Mint is the signature plant of those who don’t know how to grow anything at all, because it can in fact be grown by those who don’t know how to grow anything at all.
But just like it’s easy to splatter some paint on a canvas in kindergarten, growing succulent, fine, juicy, fragment, sexy mint like a true artist is a different story all together. Any half-conscious millennial can throw some mint in a pot and produce a plant better suited to a crown of thorns than a blender. But that’s no fun.
In this article I’ll teach you how to grow mint so minty it’ll be the most mint herb you ever grew.
Step one: Choosing a variety to plant
Spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, banana mint, mint mint – there’s a million of the things. Go have a good sniff and see what you like. Mix and match. Breed a single master race. You’re in control here.
On a practical note – you’ll want to grow from a seedling or a cutting. Trust me on this one. Growing mint from seeds is like buying a house with a deposit saved from your coin stash. Good luck with that.
Step two: Potting
You most definitely want to pot your mint, with other mint and with other mint only. Put mint in the outdoor garden and its like an 18thcentury British empire. No land is safe.
Similarly, potted with other types of herbs and your mint will take no prisoners – it only plays nice with its own kind. Choose a pot that’s got a wide surface area; mint doesn’t mind shallow but it does need room to spread laterally a bit.
It will also grow best in well-draining soil – aside from that it isn’t too fussy. I’ve found that mixing a decent organic potting mix with about 1/3 succulent/cacti mix is a winning combo. Alternatively ¼ perlite would do the trick. Don’t compact too hard.
When you plant, water in well and make sure the leaves are clean and don’t have any dirt residue on them.
Step three: Position
You’ve got some wiggle room here generally, thanks to Australia’s warm climate, but for best results you’ll want a partial shade to full indirect light position.
If you’ve got a eastern window sill that’s perfect, or a northern window set back a bit is quite good also. Anywhere that gets moderate to full indirect light will work just fine.
Variegated varieties don’t look too much direct light, so a west or eastern window works best here.
East or north facing windows work well
Step four: Watering
Mint likes to be moist. A dry tolerant plant this is not.
At the same time overwatering will not make for a happy mint either. If you’ve used the right soil that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Wait until the very top layer of soil looks like its close to dry (if you pop a finger in it should still be moist 1cm beneath) and then 1-2 cups of water will do the trick depending on your pot / container size.
Most mint plants will need watering every second to third day; in summer and depending on position it might need daily watering.
Step five: Feeding
I find that mint doesn’t need much in the way of fertiliser, and the leaves are made for easing – so you don’t want to dump liquid fertiliser over them either.
The way to go here is a good, dry organic compost – if you want to get real fancy Janice you can mix some worm castings in – placed around the base of the stems once a year in growing season (more on that soon).
Make sure you water in well so there’s no compost residue on your leaves lest they burn.
Step six: Advanced techniques
Ok, so tips 1-5 are run of the mill how to grow a healthy mint plant stuff. Necessary but not that exciting. You’ll grow lots of mint that way, but you’ll need a few other tricks to keep it delicate and fresh so you can make el primo smoothies and cocktails.
Mint goes dormant once a year, and it’s important you know when. The trick is, this depends on your climate.
In cooler climate areas (Tasmania for example) the mint will go dormant in winter. But if you live in a really hot climate, like Queensland – your mind may in fact go dormant in summer. You’ll recognise the dormant season by seeing the mint die down a bit and thin out, becoming a bit woody. Don’t panic. Its normal.
What to do in the dormant season? Get your scissors out and cut it back like you were preparing for a hot date. I mean go to town on that bad boy. Cut back 50-60% of the plant leaving 2-3 inches of stems. Otherwise treat it like normal. Don’t fertilise.
It’ll come back thicker and stronger when growing season starts again.
Pruning and picking
The other trick to keeping the mind slim and succulent is to not leave it to grow untamed for long. You should be constantly picking for use, or if you don’t have need for any of the green goodness, you should still trim it back every 3-4 weeks at the most.
Mint loves to be treated men so don’t be shy. Just don’t cut back more than 1/3 during growing season.
If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a thick wood stemmed plant that breaks your nutri bullet.
Raising a mint army
Once you’ve nailed it with plant 1, you can share the love with friends or start to build your mint forces.
Propogating is easy; take a horizontal runner that is rooted and cut it away from a leaf node. A 4-5 inch stem is good.
Now you have two options. You can either pop it into a glass of water and wait until it forms a root ball before potting, or you can plant straight away.
Mint is fairly pest tolerant, which is cool. I don’t recommend using any sprays on it, especially if eating it. Instead, if you do see some pesky bugs, just pick those leaves off and give it a good spray with water; the mint loves to be manhandled.
If you have a really bad pest problem, then treat with the appropriate treatment and then when clear, cut back and encourage new growth.
And that’s it my friends. The secret to minty success. Now you’ll rock some delicious and succulent smoothy goodness for years to come. Enjoy.
Miss Pot Plant