How to Grow Mint | The complete guide + 11 Hot Tips

Growing mint in your garden is easy if you keep mint in a container, prune it regularly and add organic fertilizers like pelleted chicken manure. Plant mint in part shade and water it regularly for lots of healthy leaves. Mulch with bark mulch and use compost rich soil. Take cuttings from your mint and place it in water to sprout new mint plants.

Hot Tips for Growing Healthy Mint

  1. Keep your mint contained in your garden.
  2. Prune your mint regularly to keep it fresh.
  3. Care for mint in winter by trimming and adding organic fertilizer.
  4. Plant your mint in part shade if you live in a hot climate.
  5. Water your mint regularly.
  6. Deal with pests and diseases organically.
  7. Use a pot with the bottom cut out to contain it in your garden.
  8. Take cuttings from mint to grow new plants for free.
  9. Fertilize once per year with an organic fertilizer.
  10. Use bark mulch around mint if you contain mint in a garden bed.
  11. Use a compost rich, well-draining soil topped up with aged cow manure.
Healthy mint growing in my garden.

Mint is a hardy herb that is great in the kitchen. It is easy to grow and I always have some growing in my garden. You can grow it in a container or in your garden if you keep it contained. Check out my tips on growing mint at home.

Guide to Growing Mint

Here are some easy tips to successfully grow mint at home.

Keep your mint contained

It is best to contain your mint plant in a pot or in an enclosed garden bed. Mint grows very fast and will grow and multiply by runners that are sent out by the plant. The nodes on the runners will grow root when touching soil and is how the plant grows bigger.

When we first moved into our townhouse there was mint planted in my main garden bed under my orange tree. It was slowly taking over the front garden and took me a few weeks to find and pull out all of the runners.

I have planted out some mint in a contained area of my front garden where the soil is moist, shallow and blocked off on all sides by bricks and paths. If you want to plant mint out in a garden bed, make sure it is completely contained or you can plant it in a pot with the bottom cut out.

Mint was one of the first plants I had growing in my garden. Eventually the roots grew through the bottom of the pot so I moved it onto harder ground next to my garden bed to stop it taking over.

How to prune mint

Pruning mint correctly is important to keep it growing strong and to give you lots of fresh mint for the kitchen.

When you pick your mint you will naturally prune the mint and trim off the ends of the stems. If you are not using enough mint in the kitchen, use garden secateurs or sharp kitchen scissors to trim the top 2-3 inches off the stems during the growing season in spring and summer.

In winter you can prune mint back harder, leaving only 3-4 inches of stem above the ground.

When you prune mint you will get new growth with soft, delicious stems that you can cook with. When mint is grown without pruning, the stems can get woody and are not great for cooking.

Prune mint back when it dies off in cooler weather. It will regrow when the weather warms up in spring.

How to care for mint in winter

Mint will go dormant in winter, especially if you live in a cool area. The leaves will die back and the stems will go a darker color. Looking after mint is easy in winter, here are the steps I use.

  1. Trim mint down leaving the stems around 2-3 inches long.
  2. Water the mint well after trimming the stems.
  3. Add a small handful of pelleted chicken manure.
  4. Repot your mint if it has been in the pot for 2-3 years.

Where to plant mint

Mint will grow in full sun or part shade so is really easy to grow. I have had the best results growing mint in part shade because I can keep the soil moist which the mint loves. If you live in a very hot climate, mint will grow best if they get shade in the afternoon.

Guide to watering mint

Mint likes regular water and will grow well if it gets all the water it needs. Mint grown in containers needs special attention as it will dry out quicker. Water mint at least 2-3 times per week depending on the rainfall in your area.

Check the soil in the pot around 1 inch down to see if it has dried and add extra water. This will keep your mint growing green, healthy and strong.

Pests and diseases

Mint is very hardy so it is very easy to address any pests. I don’t use any pesticides or herbicides on my mint as I grow my whole garden organically. Any small caterpillars are easily picked off with garden gloves and any damaged leaves I remove by trimming them off.

The mint will grow back healthy and strong if you give it organic fertilizer and water it well. Mint is a hardy plant so is great for your organic garden. 

How to grow mint in your garden

You can grow mint in a contained area of your garden by planting runners from your original plant or buying small mint seedlings. You will only ever need to buy 1 mint plant because you will be able to take cuttings from it endlessly.

I have transplanted my whole mint plant to a small, shaded area at the front of my house to grow as a ground cover. Only do this if the area is enclosed otherwise you will have mint throughout your whole yard.

Mint will re-sprout when the weather warms up.

How to take mint cuttings

The best way to take mint cuttings is to choose a healthy looking mint stem. I like to dig down a few inches and remove the stem and a piece of the root at least 4 inches long. The root will re-grow from the notes when you transplant it into soil.

  1. Find a healthy strong mint stem from your plant.
  2. Use a small spade or your fingers to dig down and expose around 4 inches of root.
  3. Use secateurs to cut the root and stem away from the plant.
  4. Trim the top of the stem to remove excess leaves.
  5. Plant the root into potting mix or a contained area of your garden.
  6. Water it in well.
You can see new leaves sprouting on this mint root.

How to fertilize mint

Fertilize your mint once per year with an organic fertilizer like pelleted chicken manure, aged cow manure or rich compost. Sprinkle it around the roots of the plant and use a hose to wash any off the leaves.

Water the plant well after adding the fertilizer to start the break down process and so it does not burn the leaves or roots.

Fertilize mint after it has gone dormant in winter. This will allow the fertilizer to start to break down and be in the soil ready for when the mint re-shoots in spring. This is when you plant will need to have nutrients to grow new leaves and stems.

Use pelleted chicken manure to fertilize your mint after trimming it back or re-planting.

Best mulch for mint

If you are planting mint in your garden, the best mulch is bark mulch which will keep the soil moist. If you have mint growing in a container it will fill the whole pot so you will not need to use mulch. The mint itself will shade and protect the soil.

How to grow mint in water

Take a stem cutting from mint and place it in a jar of water. If you can keep a piece of the growing root on the mint stem it will grow quickly into a new plant. You can leave it in the jar for weeks to pick for cooking or plant it out into a container for a new mint plant.

Check out this interesting way to grow lots of mint at once.

Best soil for mint

Mint likes compost rich, well draining soil. If you are planting mint in a container mix together good quality potting soil with ¼ aged cow manure and compost. Give the soil, manure compost a good mix and plant your mint.

This mint has been happily in good quality potting soil and composted cow manure. I am planting it out in a contained area of my front garden as a ground cover.

How to get your mint to grow back every year

Here are the simple steps to get your mint to grow back every year.

  1. Trim back your mint leaving 2-3 inches of stem.
  2. Apply an organic fertilizer like pelleted chicken manure, compost or cow manure.
  3. Water the mint well.

This is the easy way have your mint come back year after year and grow happily in your garden.

Happy mint growing, it is a great herb for your garden and is delicious.

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