Follow label instructions to know how much and how often to apply. The best time to feed mint is after harvest or trimming.
Divide mint plants that have died in the middle or filled pots completely. Dig up and divide the clumps into smaller pieces, toss any dead parts, then replant in new pots.
Mint plants grow best when harvested frequently. Pick individual leaves or sprigs at any point during the growing season. Best flavor occurs prior to flowering. If you need to harvest a large amount of mint, cut plants back almost to the ground, leaving a few pairs of leaves. The plant will regrow.
In the kitchen, mint is prized for flavoring beverages like water, lemonade, and tea. Mint leaves pair well with poultry, fish, and lamb, as well as peas, carrots, and new potatoes. Preserve mint by drying or freezing individual leaves.
In the garden, take advantage of mint's aggressive growth by using it as a ground cover or growing it along the edges of a path.
Ready to start growing mint? Click on any of the product links above for more information, to purchase the product online, or to find a retailer near you.