How Do You Grow Mint: Expert Tell You

Learn how to grow mint in your garden with expert tips on choosing the right variety, preparing soil, planting, caring, and harvesting fresh leaves. [mint]

Choosing the Right Mint Variety for Your Garden

There are many mint varieties to choose from depending on hardiness, flavor, and growth rate. Spearmint and peppermintremain the most popular choices for home gardens due to their robust growth and distinct flavors. Other mint varieties like apple mint, chocolate mint and orange mint offer interesting alternatives for enthusiasts seeking variety.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

mint, soil, green corn plant during daytime
Photo by Francesca Alloisio / Unsplash

Preparing the Perfect Soil for Mint Plants

Well-draining soil is essential for growing mint.Before planting, loosen the existing soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Compost helps enrich the soil with nutrients and improve aeration and water retention. Add:

  • 3 to 4 inches of shredded leaves or composted manure
  • 1 to 2 inches of peat moss to improve the soil structure
  • Coarse sand to promote drainage

The optimal soil pH for mint is between 6.0 and 7.0. To raise the pH:

  • Test the soil pH using a meter
  • Add lime according to package instructions for your soil type

For example,for every 1000 square feet,add:

  • 20 to 50 pounds of granular lime if the soil pH is below 5.5
  • 10 to 20 pounds of lime if the soil pH is between 5.5 and 6.0.

Till the compost ,lime and sand amendments into the top 8 to 12 inches of soil. Rake the soil surface level and break up any clumps to ensure a loose,friable soil for the mint roots.

mint, mint plant, green plant with white flowers
Photo by Kashyap Patel / Unsplash

Planting and Watering Mint: Best Practices

For best results, plant mint in early spring after the last frost. Mint can be grown from seeds or transplants:


  • Sow the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost
  • Plant the seedlings outdoors after the danger of frost has passed
  • Space seedlings 12 to 18 inches apart in well-draining soil


  • Purchase young plants from your local nursery
  • Plant the transplants into the ground after the last frost
  • Space transplants 12 to 18 inches apart

Water mintplants deeply and regularly, but avoid wetting the foliage to prevent fungal diseases:

  • Water newly planted transplants once a week
  • Water established mint plants when the top few inches of soil become slightly dry
  • Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses for deep,consistent watering

During the growing season, apply a layer of mulch around the plants to conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds.The optimal soil temperature for mint growth ranges from 65 to 75°F.Monitor soil temperature before planting and provide shade for mint in very hot climates.

mint, soil, yellow tulips in bloom during daytime
Photo by Steven Weeks / Unsplash

Caring for Mint: Pruning and Pest Control

Regular pruning is important for maintaining healthy mint plants. Pruning encourages mint to produce several upright stems instead one single, sprawled stem.

How to prune mint:

  • Use pruners to cut stems back to the base shortly after mint has finished flowering
  • Prune again in late summer or early fall to encourage new growth
  • Continue cutting back new stems as they grow taller than 8 to 12 inches

Several pests can damage mint plants, but many organic controls are effective:


  • Spray plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil every 5 to 7 days
  • Look for ladybug larvae and other beneficial insects that prey on aphids

Spider mites:

  • Hose plants down with strong spray of water every few days to dislodge mites
  • Spray neem oil or insecticidal soap,focusing spray on undersides of leaves

Japanese beetles:

  • Handpick beetles from plants and drop in soapy water
  • Spray plants with neem oil or insecticidal soap in morning or evening when beetles are less active

Monitor mint plants regularly for signs of pest damage or disease. Isolate or destroy severely affected stems to prevent spread.

mint, soil, man in black suit jacket holding silver spoon
Photo by Hashem Rahmani / Unsplash

Harvesting and Storing Fresh Mint Leaves

Harvest mint leaves throughout the growing season as needed. Avoid harvesting more than one-third of the plant at once to ensure regrowth.

There are two common ways to harvest mint:

• Harvest individual stems by pinching or cutting them at the base. This encourages bushier growth.

• Cut entire stems with full-size leaves. Use pruners or scissors to cut 4 to 6 inch stems.

After harvesting, rinse mint leaves gently undercool running water to remove soil particles and debris. Shake off excess water and lay leaves on paper towels or a lint-free cloth.

Allow mint leaves to dry completely – about 30 minutes – then pat gently with more paper towels. Place thoroughly dried leaves in an airtight container like mason jars or plastic bags.

Store fresh mint leaves in the refrigerator where they will remain crisp for 2 to 3 weeks. For longer storage:

• Place dried mint leaves in an airtight jar then cover with olive oil. This will preserve leaves for up to 6 months.

• Freeze freshly harvested mint leaves in sealed bags for up to 1 year. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Properly stored fresh mint leaves retain most of their flavor, aroma and nutrients for many months. Use harvested mint leaves in teas, salads, sauces and more!

mint, mint plant, green leafed plant at daytime
Photo by Al Kawasa / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

How much sun does mint need?

Mint thrives best in partial or filtered sunlight. Avoid planting mint in areas that get hot afternoon sun. Dappled sunlight is ideal for robust mint plants.

What dishes use mint?

Mint is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes, Greek cuisine, British cooking, juleps, mojitos, mint tea, fruit salads, lamb dishes, chutneys, desserts, and cocktails.

Can mint be grown indoors?

Yes, mint can be grown indoors in pots. Place potted mint in an area with indirect sunlight. Keep soil moist but not soggy. Fertilize monthly during growing season.

What does mint taste like?

Mint has a refreshing, cooling, sweet, and sharp taste. The flavor is a mixture of peppery and earthy with a subtle bitterness and pungency.

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