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Container Gardening With Mint: Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Growing Mint in Pots

Growing mint in pots is a joy for any gardener. This versatile herb adds flavor and fragrance to recipes, drinks, and more. Its benefits also extend to medicinal uses. However, mint’s pervasive roots make it notoriously invasive in garden beds. The solution? Growing mint in pots to control its growth while still reaping its rewards.

This comprehensive guide shares expert tips for growing mint in pots. Follow the top five dos and don’ts, and you’ll have a thriving container mint garden!

Container Gardening With Mint: Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Growing Mint in Pots
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Why Choose Mint for Container Gardening?

Beyond its invasive nature, what makes growing mint in pots an excellent choice? For more insights on selecting herbs, check out our Herb Growing Guide: How to Choose the Right Herbs for Your Garden.

  • Adds beauty and fragrance to any space, indoors or out.
  • Easy to grow and propagates quickly from cuttings.
  • Varieties offer diverse uses from cooking to tea.
  • Containers restrict roots and manage spreading.

By growing mint in pots, you can cultivate this aromatic herb without it conquering your garden!

Selecting the Right Mint Variety

When growing mint in pots, you have over 20 mint species and countless cultivars to choose from. For those with limited space, here are some Best Compact Herb Varieties for Containers.

Popular choices for growing mint in pots include:

  • Spearmint: The quintessential culinary mint noted for its sweeter flavor. Use it in salads, beverages, jellies, desserts, and more.
  • Peppermint: Offers a strong, refreshing mint flavor perfect for tea. Also widely used in sweets and other dishes.
  • Pineapple mint: Delights with distinct fruity undertones. Great for drinks, fruit salads, and ornamental use.
  • Chocolate mint: Imparts a cool, minty flavor with rich chocolate notes. Use in desserts and drinks or ornamentally.

Other mints like orange, apple, ginger, and lemon offer their own unique twists. Go with your favorites or experiment with new varieties!

Container Gardening With Mint: Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Growing Mint in Pots

Essential Tools and Supplies for Growing Mint in Pots

To set your container mint garden up for success, ensure you have:

  • A pot at least 12 inches wide with drainage holes. Any wider than 18 inches becomes difficult to move.
  • Quality potting mix like Miracle-Gro Potting Mix is formulated for growing mint in pots.
  • Slow-release fertilizer like Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed for herbs and vegetables.
  • A watering can or hose with an adjustable nozzle.
  • Pruning shears, gardening gloves, and a small trowel.

This basic toolkit contains everything you’ll need for planting, maintenance, and harvesting.

Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Mint Container Garden

Once you have your pot and accessories, it’s time to plant! You have a few options:

  • Start from seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last frost.
  • Buy young mint plants from your local nursery and transplant them.
  • Take cuttings from existing mint plants and root them in water.

Each method has its pros and cons. Young plants are quickest while seeds build resilience. Do what works for your climate and growing abilities!

When planting, dig a hole large enough to comfortably fit the root ball or seeds. Set the plant or seeds at the same level they were growing before. Backfill with potting mix and water thoroughly until it drains from the pot’s bottom.

And your container mint garden is underway – that was easy!

Basil and mint growing in pots indoors.
Basil and mint growing in pots indoors

Optimal Growing Conditions for Mint in Pots

To flourish, mint thrives under these conditions:

  • Light: At least 6 hours of full sunlight daily. Mint can tolerate partial shade but prefers sun.
  • Soil: Use a quality potting mix enriched with organic matter. Provide good drainage.
  • Fertilizer: Apply a balanced liquid or slow-release fertilizer monthly. Avoid overfeeding.
  • Temperature: Prefers cool weather between 60-85°F (15-29°C). Can withstand heat and light frost.
  • Humidity: Appreciates 40-60% humidity. Mist leaves or group pots to raise it.

Adjust to your environment for a happy, healthy mint!

Comprehensive Care Guide for Growing Mint in Pots

Ongoing care is easy and rewarding. Follow these tips:

  • Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Keep soil consistently moist but not saturated.
  • Prune frequently by pinching off top growth and flower stems. Promotes fullness.
  • Fertilize monthly with a diluted liquid fertilizer or sprinkle slow-release pellets.
  • Overwinter indoors near a sunny window if you live where it freezes. Reduce watering.
  • Divide congested plants into new containers every 2-3 years. Increases vigor.
  • Watch for pests like aphids or caterpillars and treat them organically as needed.

With attentive care, your mind will thank you with prolific growth year after year!

Fresh mint leaves grow in a pot.
Fresh mint leaves grow in a pot.

Growing Mint Inside vs Outside

Where should you cultivate your container mint when growing mint in pots – indoors or outdoors? Consider:

Indoors

  • Requires sunny, south-facing window.
  • Supplement natural light with grow lights.
  • Monitor humidity and temperatures.
  • Easier to protect from pests and diseases.

Outdoors

  • Gets full sun and fresh air for robust growth.
  • Must shelter or move containers in extreme weather.
  • More prone to pest and disease issues.
  • Pots may dry out faster.

Both environments work if you adapt care accordingly!

Harvesting and Using Your Mint

Once your mint is established, harvesting is a breeze:

  • Snip sprigs any time after the plant reaches 4-6 inches tall.
  • Cut the stems right above leaf nodes to encourage bushy regrowth.
  • Harvest lightly at first, increasing as the plant matures.
  • For storage, hang bouquets to air dry or freeze leaves in ice cube trays.

Then enjoy your bountiful mint in:

  • Beverages like mojitos, mint tea, and infused water
  • Desserts such as mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • Fruit salads, salsas, chutneys, jams
  • Sauces and marinades for lamb, fruits, veggies

Let your taste buds explore the many uses of homegrown mint!

Troubleshooting Common Pests and Diseases

Mint is fairly hardy but watch for these potential issues when growing mint in pots:

  • Aphids – Treat with neem oil or insecticidal soap spray.
  • Caterpillars – Remove by hand or apply Bacillus thuringiensis.
  • Mint rust – Prune affected leaves. Improve air circulation and avoid wet foliage.
  • Mint beetle – Dislodge adults; apply neem oil for larvae.
  • Flea beetles – Use floating row covers as a barrier. Dust leaves with diatomaceous earth.

Catch problems early and always use organic, non-toxic solutions. Healthy plants start with proper growing conditions and care.

Mint in a pot growing high
Mint in a pot growing high

Additional Tips and Tricks for Growing Mint in Pots

Keep your container mint garden thriving with these added pointers:

  • Propagate new plants by dividing congested roots or taking stem cuttings.
  • Pinch off flowers to divert energy back to the leaves.
  • Consider overwintering indoors based on your climate.
  • Check plant labels as some mints can be toxic to pets if ingested.
  • Group mint pots together for a beautiful and fragrant display.

Apply these wise tips to maximize your minty harvest and enjoyment!

Conclusion

Growing mint in pots prevents its invasive spread while allowing you to reap plentiful yields. Follow this guide’s top dos and don’ts:

  • DO choose the right variety for your needs.
  • DO use a roomy container and quality potting mix.
  • DO plant in a sunny spot with well-draining soil.
  • DO prune frequently and pinch off flowers.
  • DON’T overwater or let the soil get waterlogged.

With the proper care, mint thrives beautifully in containers for harvests of this versatile, aromatic herb. The end result is well worth the effort – have fun growing!

FAQs

Can Mint Grow in Shade?

While mint can tolerate partial shade, it thrives best in at least 6 hours of full sunlight per day. Any less light may result in diminished vigor and weaker growth. Supplement with grow lights if needed.

How Often Should I Water Mint in Pots?

Water mint whenever the top inch of the soil feels dry. Wait until the pot feels light when lifted and the soil appears dry on top of watering. Take care not to overwater, as wet feet will cause root rot.

Is Mint Safe for Pets?

Certain varieties of mint contain compounds that can be toxic to pets, especially dogs and cats if ingested in large quantities. Always check the specific mint plant’s safety for pets before growing it in an accessible location.

How Do I Propagate Mint from Cuttings?

Take 4-6-inch trimmings from the stem tips of an established mint plant. Remove leaves from the bottom half of the stem. Place the cuttings in a glass of water until roots form, then plant in potting mix. Keep soil moist until established.

Can I Grow Different Varieties of Mint in the Same Pot?

It’s best to plant each mint variety in separate containers. When planted together, the mints will likely cross-pollinate, resulting in hybridized flavors. Different mints also compete for nutrients and space.

How Do I Prevent Mint from Becoming Invasive?

Growing mint in containers is key to preventing invasive spread, along with pruning back vigorous growth. Bury pots in the ground or restrict above-ground runners if planting outdoors. Indoor cultivation also limits invasiveness.

What Are the Signs of Overwatering or Underwatering?

Overwatered mint will appear limp, wilted, and stunted with yellowing leaves. Soil stays soggy for too long. Underwatered mint grows leggy as leaves dry out, and start turning brown and dropping. Monitor soil moisture and watering needs accordingly.

How Do I Deal with Pests and Diseases?

Check affected plants closely to properly identify the culprit. Remove pests by hand or use organic, non-toxic solutions like neem oil, insecticidal soap, or diatomaceous earth for treatment. Improve growing conditions and prune diseased sections.

Can I Grow Mint Indoors Year-Round?

Yes! Choose a variety suited to your uses, and grow mint in containers placed near sunny, south-facing windows indoors. Supplement natural light with grow lights as needed. Maintain temperatures between 60-75°F and moderate humidity. Adjust watering and fertilizing for indoor cultivation.

What Are the Best Uses for Freshly Harvested Mint?

One of the joys of growing mint is using your fresh harvest. Try chopped mint in fruit salads, beverages, desserts, meat dishes, sauces, and more. Or add sprigs to water for refreshing infused mint water. Dry or freeze leaves for later use. So many options to savor!

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