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What are the Best Tips for Growing Mint?

By K. K. Lowen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Mint is a perfect option for inexperienced gardeners because it is a fast-growing plant that spreads rapidly and does not require complicated care. The plants will grow in most types of soil if they have adequate water. Growing mint in areas with partial shade may be helpful, but the plants do thrive in sunny locations.

Although mint is not selective about the type of soil or the amount of light it receives, it is important to choose a location in which the soil is moist but well-drained. Growing mint does not require shade if the plants frequently receive water, but a partially shady area may help the soil retain moisture and reduce the need to water the plants. Drainage is also essential because mint does not grow well in saturated soil.

To prepare outdoor gardens for planting, mixing compost into the soil should be sufficient. Gardeners should avoid using animal manure that may have weed seeds in it because mint grows in dense patches that make thorough weeding difficult to accomplish. When growing mint indoors, purchasing high quality potting soil may be a good idea because soil from the garden may be too heavy and dry out too quickly for use in pots.

Seeds or saplings will work well in an outdoor garden or indoors. If planting seeds outdoors, spring planting will provide the longest possible growing season. Growing mint indoors from seeds and then transplanting the saplings into the garden may work as well. When planting saplings, space them one foot (30.48 cm) apart, or if using seeds, thin the plants after they have sprouted.

Growing mint in a garden requires additional fertilizer only when the soil is particularly bad for planting, but providing a small amount of fertilizer to plants grown in containers may be helpful. Fertilizing the plants once each month is usually sufficient. Mint should receive as little fertilizer as possible because too much fertilizer can diminish the essential oils that provide mint’s flavor and aroma.

It is a good idea to keep mint away from other plants because they spread rapidly both above and underground, killing other plants in the process. To contain the roots and prevent the strangulation of other plants, it may be helpful to dig a patch one foot deep and line it with plastic, refilling the hole with soil before planting. Growing mint in its own garden located a considerable distance from other plants is another option, but the easiest method may be to plant the mint in containers. Planting in containers also allows gardeners to bring the mint inside when the weather becomes cold.

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Discussion Comments
By amypollick — On Jun 29, 2011

"Spreads rapidly" is right. I love mint, but you have to keep it contained. In a season, it will absolutely take over. Great if you have bare spots in your yard, but not so good if you're trying to keep other plants alive. It will take the place.

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