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Introduction on how to grow mint in containers
Mint is a very well known herb. It’s used as tea plant, for cocktails and has many other uses. Mint is also a very easy plant to grow outdoors, indoors, in the soil or in a pot. I might even say, it’s better to grow the plant in a pot than in full soil.
In this article, I will explain as much as possible about the mint plant so you know how to grow mint in containers or in the garden, like a pro.
what is mint?
Mint or in Latin Mentha, has been part of our gardens for years and years.
The plant was already mentioned in Greek mythology. So, we could say, it’s a human companion plant.
There are between 13 and 18 different species of mint. All of them thrive near pools of water, rivers, and lakes. They love a shady spot in hot weather.
Mint plants are fast growing and some of them have the tendency to be invasive. By means of runners, the plants will spread all over the place and can outcompete many other plants and vegetables.
Mint is a perennial in most cases. Some information sources talk about annual mint but I haven’t found any until now.
where to grow mint plants?
I called this article how to grow mint in containers because it’s really easy to grow the plant in containers. It’s even better to grow mint in containers due to its invasive nature.
In nature, mint grows in places with really moist soil. The plant will thrive around rivers, lakes, and pools of water. As soon as it gets the chance, the plant will grow runners and roots spreading the plant and taking over the land foot by foot.
A well-draining moist soil with good fertility will give an abundance of mint to use for flavoring, teas, and desserts.
I would recommend growing the mint plants in a container, even if you put it in the ground. Just remove the bottom of a quite deep pot and plant it in the soil, in that pot. By using a bottomless pot you will stop the runners from growing all over the place, taking over your garden.
When to grow mint?
Growing mint is so easy, you can start taking cuttings or planting seeds in the middle of the winter if you are indoors.
Outside, you have to take into consideration the outside temperature. In our temperate climate mint dies back in the winter only to come back in spring. So, starting your seedlings in the greenhouse about 2 weeks before the last frost will give you plants you can plant outside after the last frost has gone.
In warmer climates, mint will just keep on growing and it doesn’t really matter when to start the plants, especially if you start from cuttings.
Taking care of mint.
It isn’t much you have to do to take care of mint.
MInt is so easy to grow all over the place that, in fact, all you have to do is plant a cutting, a plant or sow a seed and you’ll have mint to harvest through the warm period of the year.
In a container, you have to check the soil daily. Mint loves moist soil and will thrive in it. Don’t let it dry out because this will immediately show in dead leaves and a drying out plant.
You can prune whenever you want as soon as it’s big enough. So, each time you want to harvest, you can.
There is even one reason you really have to prune the plant. Prune it when you see flowers popping up. Letting the mint go to flower will change the taste of the leaves and it will also make the leaves smaller. So, pruning the plant when flowering, stops the plant from weakening through flower buds.
transplanting or planting mint
As you might already have guessed. Transplanting or planting mint is really easy.
You can easily start your mint plants in small pots and transplant them into bigger containers as soon as the plant is growing up.
Planting and transplanting mint are even advised instead of sowing.
Sowing will not give the same plants as the mother plant. So it’s better to take cuttings and growing these cuttings in water until they have roots.
Once a cutting has roots, you can easily plant it in a small pot and let it grow out for a while until you can transplant it into a bigger container. Of course, you can also plant the cutting directly in a bigger plant. It will start sending out runners as soon as it has grown for a short period.
Knowing how to grow mint in containers is easy. Harvesting mint is as easy.
Once the plant is big enough, you can start harvesting the leaves and branches.
You don’t have to worry about stressing the plant too much because mint can take a lot of abuse.
There are two kinds of harvest you’ll have to take care off with mint plants.
The first kind of harvesting is the one most people think about. It’s the harvesting of the leaves to use in your tea, your dessert or cocktail.
The second kind of harvesting is the harvesting of new shoots. You’ll have to harvest new shoots to start new plants in different containers. After a while, the mother plant will start to overgrow and take over the whole pot. As soon as the plant has overtaken the whole plant, you will see smaller leaves, not as useful in the kitchen. Just cut up the root bulb and make 2 or more plants out of it. Once settled, the new plants will start sending out new shoots with bigger leaves.
diseases and pests in how to grow mint in containers.
Aphids tend to come back time after time and every gardener has to deal with them sooner or later. While sucking out the life of your plants, aphids can spread diseases with their saliva.
You can treat the infestation with a hard spray of water or with a homemade insecticidal soap mixture. In any case, you’ll have to treat several times. Keep an interval of 5 to 7 days to kill off the critters and the eggs.
Spider mites, from the family Tetranychidae, will weave webs, mostly on the underside of leaves. They are not insects, they belong to the spider-like animals or arachnids.
Once they take over the whole plant will be covered in web.
In the beginning, you can see yellow dots on your leaves. If you look at the underside of the leaf, you’ll see the critters. Not all spider mites make visible webbing but there’s always a sign when they are around.
Spider mites are really small and difficult to see with the eye. But if you shake a leaf above a white sheet of paper, you will see some of them falling off the leaf onto the paper.
Mint rust or Puccinia Menthae
Mint rust will show itself with small, bright orange pustules on the underside of the leaves. The new emerging shoots can give the impression there’s a lack of nutrients due to their size and form.
Make sure you check the whole plant before you decide to fertilize the plant.
Eventually, the leaves will start falling off the plant.
I read of a treatment on the internet that uses hot water.
I have never tried this but I wanted to mention it because it could be useful to some of you people. Emerge the roots of the plant in water of 44°C or 111°F for 10 minutes. Then cool the roots with cool water (tap water). Afterwards, you can plant the roots as usual.
I haven’t had many problems with my mint plants until now. There are some pests and diseases that may show up. And I will amend the article on how to grow mint in containers, as soon as I come into contact with a certain disease or pest.
So this is it for this article on how to grow mint in containers. I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.