Rub a few mint leaves between your fingers and smell; you can’t help but smile. It smells so good. Mint is an easy-to-grow, hardy, perennial herb grown for its leaves. Learn how to grow mint outside, inside, and in containers with these 5 tips.
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5 Tips for How to Grow Mint
1. Plant mint at the right time
Plant mint after the last spring frost date. The ideal soil temperature for planting mint is 55°F-70°F. Mint often dies back in cold-winter climates, but underground roots survive, and the mint comes back in the spring.
2. Know that mint is invasive
Mint is invasive and quickly spreads within raised beds and open garden areas. Once planted, underground stems root and form buds that will pop up throughout the bed and overtake other plants.
Keep mint contained by growing in its own container or in a bed with different mint varieties.
3. Plant and care for mint correctly
- Mint does best grown from transplant.
- Plant mint in fertile, well-draining soil.
- Plant mint transplants at the same depth as nursery containers.
- Space mint plants 12″ to 18″ apart.
- Mint does best in partial shade, especially in hot weather climates like the low desert of Arizona.
- Mint needs regular water; do not let the plant dry out.
- Keep mint flowers cut back to encourage leaf production.
- In the spring (or in the fall in hot climates like Arizona), give mint a good trim to reinvigorate it.
For square foot gardening, plant 1 mint per square foot.
If grown in a garden bed, line the square where the mint grows with weed cloth or landscape fabric, or grow in a pot within the bed to prevent the mint from spreading to other parts of the garden.
Read this post for more information about growing herbs in the low desert of Arizona.
How to grow mint in containers:
Feed container-grown mint a half-strength dose of fish emulsion at the beginning of the growing season.
Mint does best grown in a container by itself or with other varieties of mint.
How to grow mint inside:
- Keep mint evenly moist. Do not let mint dry out.
- Provide extra humidity by misting the plant with water every few days.
- Give the mint indirect light with supplemental lighting for 12-13 hours per day.
- The ideal indoor temperature for mint is between 65°F-70°F.
- Feed mint a half-strength dose of fish emulsion at the beginning of the growing season.
4. Harvest mint often
Mint leaves are ready to harvest about 30 days after transplant when new growth appears, and the plant is 4″-6″ tall.
When harvesting, cut mint stems back to a pair of leaves. This encourages new branching.
Do not harvest more than 1/3 of plant at a time.
Learn how to preserve herbs by freeze drying in this blogpost.
5. Try several varieties of mint
Add variety to your garden by planting different types of mint.
- Peppermint: Compact and low-growing.
- Chocolate mint: Dark stem; grows to about 2′ tall.
- Pineapple mint: variegated leaves; aggressive spreader.