Want to grow mint and use it in your dishes, tea or for medicine? Below you’ll find a few different ways to do so and we’ll also discuss why growing mint is a great idea!
Mint is a perennial herb known for its aromatic leaves and it may come in many different varieties, but they all have one thing in common – that captivating scent. Not only does it add flavor to your dish and tea, but this herb is also notorious for its health benefits. So, if you wonder whether it is possible to grow mint at home and enjoy its aromatic flavor regularly, well yes, it is! In fact, mint pretty much grows itself as it’s considered a weed. Something to keep in mind – be cautious of where you plant it.
Types of Mint
When we say mint, we refer to a broader family of plants called Lamiaceae or the „mint” family. There are over 600 different varieties, but here are the most popular ones that you can grow at home.
- Peppermint. It has pink flowers and is commonly used to flavor teas. Its uplifting flavor can also ease stomach upset.
- Chocolate mint. This close relative of peppermint has an orangey taste, but a chocolate flavor. This makes it especially suitable for flavoring both drinks and desserts.
- Spearmint. As its name suggests, this variety of mint has pointy spikes on its leaves. It’s one of the most popular chewing gum flavoring agents, but may also be used in salads and to flavor teas.
- Apple mint. This kind of mint has lighter green leaves than the previously mentioned ones. Its smell and taste are fruity as well as minty. It can be used both as a culinary herb and ground cover.
- Watermint. If you have a pond in your garden, then you may consider growing watermint. It has dark green leaves and light lavender flowers. It grows especially well in shallow water and can be used in salads and for flavoring desserts and teas.
Why Grow Mint at Home
Here are a few great reasons to grow mint at home:
- Always have it on hand to spice dishes and drinks. Mint is excellent in salads, sauces, pesto, smoothies, and all kinds of desserts.
- For flavoring teas. Whenever you feel a bit under the weather or just need some well-deserved relaxation after a long day, make yourself a cup of fresh mint tea.
- To attract bees and other garden pollinators.
- As a repellent. Although it attracts bees and other good-for-your-garden creatures, mint deters rodents, mosquitoes, and ants. Just crush and rub the leaves on your skin to protect yourself from insect bites. At home, place a few springs near the point where mosquitoes, ants, or flies may enter.
- As a companion plant. Although the scent of mint is enjoyable for most people, it can be unpleasant for animals and insects. Ants, spiders, cockroaches, mice, moths as well as deer are just a few of them. This means that it will be handy to grow mint next to your vegetables so as to deter harmful insects.
- As an air freshener. You can make your DIY mint air freshener by firstly drying the mint leaves. Then chop and put them into a piece of cheesecloth. Finally, tie it with a ribbon and hang it.
- It’s super healthy. Mint is rich in vitamin A and antioxidants, great for your stomach, brain and might even help relieve cold symptoms.
How to Grow Mint at Home
And now that you have already decided that you want to grow your mint at home, here are the tips and tricks on how to do it. But before you put on your gardening gloves, make sure that:
- The soil you’ll grow your mint in is rich in organic material and well-draining. The level of acidity should be between 6.5 and 7.0 on the PH scale.
- You provide full sun conditions for your mint plants as they grow best in places receiving 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
Whether you will grow mint indoors or in your garden, there are four main methods that you can use.
Method 1. Growing Mint From Seeds Indoors And Outdoors
- Fill your container with potting soil. Make sure that it provides more surface area rather than soil depth
- Then, sow the seeds about 1/4 inches (6 mm) deep and cover with soil, then lightly water, so that the seeds can settle in. Do this 8 -10 weeks before the last spring frost in your area.
- Water regularly and make sure the temperature is always about 70F/21C
- The seeds will germinate about 7-14 days after sowing.
- Once the plants have at least 4 leaves, thin them out and transfer some to other containers filled with soil indoors or outdoors after the frost danger has passed.
Method 2. Growing Mint From Cuttings
If you have a well-developed, healthy plant that hasn’t started blooming yet, then you can easily create new plants from it. Here’s how:
- Firstly, take a cutting from the top growth of a fresh mint plant. The cutting should be about 3-5 inches (8-10 cm) long.
- Then, place the cutting in a glass or jar filled with water.
- Keep the mint cuttings out of direct sunlight and change the water every day. Wait for one to two weeks or until roots appear on the stem.
- When a good root system has developed, plant the stems in a container filled with soil or your garden.
- You may trim the top part of the plant so that it grows in a compact, bushy shape.
Alternatively, you may propagate mint directly in soil by letting the cutting develop its root system there. Just make sure that the soil is rich and moist.
Method 3. Growing Mint from Young Plants
If you are not confident in your gardening skills yet, then consider buying young plants from a gardening center. Not only will you avoid any mistakes or problems with sowing but you will also have this fragrant herb close at hand.
All you need to do is fill a suitable container with soil, take the young plant and make a hole in the soil that’s big enough as to fit the roots. Place the roots in the soil, then add some more water and some water as to stabilize the young plant in the new container.
Make sure the plants will receive enough sunlight during the day and water regularly.
Ways to Prevent Uncontrollable Spreading
Whichever method you use, have in mind that mint sprawls its roots and can easily take over your garden.
- So, the best way to control the invasive mint is to plant it in containers. Then, you can place the pots on your balcony or in your garden among other plants.
- Another way to do it is to plant it into a bottomless bucket and sink it into the ground. That is to give the illusion of growing it in the garden, but you will still restrict the uncontrollable growth of the plant.
- If you still want to plant the mint in your garden, then do it next to a wall and cut or mow the plants when necessary.
How to Harvest and Store Mint
Mint is usually harvested just before it starts to flower. However, if you need mint leaves before that, you can just pluck some as long as the plant is at least 4 inches (10 cm) in height.
When it’s time to harvest in bulk, cut the stems. Then you can either remove the leaves or tie the stems together for drying.
You can also refrigerate fresh mint leaves for as long as 7-10 days. Alternatively, you may place fresh stems in a glass or jar of water. This way the fresh mint will be good enough for 10-14 days as long as you change the water regularly.
If you want to store mint for months, then you can either dry or freeze it.
More Gardening Tips
Well, now you know how to grow mint indoors and outdoors! If you’re new to gardening, you might enjoy these as well: