Mint is a perennial herb that can live more than three years. Its botanical name is Mentha. It is very fragrant with fruity, aromatic taste. It is a herb that is super easy to grow with plenty of benefits.
Mint is an exuberant spreader, which will grow 10–120 cm in length and can spread over an indeterminate area so one needs to be careful where you plant it. It is a calming and soothing herb that can be used fresh or dried in many dishes and in different infusions.
It has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food item we consume. If you pluck mint with bare hands, you will notice a pungent scent that stays on for hours.
The benefit of Growing Mint at Home
- It is a great source of oral care as it has tons of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- It is also very helpful in clearing pimples, soothing itchy skin and repelling bugs.
- It is full of antioxidants which can give your skin a natural glow.
- Smelling mint leaves helps to feel less stressed and depressed as it relaxes and calms your body and mind.
- The refreshing smell of mint leaves acts as a remedy for curing headaches.
- It is a perfect solution to solve the problem of indigestion.
- It adds to the taste of food when used for garnishing.
- It can be used as a digestive aid by making and consuming mint tea.
- The paste of mint leaves is helpful in reducing dark circles.
Planting, Growing and Harvesting Mint
Mint can be grown very easily at home itself. you should also read How to Grow Marigold from Cuttings.
There are three ways of growing mint:
- From seed
- From stem
- or from roots
It requires minimal care while growing. It is an indoor plant that prefers to grow in shade, therefore, make sure to keep the potted plant away from direct sunlight. The potted plant can be kept in morning sunlight till 12 noon and then it should be moved in the shade.
For indoor plants, make sure to water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but do not overwater them. Mint at the initial stage of growing acts like a very well behaved plant but due to its ability to spread vigorously need space to grow and can spread very easily.
Growing mint in pots or gardens is quite an easy task. Using some tools for this purpose will definitely ease the entire job. I would definitely recommend you to have these tools.
- A seedling tray. It is better to use clay pots or tray- if you have one, else you can try some quality plastic seedling tray. The quality of a seedling tray or pot is crucial for the rate of seed germination.
- Cocopeat is another necessary product that you should have if you are a hobby gardener. It is good for the germination process. cocopeat not only keeps the soil light but also retains moisture for a longer duration.
- A sterilize cutter or pruner. It is one of the most important tools for almost every type of cutting job in the garden. This is really handy and effective. Obviously, this tool is required for cutting or deadheading dead stems effectively.
- A water sprayer is something, without which a gardener feels alone in his or her garden. At least I use them a lot, they are handy and very easy to use. Watering using a sprayer is mostly required for seedlings. Other than that you can use these for spraying fungicides or insecticides whenever needed.
Preparing everything for growing mint
Are you ready to grow fresh mints in your garden? If yes then very good if not then follow this checklist for easy-going mint farming.
- First thing first, You need some quality mint seeds. If you don’t have some, then check out my favorite variety.
- Wanna grow mint with stem, Do you have some healthy mint stems? If yes, very good, if not, don’t worry. Go to your nearest grocery store, head toward the fresh vegetable section. There you can find different types of fresh mint. Buy some and use the leaves in the kitchen and the stems are used for re-growing them.
- You need a glass jar or container or a water bottle in which you are planning for the water only method. Trust me this is the easiest way to grow mint in-home or indoor.
- You will need a pot and some quality soil to grow mint form stem. checkout the potting mix I use to grow these in my garden.
- Find a place with warm surroundings and an abundance of indirect sunlight. This is not that difficult I think. Actually, I am sure you will easily find such a decent location for your mint plants.
Growing Mint through Seeds:
I hope you are fully prepared for growing mint from seeds. Have you looked at the checklist given above? Yes, or No. I know you are smart but my list can help you to become smatter. After all growing mint is not rocket science.
Ok, before staring, tell me one thing- How do you know that the seeds you have are really good to grow. Are they really as good as written on the packet? I know what will you say, leave it.
One last thing, just for the sake of the garden nerds- The mint seeds are really very tiny and you can observe some black or brown seeds – either is good to grow. Generally, these are of rounded structure but don’t worry if you saw some shrunk ones.
Steps to Grow mints from Seeds-
- Always use the best quality of seeds with high germination to grow mint. Quality mint seeds can be purchased from the market or from online stores.
- Fill the pot with potting soil and firm it with your hands to make a flat surface. The pot should be wide enough as mint requires space to spread. I would recommend using a flat seedling tray instead of a pot.
- Moisten the soil and sprinkle the seeds in the soil. First-time water the soil thoroughly. This moisture will help the seeds to germinate.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. I would suggest only 1 or 2 mm soil is enough for mint. In fact, I recommend using cocopeat in place of soil for this purpose.
- Water the pot so as to ensure the moisture. Watering is necessary to make the soil moist. You may have to water the seedlings for every alternate day. Never let the soil dry completely.
- After 10 -15 days you will see the sprouts growing. The sprouts of mints are really very tiny so always take care during watering.
- It will take 30 to 40 days for the mint plant to mature.
Tips: – If you want to get higher yield then add some manure and organic fertilizer in the soil before sowing seeds. Mint is a green leafy herb so any Nitrogen-based fertilizer will also do the job. There is no need to fertilize these plants even in 3 months.
Growing mint without seeds with the help of stem:
There are two ways to grow mint through the stem. It can grow in water as well as from the cuttings of the stem.
Growing Mint in water
Growing mint in water is the easiest way to propagate the mint plant, but it is sometimes tricky. Actually the stems of the mint are soft so they can survive heavy moisture. So you have to keep the balance of water in the container or glass.
- Choose a stem that is at least 4 to 6 inches long. Longer and healthy stems are better for this purpose.
- Make sure the stem is not flowering and inspect the chances of weed problems. Flowering stems do not produce roots easily so avoid them for this purpose.
- Remove all the leave from the bottom leaving a few leaves on the top. In fact, just leave the top 3 or 4 leaves, that will do the task.
- Place the stem into the water bottle or glass and place it on the window that receives proper sunlight. Importantly don’t submerge the entire stem in water. Use 2-3 inches of water is best for this purpose.
- Remember to change the water every 3 to 4 days. Changing water will refill nutrition and keep the stems healthy.
- After 3 to 4 weeks mint cutting will develop a very nice set of roots. Fine white bunch of roots can be easily observed in a transparent container.
- Dig a hole in a pot with potting soil and place the mint cutting into it. Use flat containers if you have any. Mint doesn’t require very deep pots. Any shallow and wide container can be used for growing mints.
- Water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist. Watering is always necessary.
- Keep the potted mint plant away from direct sunlight. in summer keep these plants in the semi-shade region. They require a warm climate but if the temperature is above 30 then they can die.
- It will take 30 to 40 days for the mint plant to mature completely.
Tips:- Fertilise the soil before plant the mint cuttings. Keep the plants in shade for the first week, this will help them to adapt and develop root. Plant these cutting at least 4-6 inches apart. Always remember these are rapid growers, so even a single plant can fill the entire garden.
Growing mint through Cuttings of stem:
This method is pretty much a combination of the above two methods for growing mint. In fact, It is easy and very handy. As you need not do anything once you placed the stems in the soil. It is easy but requires some care for healthy growth.
- Take stems of mint plant which can be brought from the local market.
- Remove all the leaves from the stems. Yes, Actually you can remove them all, but I would recommend leaving at least the top two with the stem.
- Choose stems that are at least 4 to 6 inches long. Always use fresh green mint stems, don’t use frozen ones.
- Cut the stems slightly from the nodes i.e. the place where the leaf grows. Trick– try to make a slant cut of nearly 45-60 degrees. The edge should look like the angle between your thumb and index finger when relaxed.
- Put the stems directly into the moist soil with some spacing between them as they are prone to spreading as they grow. Place each stem at least 3-4 inches apart. So that you can take them out easily whenever required.
- Keep the potted stems away from direct sunlight for a few days as it helps the roots to adjust in the new environment. Never let the soil dry, moisture is the crucial part of this method of growing mint.
- Water the plant regularly but do not overdo it. A little amount of water once in a day is good to help the stem grow easily.
- Roots will start growing in 10 to 15 days. Don’t pluck the new plant this time as the new roots are very tiny and soft. they can break and ultimately plant will die.
(Growth of roots after 10 to 15 days of being planted)
- It takes 30 to 50 days for leaves to mature fully in order to be harvested.
- If you want to transplant the plants the wait for at least 20-25 days and once ready take out the plants with care using some tool.
Tips: – Make sure to trim the mint’s flower buds to keep your plant under control. Actually you need fresh leaves not the flowers mostly. Once the plant starts flowering, it will decrease the leaves and rest will shrink to save energy.
Growing mint through roots:
Mint can also be grown from the roots. Again it is not very different from growing with stems just need some extra care.
- Take roots of the mint plant which are 3 to 4 inches long. Obviously, you will not get these from the grocery store- Sorry for that.
- Put the roots directly into the moist soil.
- Keep the potted plant away from direct sunlight for a few days as it helps the roots to adjust in the new environment.
- Water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist.
- Roots will start growing in 10 to 15 days.
- It takes 30 to 50 days for the plant to mature fully in order to be harvested.
Tips: – Growing mint from roots is not commercially recommended but above all it the best natural way for propagating mint. In fact, most of the mint grown in my garden is somehow related to root propagation.
Common Problems with growing mints
Growing mint is really easy. These are really hardy plants, can survive frost and harsh summer. But there are some problems that you can face with mint growing.
The most common problem is pests. In fact, mint is pest tolerant but there are some really nasty pests that are a headache with mint plantation. some of them are-
- spider mites
- snails, and
Other than that overwatering is a major problem for growing mint. Mint can’t survive in soggy soil. You have to make a perfect balance between the water and soil.
Else you can even grow mint in rocky soil full of gravel if you want. It only requires some extra care that’s it.
Get rid of these problems
Pests and insects can be handled both organically and inorganically.
You can prepare some homemade pesticides with ginger, garlic or chilly powder. On the other hand, you can use any chemical fungicide or pesticide if you want.
I would go with the fist option for sure, its healthy and organic way to control pests and insects in the garden.
Benefits and Uses
- Its leaf, fresh or dried, is edible. Fresh mint is usually preferred more over dried mint.
- It is used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams.
- It is a great source of breathing refresher as it helps to remove bad breath odor.
- It can even be used in detox drinks which help to reduce weight in a healthy manner.
- Mint is used as a medicinal herb to treat chest pains.
- It relieves seasonal allergies caused due to change in seasons.
- It contains menthol which helps to relieve sore throat and the common cold.
- It works wonders to solve the problem of indigestion and upset stomach.
- It calms and cools skin affected by insect bites or any other reactions.
- It helps in boosting the immune system.
- Antioxidants present in mint also help to prevent cancer.
- Mint oil is used in environmental friendly insecticides. It has the ability to kill insects like wasps, ants, and cockroaches
- Cosmetics and Beauty:
- Essential mint oil is an important ingredient of many cosmetic products.
- It helps to diminish under eye dark circle
- It has elements that slow down aging and treats acne too.
- It can also be used to maintain oral health as it contains menthol
- For skin, mint can be used to remove dead skin cells, lighten scars and add a natural glow to it.
Mint being an herb is quite safe when consumed in an appropriate amount.
Whereas there are a few side effects of consuming peppermint on a long term basis such as heartburn, allergic reaction, headache, etc.
People who tend to chew gum that contain mint have higher memory retention and alertness.
The content of this post is originally created by Roma Lalwani.
You can follow her at @A_vintage_Thought.
Content edited by Sukant– @gardenbagan