How to Grow Mint Leaves


Mint has a refreshing taste, and is valued for its use in drinks, cooking and scenting the home. Many types of mints are available, all members of the genus Mentha. Choose from applemint, spearmint, peppermint, and their varieties, including pineapple mint, chocolate mint and orange mint.

Step 1

Buy a mint plant, usually sold as 4-inch starts. Visit a nursery that sells four or five varieties and choose the one with the scent you prefer. If you plan on drying the leaves, ask for recommendations from a nursery salesperson, since varieties differ in the amount of oil retained during drying.

Step 2

Choose a spot for your mint that will be easy to water, since mints prefer moist soil. Full sun will give the maximum amount of flavor to the leaves, though plants grow well in partial shade. Plan on a 2- to 3-foot-wide plant within a year or two, since each start spreads quickly by underground stems called runners. Mints also do well in containers, if you wish to keep the roots from overwhelming smaller plants. You may also surround your patch with plastic border edging.

Step 3

Spread 2 to 4 inches of peat moss, steer manure, compost or other organic matter over the top of the soil, in a 2-foot diameter circle. If you have heavy clay or very sandy soil, use the larger amount. Loose, rich, moisture-retaining soil produces healthy plants, and healthy plants are resistant to pests and disease.

Step 4

Mix the organic matter into the soil, using a shovel or garden fork. Mints have fairly shallow roots, so don't worry about improving the soil more than 6 or 8 inches down.

Step 5

Dig a hole big enough for your mint start, take it out of the pot and spread the roots out with your fingers. Place the start in the hole and firm the soil around it, making sure all air spaces are filled with soil. Water well.

Step 6

Fertilize with liquid fish fertilizer once or twice during the first month after planting, mixing according to the directions on the bottle.

Tips and Warnings

  • Mint is subject to both insect and disease attack, especially in large commercial plantings. If you notice any yellow or spotted leaves, remove that stem immediately to prevent spreading. Regular watering and good soil should prevent most problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss, steer manure, compost or other organic matter
  • Shovel or garden fork
  • Fish fertilizer


  • Mint
  • Growing Mint
Keywords: growing mint, mint varieties, mint leaf crop

About this Author

Over the past 30 years, Mara Grey has sold plants in nurseries, designed gardens and volunteered as a Master Gardener. She is the author of "The Lazy Gardener" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening" and has a Bachelor of Science in botany.