How to grow mint and why you should grow it in containers. Here are three ways of growing mint, from seed, cuttings and by division.
Mint (mentha) is a culinary herb and a hardy perennial that I would describe as is easy to grow and difficult to get rid of. A few years ago, I attempted to grow mint in the ground in an area of my garden designated to herbs. It died many times over and came back from the dead in all sort of places, including tiny crevices and in between pavers. In fact, I’m still finding mint runners in that same spot and I can’t get rid of it!
There are so many type of mint around, starting with the common garden mint show in the photo above. There’s spearmint, chocolate mint, peppermint, Korean mint, Australian native river mint and so on
- You may also like… How to Grow River Mint
Mint is one of those herbs that is said to help with nausea and upset stomachs but I find its effects to be totally the opposite. I generally don’t like mint in food and drink, not even toothpaste. I can handle a Mojito style of drink but nothing with crème de menthe or mint syrup. Why am I growing it? I don’t want to pay for a bunch of mint, use a few sprigs as cocktail garnish and throw out the rest. Mint has another advantage in the garden. It attracts earthworms, hoverflies and wasps. It’s known to repel rodents as well as insects such as mosquitoes, ants, aphids, flies and moths.
How to Grow Mint from Seed
Many will tell you not to bother growing mint from seed but to either grow it from a cutting or buy a pre-established plant. Mint is best sown in spring and autumn, at a depth of 1mm. It will take 10 to 15 days to germinate and approximately three months to reach full maturity.
- plant type: perennial
- season: best in spring and autumn (temperate zone, Australia)
- sow method: raise seedlings
- sow depth: 1mm
- plant spacing: 30cm
- position: part or full sun
- time to germinate: 10 to 15 days
- time to harvest: 90 days
- watering requirements: moist soil
How to Grow Mint from Cuttings
Take a 6-8 cm cutting of a stem just below a node, this is the part where a leaf grows. Remove all but the top leaves. Using a pencil or a chopstick, make a hole in a small pot filled with moist soil and stick the cutting in. Make sure it’s well watered. Cover it with a cloche made out of a cut soft drink bottle or use a clear plastic bag with holes and secure it around the pot. Place the plant out of direct sunlight for a few days. In about a week, it will develop roots. When the mint plant starts to grow, transplant it into a larger pot.
Alternatively, you can take a cutting and root it in a glass of water on a window sill until roots develop then repot it.
How to Grow Mint by Division
When growing mint in containers, the roots will eventually circle the pot and strangle the plant. When the pot starts to look full and you’ll see roots sticking out at the bottom of the pot, take the whole plant out of its pot and divide it into new plants.
Alternatively, with mint’s spreading habit, it’s likely that it will send out runners. You can cut them off and root them in soil but a clever way is to fill a new pot with soil, place it beside the plant, put one of the runners over it and secure it with a large pebble. It will grow roots and you’ll have a new mint plant.
Mint Growing Tips
- Mint is a highly invasive plant so do not plant it in an area where other plants are competing for space. It is best to grow it in containers.
- During its growth phase, pinch off the tips of the stems to make the plant bushier.
- In early summer, give the mint plant a hard prune to promote good top growth.
Want to Know More?
You’ll find more information on how to grow mint, which varieties to try, how to pair it with food and spirits, and how to use mint in cocktails including a full recipe in my 260+ page digital book GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available now.