How to grow mint step-by-step
Would you like to grow mint for free? And to produce a supply that lasts forever? In this article, I’ll show you how you can grow mint in your home or garden without wasting time or money! So let’s get right to it!
Why should I grow mint?
First off, there are some two dozen varieties of mint in the world! Though the one we are talking about is ‘spearmint’ (Mentha spicata), which has a sweet, delicate flavour.
Mint is a refreshingly useful garden herb. You can use it in tea, in smoothies and in salads. We use mint generously in our cooked dishes, where we first dry it and then sprinkle on our cooked yoghurt dishes, (known as ‘laban matbuukh’ in Arabic).
Mint also has several health benefits, assisting in digestion and supplementing your diet with powerful antioxidants. Interestingly, mint is also used by those with excessive hair growth as it counters the hormone responsible for body hair. Fascinating!
The 7 easy steps to grow mint
1. Sow in season
If growing indoors, then that’s great news! You can sow mint at anytime of the year!
If growing outdoors, sow anytime except when the weather outdoors is too hot or too cold.
If you live in the Levant, you can plant mint from March-May, and again from September-November.
If you live in the Gulf, plant mint in the months October to November and again from February-April. I also recommend protecting the mint with shade cloth or some tree shade during the hot Gulf summer months from June to September.
Depending on where you live, the temperature will either be more temperate (like the Levant) or more arid/desert (like the Gulf and the interior of North Africa) and so follow the guidelines above.
2. Soil: Grow mint in its own container
Mint roots love to spread.
Therefore, you should give it the room to spread its legs by growing it in its own container (10 inches or more), raised bed, or fabric pot (like a ‘Smart Pot’).
If growing in a container, use good quality, organic potting soil made for growing herbs and vegetables. As mint prefers light, airy soil, you can amend with 10-20% peat moss or coco coir.
If growing in the ground, amend your soil with compost about one inch thick (20%) and peat moss/coco coir (10%).
Mint needs full sun (8 hours), but will do well with 6 hours of sun. Therefore, if growing indoors, place your container near a window that receives full sun.
4. Seed (or Shoots)
Mint can be grown from seeds or from cuttings. For seeds, order from a reputable source. For a list of reputable sources in Kuwait, the UAE, and in the US, check out our post on the six secrets to a thriving home garden, and also see Local Roots UAE.
Alternatively, borrow an 8-10cm long cutting (a single mint shoot) from a friend, or buy a healthy plant from your local garden store and propagate / grow from cutting as detailed below.
Depth: 0.5cm (very shallow)
Final Spacing between one plant and the next: 60cm or a single plant in a 25cm (diameter)
Want to have a year's supply of spearmint for free?!
Then root it by growing from a mint cutting first!
Follow these steps.
How to grow mint in water from a cutting
1. Cut a shoot 8-10cm tall from a healthy mint plant
2. Remove the lower leaves
3. Place in filtered water in a bright spot (but not direct light) for a week or so until 1-2cm long roots emerge
4. Transfer to a container with potting soil and pinch 1cm off the main stem to encourage bushy growth
5. Place near a warm, sunny window
6. Service with care
Mint can be affected by aphids; so regularly monitor your plants. If your your mint is affected by aphids, you can make a simple soap-based insecticidal spray. An even more awesome hack is to use sticky tape!
The simple aphid hack!
By simply tapping your mint on the top and bottom of affected leaves with sticky tape you can eliminate aphids from mint, who will stick to the tape.
For a continuous supply of fresh, fragrant mint, side-dress by sprinkling compost lightly around the plant every couple of months.
Mint grows prolifically and is an exceptional cut-and-come-again plant, because it will just keep coming! You can harvest mint by cutting shoots about 5cm from the soil. Do this when the mint is around 30cm from the ground.
Mint will be ready to harvest in about 60 days when sowing from seed.
Here are some good things to know when growing mint.
Some expert tips for growing mint
1. Mint spreads liberally and can compete with nearby vegetables, so either plant in a container or trim often to about 5 centimeters from ground-level to keep this enthusiastic herb under control.
2. Mint makes a good companion plant for cabbage and tomatoes and is generally beneficial in the garden as it repels pests.
After your first mint harvest, it’s time to chill!
Cool Mint Cucumber Drink Recipe
Once you’ve harvested your first sprigs of mint, reward yourself with a cool, refreshing cucumber mint drink!
Use a juicer or blender to prepare:
🌟 10 large cucumbers (juiced whole)
🌟 1 cup mint leaves
🌟 1 whole lemon (peeled)
😋 Add cane sugar or honey for sweetness