How to Grow and Care for Mint Herb Plants

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About Growing Mint Plants in Your Herb Garden

Members of the Mint herb family are in good company. There are about 3,500 varieties of mint plants! Two of those varieties are very, very common. It should come as no surprise, to learn that the most common mints are Peppermint and Spearmint. Now, here’s some even better news….. growing mint herbs is very easy!

Most mints are natives of the Mediterranean region and are hardy perennial plants, and they are very easy to grow. They have bright green leaves on bushy plants. Once planted, they come back a year, after year, after year. They require little or no maintenance, too. However, they are invasive plants, and take over a garden, if allowed. To keep them from spreading surround mint herb plants with border edging. Most varieties grow 12-24 inches.

Mints are great in herb gardens, in beds along with the house, or in containers on your patio or deck. They can be grown indoors as houseplants.

Did you know? The mint family includes Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, and Sage. And, approximately 3,496 more.

Flower Colors: Flower colors include blue, pink, and white.

Annuals and Perennials, Mentha piperita

Medicinal and Culinary Uses

Medicinal Uses: 

It soothes upset stomachs and on occasion, for toothaches. It has also been used for headaches.

And, it promotes healthy digestion, reduces gas, and helps to ease and eliminate nausea.

They are a standard ingredient in many breath mints.

Culinary Uses:

Use oil of mint in cookies, teas, candies, jellies, chewing gum, flavoring for medicines, toothpaste, ice cream, liqueurs, and much more.

Try tossing a few leaves in your tea or hot chocolate tonight.

Mint Plant Propagation

Mint plants are started from seed. Get an early start planting them indoors as a houseplant. Or, directly sow seeds into your garden in the spring. Space seedlings or thin plants to 12″ to 18″ apart.

Established plants are prolific propagators, producing suckers in the second and following years. They can also be grown from cuttings.

How to Grow Mint Plants

Mint plants are simply too easy to grow. They thrive in full sun to partial shade. They will do well in average soils. The plant withstands droughts, and heat very well. Chances are, you will not have to water them during a drought. Fertilizer is not usually required, except in the poorest of soils.

The plants are aggressive growers, crowding out other plants if given the chance. Give them plenty of space away from other plants in your garden. Or, better still, put in a border edging, dug 3-4 inches deep.

The oils in mint plants are in the glands of the leaves. Crushing them releases the oils and the pleasant, strong, and soothing flavor. After the plant has a dozen or so leaves, you can begin to harvest them. Take just a few leaves while the plant is small. Once it is well-established you will always have plenty of leaves to harvest. Harvest mint leaves at any time. They can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. Like other herbs, pick them in the morning, when the oils are strongest. Spread leaves out to dry in a cool and ventilated area.

Tip: Mint has a very strong, overpowering scent. Once dried, store it in an air-tight container, away from other herbs. 

Insect and Plant Disease Problems

Insect and disease problems are uncommon. Mint has natural repellents for insects and is sometimes used in organic sprays.

Ants do not like Mints – try growing them around your crops, or using mints in a spray.

Also see: 

Plant Problems – causes and cures

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