Mint is almost too easy to grow. In fact, it’s considered to be a pest by many gardeners, which isn’t surprising since it spreads like wildfire and is all but impossible to get rid of once it’s established. With just a little bit of attention, you can coax even the lankiest mint to fill out into a lush, attractive container specimen. The bonus is that as you cultivate this plant, you’ll be rewarded with a bounty of tasty, fragrant mint.
Plant your mint in a large, well-draining pot of all-purpose potting soil to curb its aggressively, invasive tendencies. Place the pot in the sun or partial shade as soon as all danger of frost has passed, and give it an inch or so of mulch. Keep it evenly moist but not soggy or wet.
Pinch new growth tips out frequently throughout the growing season to promote branching once the mint plant is about 2 inches tall.
Harvest the mint when it’s about 4 inches tall to further encourage fullness. Remove as much as 1/3 of the foliar volume at any one picking. Cut the stems at ground level with sharp scissors.
Prune the mint by cutting leaves and stems with clean, sharp scissors throughout the growing season. Take major harvests just before the plant blooms, which occurs 2 or 3 times throughout the season, when the concentration of essential oil is at its peak.
Cut the mint plant back to 1 to 2 inches tall several times during the season, right before it flowers, to keep stems tender and prevent them from becoming woody.
Prune the mint back to 1 inch tall in the fall and cover with 2 or 3 inches of mulch to protect it during the winter.