Growing Mint: A Quick And Dirty Guide

Mint is a hardy perennial that will thrive in many environments. It is considered one of the easiest kitchen herbs to grow. Under some circumstances, it becomes an invasive plant that is difficult to control. Mint is one plant in a large and varied family called Lamiaceae. Other members include rosemary and thyme. Different kinds of mint are grown and used all over the world in dried and fresh forms. Below we cover growing mint — what you need to know whether growing the herb indoors or out.

How to Grow Mint

You can grow mint from seeds, cuttings, or by purchasing young plants.

From seed

Plant mint seeds in a seed starting mix or compost. Keep the containers in a location with lots of indirect light but avoid exposing them to direct sunlight. The seeds should germinate within two weeks. You can move them to a larger container once they have their first pair of true mint leaves, which will differ from the first pair you see at germination.

From cuttings

Start growing mint from cuttings with mint sprigs that are at least four inches long. The cuttings should have no flowers on them. While you can take mint cuttings at any point during the growing season, the best time is at the start of cold weather when the stems are becoming woody. The sturdier the stem, the better it is for propagation.

Strip the leaves from the bottom two inches of the stem. At this point, you can either dip the mint in some rooting hormone or simply place it in a glass of water until it develops a root structure. Once the roots have developed — which can take about four weeks — plant the cutting in your garden or a container.

Outdoors

Plant outdoor mint plants in the ground in early spring after the last frost. The right kind of soil for mint will drain well. In warmer climates, you can plant outdoor mint in the fall instead of the spring. Once established, a mint plant will be able to handle light frosts, but seedlings might not.

Plant mint plants at least 18 inches apart to give each adequate room. In the right conditions, mint grows quickly and acts as a ground cover.

Indoors

Grow mint indoors in containers that provide good drainage. The ideal container for mint should be at least 12 inches across and 10 to 12 inches deep.

How much sunlight does mint need?

Plant mint in partial shade if you are growing it outdoors in a warmer climate. It will tolerate full sun in cooler regions if it gets enough water. The ideal temperature will depend on the mint variety you are growing, but you will want to aim for between 55 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.67 °C).

Indoor mint will need at least six hours of sunlight every day. Rotate the plant once a week since it will tend to grow towards the light. Rotation keeps it growing evenly. If you can’t provide it with enough natural light, grow lights are an option.

How much water does mint need?

Water mint plants moderately and regularly. You want to keep the soil damp, but not overly wet. Mist indoor mint plants regularly, as they may not do well in a low-humidity environment.

Harvesting mint

Harvest mint leaves once the plant is growing quickly. Frequent cutting back will help the plant to grow more vigorously. Mint leaves are at their most flavorful right before the plant begins to flower. Young leaves are also likely to be more flavorful than older ones.

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