After reading these 9 reasons to grow a mint plant, you will definitely do it! Use the mint leaves in recipes, flower arrangements, to repel bugs, and more!
I’m not a life-long herb gardener…but I’ve planted herbs for long enough to know which ones I like and which ones I don’t. My three all-time favorite herbs are rosemary, basil, and mint. There are so many good qualities about all of these herbs, and they are all easy to grow. Even if you have never planted an herb in your life, I promise you can grow these three! If you want to start slow, I recommend beginning with mint. Read on for all the reasons why.
1. Mint is easy to grow and flourishes in containers.
As a perennial herb, mint plants sometimes get a bad rap because if planted in the ground, they can be very invasive. They tend to get carried away, and spread all over the place. The best way to avoid that is to place mint in a container. Make sure your containers have drainage holes, fertile soil, and several hours of sun per day. Adding a bit of compost is a good idea as well. All my herb gardening is done in containers, so I highly recommend it. Container gardening is convenient and perfect for herbs.
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2. Mint plants can be harvested constantly.
Mint grows quickly, so it’s important to harvest mint on a regular basis. Even if a plant is cut all the way back, it will recover itself in a matter of just a week or two. Mint produces runners, which are stems that grow downward, reaching back into the soil. These runners become new mint plants. When growing mint in containers, it’s important to quickly remove any diseased plants. Because it is a fast grower, mint is a great herb to preserve by drying or freezing. Freshly dried mint makes the best tea, and it can also be added to casseroles or used as a dry rub for lamb.
3. Mint can be grown in partial shade or full sun.
Another reason mint is so easy to grow is that it does well in full sun or part shade. So even if your deck or patio faces east, and doesn’t get full afternoon sun, you can still grow healthy and beautiful mint. Mint is a perennial, so it will come back, if the conditions are good. I have grown mint in containers for years, but it wasn’t until last growing season that it came back for the first time. I believe placing my container in full sun helped that happen. Previously, I grew mint on our deck, and it wasn’t in full sun. The mint grew well, but I had to replant every year.
4. There is literally no maintenance, except watering.
There is nothing you need to do to grow healthy mint plants, except water them. My method for planting is simple. I purchase small mint plants, and place them in fresh, fertilized potting soil. I try to water them regularly, especially in the hot weather. I admit that at times I forget, but the mint hangs in there! If you harvest your mint regularly, there is no need to pinch it back, which eliminates one more gardening chore. Watch out for mint rust, which is a fungus that displays orange spots on the mint leaves.
5. Use the mint leaves in delicious recipes.
The flavor of mint brightens the taste of many recipes for food and beverages. Here are some easy ideas for dishes featuring mint!
- Watermelon Mint Salad
- Mint Lemonade Spritzer (pictured above)
- Lavender Mint Tea
- Add mint to a sheet pan of vegetables for added flavor. Include new potatoes, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, fresh peas, or asparagus.
- Make mint ice cubes by placing fresh mint sprigs in the vessels of an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water and freeze. Enjoy the mint cubes in drinks and cocktails.
6. Mint plants repel flies, moths, aphids, spider mites, and mosquitoes.
If you place your herb garden containers on your deck or patio, the scent of the various herbs, including mint, will act as a built-in bug repellent. The scent comes from the essential oil that is naturally in the herbs, and insects tend to avoid it. The more herbs you plant, the less pests you will have! On the plus side, pollinators and butterflies love mint, and the bees aren’t particular about the variety!
7. Mint can be grown indoors.
Even though it grows like crazy outdoors, mint can be grown indoors as well. Make sure to use a pot with good drainage and place the plant in the sun. I like to start herb plants in my kitchen in the early spring, and then move them outdoors when any chance of frost is past.
8. There are different types to choose from.
Here are just a few types of mint:
- Chocolate Mint
- Mojito Mint
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Apple Mint
- Pineapple mint
- Eau de Cologne Mint (Mentha x piperita citrata)
9. It’s beautiful as a garnish or in flower arrangements.
Since mint grows so quickly, there may be times where you actually have too much. When that happens to me, I always harvest it, and use it in my garden flower arrangements. Not only does it add a wonderful touch of green, but fresh mint provides a scent that pairs beautifully with the flowers. Mint has sturdy stems, and it lasts for a long time.
Mint sprigs also make the perfect garnish for salads, desserts, and drinks. It can take an ordinary dish and transform it into something lovely. I especially enjoy using it in drinks. Even plain water turns into something special when you add mint!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does mint come back every year?
Yes. Mint is a perennial that when cut back in the fall, will appear again in the early summer.
Is mint a sun or shade plant?
Both! Mint prefers morning sun, and shade in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest.
How many hours of sunlight does mint need?
Mint does best when it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
So…how do you feel about growing mint?