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Growing Mint

Category Herbs
Mint is an easy, very aromatic, perennial for growing in the garden; watch out for its amazing ability to spread. This is a guide about growing mint.
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By 0 found this helpful
June 15, 2006

Botanical Name:

Mentha

Common names:

Common mints in the garden include spearmint and crinkled-leafed spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, and pennyroyal (which is toxic and cannot be eaten).
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Description:

Except for pennyroyal, mint grows on upright stems to a height of 1-2 feet high, has aromatic leaves and sends up spikes of small, pink to purple flowers that bloom in the late summer. Pennyroyal, with its small pointed leaves and cluster of pink flowers, creeps along on slender roots and makes a good ground cover. If left unchecked, all mints spread rapidly throughout the garden by way of runners.

Life Cycle:

hardy perennials

Exposure:

full sun to partial shade

Cultivation:

Mint prefers moist, fertile soil and strong afternoon sun. All varieties are considered invasive and should be carefully controlled by growing in pots or employing underground plastic barriers to keep runners from spreading. Mint can be grown in baskets, containers or in outdoor beds. Start plants from cuttings rooted in water or by division. Set transplants in pots buried flush with the soil or in beds spaced 9 to 12 inches apart. Mint growing outdoors should be cut back to 6 inches in the fall and mulched over winter.
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Propagation:

dependent upon type-division, cuttings, runners, or seeds

Parts Used:

leaves

Harvesting and Storage:

Mint leaves can be cut and used fresh as needed or dried or frozen. Store leaves in sealed containers until used.

Medicinal Uses:

antiseptic; appetite stimulant; digestive aid; preventative dentistry; relaxation; nasal decongestant; breath freshener

Culinary Uses

  • peppermint: flavoring for chocolates, candies, ice cream, and other desserts
  • spearmints: flavors sauces, vegetables, cold drinks and teas, fruit dishes, and soups
  • pennyroyal: do not consume

Other Uses:

soap; skin care; garlands; insect repellant; scented candles; laundry rinse; hanging baskets, garden beds, and borders
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December 5, 20061 found this helpful

Like mint tea? I do. And I drink it all day if I want to. If you don't like to pay the high price of it at the store, save $200 for just 2 or 3 hours work. I was able to collect 3 lbs of mint and it lasts me 6 months.

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Grow mint in a 3 ft by 5 ft garden. If you don't want to start it from seed, it grows all over. Believe me, you see it in your neighbor's yard and they usually want to get rid of it. If they have not used chemicals, I go and harvest it there. And then I transplant two or three uncut plants into my own garden because I can have fresh mint for other things like salad. Just make sure you dig up enough of the root.

Harvest before blooming, winter or any time at all! I use a curved vinyl flooring knife to cut the stem of mint above the ground and gather the cuttings in my hand at the bottom. Then when I have a handful, tie them together and hang them in a dry place in the house or shed (where there are no smells). Let the leaves dry out until they are brittle. 1 hour of work so far. I collected half a bale in 1 hour. You can cut some every week in 5 minutes, hang them up and have some every week.

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Later, strip the leaves off the branches into a big clean galvanized pan or bowl. Throw away the stems and save the leaves. Put the dried leaves in a blender and chop them into a coarse powder.

Put them in a airtight container and save for your favorite tea time. Use only 1 teaspoon to make two quarts of tea. It is concentrated because there is no junk or stems in it so "1 teabag" go 10 times further than store bought bags.

By cd4life from DFW, TX

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Questions

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February 1, 20070 found this helpful

Question:

I have mint plants and they almost got frozen last week. Some stems died. Are they evergreen or should I just harvest them now before they go dormant? There is no indication except for the frost damage that they would go dormant.
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Hardiness Zone: 8a

cd4life from DFW Texas

Answer:

cd4life,

No herb garden is really complete without a mint plant or two. As many gardeners here will tell you, killing off your mint is the least of your worries. Mint isn't technically an evergreen in zone 8, but it is a hardy perennial that will gladly return to take over your garden year after year. In fact, I recommend finding a way to contain it next spring. The easiest way is to pot it up and drop the pot back into the ground, but this time in a location away (preferably far away) from the rest of your garden beds. Even when growing in pots in the ground, mint runners are tenacious enough to pop out the drain holes and start new plants. Your mint may be behaving for the moment, but eventually will spread throughout the garden (and over to your neighbors) and become a real headache. For now, discard any damaged or dying leaves and continue harvesting the green ones until they die back. For next year, keep in mind that you can extend your harvest by potting up a few of your plants and bringing them inside to grow in a sunny window over winter.

Ellen

Answers

December 5, 20060 found this helpful

I can tell you that gardening in Michigan is very different from Texas; we already have eight inches of snow and my herb garden is covered in fluffy white! I harvest mint as soon as the leaves are big enough, and before flowering has occurred. One thing I have learned about mint, is that it is VERY hardy, you don't have to worry about hurting it by harvesting too much or too early. I have had mint take over and I started pulling it out like an invasive weed, threw it into the field and it took root out there! You should start to harvest your mint now, before another frost, and pick off the leaves that were frost damaged and throw them away. I have dried herbs by either hanging them upside down or I have used the microwave. Be careful if you use a microwave you can over-dry your herbs and burn them. I use the microwave to dry parsley and it works great, I hang the rosemary to dry, and I hang the thyme too. Good luck with your mint!

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 5, 20060 found this helpful

My mint plants are ever green.

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December 6, 20060 found this helpful

Pick what you can, to use now, but don't worry about your plants. Mint is extremely hardy. I live in Arkansas and have had mint growing in my yard for years. It freezes and dies in winter, but will grow back next spring with a vengence. Trust me--you cannot kill mint!

You may want to contain it though, or it will take over your property. The roots go deep, and a tiny 1/2" piece of stem will root into another plant. It also will go to seed. Soon, you may be sorry that you ever planted it. You will have to sift through every inch of soil to get out all pieces to get rid of it. Then do it again the next year to get the ones you missed and those that grew from seed. And probably the next year too... Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love mint. Just beware. Like the other posting said, if you just throw it on the soil somewhere, it will grow. I gave some to a friend who kills everything, has the worse soil around, and never waters anything. It grew for her.

I've also read several postings that growing mint around the house will keep ants away. Maybe our Southern-ants are a stronger breed, but that does not work around here. I have ant mounds living in my mint beds. And yes, they still come into my house.

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January 15, 20070 found this helpful

Let me also add to this: mint is extremely hardy, even in Michigan winters. The following spring the mint grows from it's many roots and seeds, and is as tough as a dandelion!

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Answer this Question...

January 9, 20120 found this helpful

Is fresh mint tea considered green tea or is there a special process that needs to be done?

By Martha L.

Answers

January 9, 20120 found this helpful

Mint is an herb, so it is considered herbal tea. Mint is very, very easy to grow. I live in northern Ohio, and my mint comes back every year and thrives. I have not made hot tea with it, but I do put it in my iced tea, and I cook with it, and it is wonderful. No special preparation is required. One word of caution - mint will spread like crazy and take your garden or yard over. I planted mine in big pots, and that contains it. Just dig a hole in the ground big enough to hold the pot, leaving a few inches of the pot out of the soil. I love running my hand through the leaves and having that wonderful smell on my hands.

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January 10, 20120 found this helpful

Green tea is actually from the same species of plant as regular black tea. I used to keep a pot of mint growing on the windowsill to make tea. I'd just snip off a few fresh leaves and let them steep for a few minutes in a mug of hot water, with a little sugar or honey added for sweetness. You can strain the leaves out if you like but you don't need to. To dry the leaves you can spread them on a cookie sheet in a low oven and bake until they're crispy and dry. You can freeze chopped mint in ice cubes too for adding to drinks or recipes. :-)

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January 11, 20120 found this helpful

You can buy pure peppermint teabags in the store, that's what I usually do. I want to start growing my own peppermint for my tea, I bought a plant last summer & didn't get it planted, so I'll start this summer hopefully.
On a side not, we had a huge mint plant in the back yard when I was a kid - our beloved Samoyed husky considered it his favorite place to pee - we didn't use it for our tea needless to say, LOL!

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By 0 found this helpful
February 27, 2012

I've tried growing mint in a pot (I live in an apartment) and it doesn't seem to grow. It does okay for a week or so, but then dies. I thought at first I was taking too many leaves from it; I'm not a patient person. What can I do to help the process in a pot?

By TxsRedhead from DFW, TX

Answers

April 11, 20120 found this helpful

Plant food, daily watering, having several pots of mint in your home at various stages of growing. 1 can be the plant you take leaves from because it's ready, and the others can be the various stages of growth, and re-growth, so that you'll always have fresh mint on hand... especially if you're impatient!

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July 31, 20110 found this helpful

It is difficult to germinate mint from seeds. Does anyone have some tips as to how to grow mint from seed?

By Asad from Karachi, Pakistan

Answers

August 2, 20110 found this helpful

If you really want mint, like for the next 100 years, get a cutting from someone who has one. Once established, mint is almost impossible to get rid of! Plant in a pot set on concrete, not dirt! It will send roots down and over to find new places to come up.

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Photos

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By 3 found this helpful
August 19, 2016

Photo Description
I love to go out to my little garden in front of our shed. The beautiful mint and the seeds on top, are just beautiful! Everytime I go out there, I spend a few minutes admiring our little garden!

Photo Location
Hampton, TN

Comment Like this photo? 3

February 27, 2009

This is picture of mint I have in my flower beds. I like to make mint tea with it, winter or summer. Very good.

By Kathleen from Dothan, AL

Growing Mint

Comment Like this photo? Yes
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