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Mint - How to Grow

Mint is a widely used culinary and medicinal herb, and is an essential addition to your herb garden. We have a huge variety of mint plants to buy online, all grown at our Staffordshire herb nursery.

Mint plants are a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae, and they are found all around the world due to their unfussy-growing requirements. Mints are very aromatic and almost exclusively perennial, with a habit of spreading easily if left unchecked.

The leaves are scented strongly with menthol, and range from dark green such as the classic Garden Mint (Mentha spicata), grey-green as found on Apple Mint(Mentha suaveolens) to purple in the beautiful Black Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), and sometimes variegated. Pineapple Mint (Mentha sauvolens 'pineapple') Flower colour ranges from white to purple and can be extremely long lived.

Mint plants can make a very pleasing container grown herb as they will produce a profusion of leafy growth and provide wonderful scent if the leaves are brushed in passing.

When and Where to plant

  • Mint is so prone to spreading it is better grown either in a pot or be planted in sunken bottomless containers in a gap in your border or vegetable garden ensuring the top of the pot is higher than the level of the garden.
  • Mint dies back over winter, but new fresh growth will appear between late spring and mid-autumn.
  • Pick regularly to ensure plenty of new growth for your cooking and summer drinks this will also help keep plants compact.
  • It is best used fresh, but you can preserve leaves for using over winter using the following method, pick fresh young shoots, wash well, allow to dry then chop into small pieces and add to an ice cube tray which you can then fill with water and freeze. Simply use as many ice cubes as you need for your recipe.
  • Mint should be fed monthly with a high nitrogen fertiliser or use slow release fertilisers to keep it at its best.
  • Avoid planting different varieties together as they can lose their original flavours.
  • Check the mint for its hardiness rating (all ours are clearly marked on the website). Some, like pineapple mint may be better over-wintered in a greenhouse if you live far north or in a particularly exposed area.
  • Mint can get pot bound which reduced the plants ability to produce lots of fresh new leaves. To make the most of your plant you should divide it during the Autumn or Spring. Lift your plant out of its pot cut the root ball in half (you can use a bread-knife or even a saw if your plant is big enough!) tease the roots out a little and re-plant either both pieces to give you two new plants or use one half to take root cuttings and increase your crop even further.

History and Herb Usage

Mint has been an important herb for centuries in Greek mythology Minthe was a nymph loved by Pluto and turned into a Mint plant to protect her from his jealous wife! In the bible taxes were paid with mint, the Romans scrubbed their serving dishes with it before using them for guests

Originally mint was used as a medicinal herb for stomach pains, it is still used today as a tea for treating indigestion and heartburn and the common cold. The essential oil can help unblock respiratory passages as well as relieve headaches. Culinary uses range from Granny's Original Mint (Mentha spicata) this is the mint that your Granny used in mint sauce to go with lamb.

'Bowles' Apple mint the subtle taste of apple mint makes it an excellent choice for culinary use, but also great in a mojito! Most mints can also be used in soups, salads, vegetable dishes, sweet dishes and drinks. And Silver mint is a favourite with flower arrangers producing mauve flowers in long spikes during August / September.

MASTER GROWERS TIP

“Keep your Mint in a pot and divide it every two years.”