Mint: Growing and Planting Instructions
Perfect for beginning gardeners, mint is the easiest of all herbs to grow, a perennial hardy in zones 4-9. In addition to flavoring food and drinks, it serves as a natural pest deterrent in the vegetable, herb, or flower garden, and chewing the leaves not only freshens the breath but is said to calm an upset stomach.
Choosing a Mint Variety
Native to the Mediterranean, the genus Mentha has parented more than 3,500 varieties. By far the most commonly grown in this country are Spearmint (M. spicata) and Peppermint (M. x piperita). Both are super easy to grow, taking off like crazy to perfume home or garden all season!
When to Start Mint Seeds
For spring planting, mint seeds can be started indoors in late winter or direct-sown in the warm spring soil. But as a hardy perennial, they can be started anytime until about 2 months before the first frost of fall, or year-round for indoor use.
How to Start Mint Seeds
To sow the seeds indoors, place them on top of the Bio Sponge in your Bio Dome, or on top of the medium in your seed flat. Do not cover the seeds; they need light to germinate. They should sprout within 10 to 15 days at room temperature or slightly warmer (68 to 75°F). Transplant into the garden or container when they have at least 2 sets of true leaves.
To sow the seeds outdoors, place them on top of well-worked soil, then sprinkle a fine layer of vermiculite on top of them. If you are sowing directly into the garden, consider placing a row cover over the seeds until they sprout.
- Harvest sprigs from the plant as you need them all season long.
- Try to pick mint in the morning, when the flavorful oils are strongest.
- Plant your mint where passersby will brush the foliage, which releases its heady aroma.
- For new plants from your old ones, root a stem cutting in a glass of water, or divide the entire plant into sections and replant each division.
Growing Tips for Mint Plants
- Mint thrives best in partial shade and rich, moist soil. However, it is famously unfussy, so chances are it will not only survive but flourish in any light from full sun to deep shade, and any quality of soil provided the drainage is decent. Many gardeners deliberately plant it in less favorable conditions to slow down its spread!
- Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart in the garden.
- Throughout the growth months, pinch off the tips of the stems. This makes your plant bushier and less leggy.
- Avoid using fertilizer on mint.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
Mint’s greatest advantage — its utter ease of growth — is also one of its biggest problems. Do not plant it in an area where other plants must compete for space. If you want it in the garden but without the rapid spread, set it into a container instead, and use a saucer at the base to prevent the roots from growing into the soil below.
Mint: Growing and Planting Instructions
Spearmint Care: Learn How To Grow Spearmint Herbs
Mint is native to the Mediterranean, but spread into Britain and eventually to America. The Pilgrims brought mint with them on their first journey overseas. One of the most favored of the mint plants is spearmint (Mentha spicata). This highly aromatic plant is valued for its culinary, medicinal and cosmetic use.
Spearmint resembles peppermint, though spearmint plants have bright green leaves that are pointed, and lavender flower spikes that grow up to 4 inches (10 cm.) long. When planted in ideal conditions, spearmint will reach a mature height and width of 12 to 24 inches (30 to 61 cm.). Growing spearmint plants in the garden is a rewarding and useful experience.
How to Grow Spearmint
Learning how to grow spearmint isn’t much different than growing other mint plants. Spearmint is a hardy perennial up to USDA plant hardiness Zone 5 that grows best in partial shade with well-draining, rich, moist soil and a pH of 6.5 to 7. Mint is easiest to grow from plants, but you can sow seed once the ground has warmed in the spring. Keep seeds moist until they germinate and thin plants to 1 foot (30 cm.) apart.
Spearmint, once planted takes off quickly and can take over quickly as well. Many people question how to plant spearmint due to its invasive nature. Some cautious gardeners grow spearmint in hanging baskets or containers to avoid having to pull out runners constantly.
Another way to plant spearmint if you want it in the garden is to plant it in a 5-gallon (18 kl.)pot with the bottom cut out. This will help keep the runners of growing spearmint plants from invading other spots of your garden.
Care of Spearmint
As with most types of mint, the care of spearmint is easy. Mint in the garden should be mulched annually to keep the roots cool and moist. Potted mint does best when fertilized monthly during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer.
Divide plants every two years to keep them healthy. Prune potted plants regularly to keep neat and tidy. If you live in an area with very cold winters, it is best to bring potted spearmint indoors and place in a sunny window.
Knowing how to plant spearmint correctly in the garden will provide you with years of lasting beauty and usefulness.
One of the most favored of the mint plants is spearmint. This highly aromatic plant is valued for its culinary, medicinal and cosmetic use. Read here for information on the care of spearmint in the garden.