Mint is a very popular herb and an essential in most households. If you like to garden or want to start gardening, you should grow mint.
You will feel satisfied when you grow it and it will also be organic at the same time. Not just that, you will always have some fragrant and minty freshness at your disposal!
Mint is one of the easiest plants to grow and here’s all you need to know about mint to grow them in your home!
What Is Mint?
Mint is an aromatic herb that falls under the genus Mentha and the family Lamiaceae. It is a hardy perennial plant that was found originally around the Mediterranean and Asian regions.
This plant has about 35,000 different varieties with different characteristics that are distributed all across the world. Different species grow in different environments.
Mint is very easy to grow as it is a very quick grower. Many varieties of mint are such aggressive growers that they become invasive. Due to its tendency to grow vigorously, mint does not need a lot of fertilization.
You can not only use mint to make different cuisines—from sweet to savory, or use it as a garnish in your lamb dishes, you can also make refreshing beverages with it. It can be quite a rage in the kitchen.
There are several varieties of mint, but there are some that most prefer to grow. To name a few:
- Chocolate Peppermint
- Pineapple Mint
- Orange Bergamot Mint
- Lemon Bergamot Mint
- Licorice Mint
- Apple Mint
When to Plant Mint?
To grow mint in your house from scratch, you need to first know when to start mint seeds indoors. Two seasons are preferred to start mint.
- Spring: For a late spring or a summer crop, you need to first find out the last predicted frost of the season in your area. You need to start your seeds eight to ten weeks before the last expected frost.
This gives your mint the advantage of a warm growing season and a quicker crop.
- Fall: For a fall crop, you need to find out the first frost that is expected in your area. Two months before that, you should start your seeds indoors.
If you want to plant your seeds directly outdoors, you can sow them directly into the soil after the last frost of the season. This works better in warmer regions.
You can also start the seed indoors any time of the year if you are planning to grow the plant indoors and not transplant it into an outdoor garden.
How to Plant Mint?
It is very easy to grow mint from seed. All you need are some containers to sow your mint seeds in, some soil, and the mint seeds.
- You should get flats to sow your mint seeds into. Make sure there are holes for proper drainage in them.
- Fill it with a premium potting mix. The soil should be well-draining and slightly acidic.
- Make sure to place the tray on a surface so that any water that drains off would not end up ruining your furniture.
- Water the soil well and let it drain for 30 minutes. This step is to ensure that the soil is not too soggy or wet when you plant your seeds. Overwatered seeds might rot and not germinate.
This step is also necessary before sowing your seeds because, if you water your soil for the first time after you sow your seeds, there always is a chance of the seed getting washed away.
- After your soil is ready, sow the seeds about ¼ inches deep and cover lightly with the soil.
- Cover the tray with a plastic cover and cut some slits in it. This ensures proper air circulation.
- Now place the tray at a spot near your window that receives adequate sunlight.
- Make sure that the soil stays moist. You can use a spray bottle to water your soil to prevent it from getting overwatered.
- Try and maintain the temperature of the soil to create an optimal environment for germination. Ideally, the temperature of the soil should be 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You should see your seeds starting to germinate within a week or two.
- Once the seedlings grow some true leaves (leaves that grow after the first two leaves of a plant), you can transplant them outdoors.
Remember that you should harden off your seedlings before you transplant them outdoors. If this step is skipped, your plant might get sunburned and withered from the sudden change in the weather compared to indoors.
Where to Plant Mint?
Once your seedlings are hardened, they should be ready to be transplanted. It is not very difficult to transplant because they are tenacious growers.
Note that mint multiplies through their roots that spread out horizontally. Hence, if you are trying to grow them in a pot, it should have a significant surface area rather than depth.
If you are growing mint in the ground or in raised beds with other plants, you should get a barrier around the plant. Without a barrier, mint will spread its roots wide across and hinder the growth of the other plants.
If you are planting them outdoors, it is better to grow them in pots as you can bring the pots indoors during the colder months. This way the plants will keep growing and not go dormant.
- Make sure the soil you plant your seedlings in is well-draining and rich in organic material. The soil should be slightly acidic—within the range of 6.5 and 7.0 on a pH scale.
- Space your seedlings by 18 inches or plant them in separate pots.
- Water your soil. Do not overwater.
- You can add a slow-release organic fertilizer once a year. You can start by applying it once at the initial planting.
If your soil is already nutrient-rich, you can add fertilizer once the plant wakes up from dormancy. In hot climates, dormancy occurs in the hot summer months, and in colder areas, dormancy occurs during late fall and winter.
Keep in mind that mint needs to be pruned often to keep it from creating a minty jungle. When the plant grows too big, the plant becomes woody and the leaves lose their flavor. Pruning is a necessity to continue growing tender and flavorful leaves.
How to Deal with Pests and Diseases?
In case of insect or pest attacks, you can hose them off with water or handpick them.
Mint is prone to rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spot. To prevent most of these, make sure to water only during the day. This ensures the soil is not wet anymore by night and reduces the risk of plants getting diseased.
You can handpick the diseased leaves and continue growing your mint. Pruning should also take care of many pests and diseases.