Mint is a herbaceous perennial which dies back in late Autumn but burst back into life in Spring. The vigorous nature of Mint makes it a relatively easy plant to grow. However it is also a very invasive plant that will spread through the plot if left to its own devices.
Mint sends out lateral root runners under the soil that enable it to surface in another part of your plot and at the same time compete with your other plants for water, nutrients and light.
In this article we examine how to grow Mint successfully without letting it dominate your garden.
The ability to encroach into the space of other herbs and plants in the garden is normally overcome by either growing Mint in containers or by taking measures to prevent the spread of the roots.
Mint will thrive in a sunny position but will also tolerate some shade.
Growing more than one type of Mint
Although Mint will co-exist with other varieties of Mint it is widely believed that the qualities of the flavour and scent of the plants are reduced when doing so. Therefore if you want to have different varieties in a large container then plant the varieties in small sub containers and place these containers in the larger container.
Mint likes a rich, soil that is fairly free draining although it does not like the soil to dry out.
When growing Mint in containers – cnce the root system has filled the pot or container then the plant can be lifted out of the pot and then divided into 3 or 4 plants and then each plant re-potted in the center of a new pot with additional compost to backfill the container.
Do this in spring and these plants will soon put on vigorous growth in their new container. This will help keep your plant healthy and enable it to expand its root system even though it is in a restricted space.
If you find your Mint plants have put on so much growth that you can’t use it all then you can either preserve it (see below) for use over winter or at the very least make sure to keep cutting the growing tips back. This encourages bushy growth rather than having a long straggly plant.
Mint does not like to dry out so make sure to water regularly, especially if in terracotta pots which lose a lot of water through thepot walls. You can line your terracotta pots with old compost bags to help retain moisture.
Before winter you can cut the stems back to a couple of inches above the soil. This will give you a bumper crop of Mint that you can preserve by either:
- Chopping into pieces small enough to put in ice cubes trays, top up with water and freeze. You can then add the required number of ice cubes to drinks (fantastic with Apple juice) or for adding to Gravies / mint sauce etc.
- Tying around the bottom of the stems to create bunches of Mint that can be hung in a ventilated dry space to air dry them.