Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for Mint Plants

...
mint image by Lytse from Fotolia.com

Plants in the mint family grow rapidly and produce aromatic leaves often harvested for culinary use. Hardy to -20 degrees F, mint plants grow throughout the United States and may become invasive if not properly controlled. Gardeners value these fragrant perennial herbs not only for their use as flavoring and garnish, but also for their attractive form in the garden. Most varieties of mint produce small blossoms, but allowing the plants to flower reduces the flavor and intensity of the leaves. Although grown primarily outdoors, mint planted in containers is less likely to invade other areas of the garden.

Choose a planting site for mint that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Spread a 4-inch layer of aged manure over the planting site and use a garden tiller to work it into the soil to increase drainage and fertility to adequate levels.

  • Plants in the mint family grow rapidly and produce aromatic leaves often harvested for culinary use.
  • Hardy to -20 degrees F, mint plants grow throughout the United States and may become invasive if not properly controlled.

Plant mint in a container filled with prepared soil from the planting site. Plant the entire container in the ground to confine the root system and eliminate the plant's invasive growth habit. Plant so the container's rim is at least 1 inch below the surface of the soil.

Irrigate mint plants once per week, soaking the soil to a depth of 1 to 2 inches at each application. Decrease the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during winter when active growth has ceased.

Fertilize once per year during early spring before active growth resumes. Use a slow-release 16-16-16 NPK fertilizer at a rate of 1 tsp. per plant. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the correct application procedure.

  • Plant mint in a container filled with prepared soil from the planting site.

Harvest fresh mint leaves during the active growing season for optimal flavor. Pinch off as many leaves as desired, but do not remove more than 50 percent of the plant's foliage during any given week or the plant will have trouble recovering.

Use pruning shears to cut back mint plants twice per year, once in late spring and again in mid-summer. Reduce the height of the plant to about 6 inches to encourage a more healthy, compact growth habit. Harvest any desired foliage prior to cutting back the plant.

Tip

Store mint leaves by hanging them upside down in bundles to dry.

Plant mint directly in the ground without planting in a container first only if you aren't concerned about the plant's rapid spreading.

Related Articles

How to Harvest and Store Oregano
How to Harvest and Store Oregano
How to Make a Mint Plant Fuller
How to Make a Mint Plant Fuller
How to Freeze Mint Leaves
How to Freeze Mint Leaves
How to Grow a Mint Plant in Florida
How to Grow a Mint Plant in Florida
The Best Herbs for Growing Outdoors
The Best Herbs for Growing Outdoors
How to Care for a Chocolate Mint Plant
How to Care for a Chocolate Mint Plant
How to Keep Fresh Cut Mint Fresh
How to Keep Fresh Cut Mint Fresh
Can I Plant Rosemary & Basil Together?
Can I Plant Rosemary & Basil Together?
How to Care for a Chive Plant
How to Care for a Chive Plant
Flowering Plants With Flavors Similar to Fennel & Licorice
Flowering Plants With Flavors Similar to Fennel & Licorice
The Best Herbs to Grow in Zone 10
The Best Herbs to Grow in Zone 10
Difference Between a Spearmint Plant and a Peppermint Plant
Difference Between a Spearmint Plant and a Peppermint...
Types of Mint Leaves
Types of Mint Leaves
How to Keep a Basil Plant Alive
How to Keep a Basil Plant Alive
How to Save Mint Seeds
How to Save Mint Seeds
Herbs That Grow Well in Ohio
Herbs That Grow Well in Ohio
Garden Guides
×