How to Grow Mint for Your Needs
Wondering why you should grow mint? Mint is one of the oldest herbs known to humans. There are many species and varieties of mint, though even botanists don’t know exactly how many since they hybridize readily. The most commonly used mint is peppermint, but spearmint, apple mint, chocolate mint and garden mint are also enjoyed. Mint is famously used to make jelly to accompany lamb, added to other meat and vegetable recipes and tossed in salads. The dried leaves are used to make tea, but mint is also found in the famous mint julep, and sprigs of the herb are put in fruity drinks and wine coolers. Essential oils extracted from mint are used in aromatherapy, and peppermint essential oil is added to steam to ease the congestion caused by colds and flu.
More good news is that grow mint is very simple. Indeed, it may be too easy to grow. Placed out in a garden, mint can be invasive under the right conditions. This is why gardening experts recommend that it be planted in pots or have some sort of barrier around it even if it’s grown outdoors.
It seems that mint will grow just about anywhere, but since its ancestor thrived along the edges of streams, it prefers soil that’s light, moist and drains well. Mint does well in shade, and the variegated types such as pineapple mint are best kept out of direct sun. Only a couple of plants are needed to cover a fairly large area. They should be planted about two feet apart. After they’re established, they don’t need much care save a layer of mulch to keep down weeds and retain moisture.
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If the mint is to be grown indoors, it should be grown in a good potting soil mix and watered thoroughly. The plant should then be situated in a window that gets indirect sunlight, in a room that’s around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and about 60 degrees F at night. The soil should be kept moist. The mint plant benefits from an occasional misting. If the gardener isn’t inclined to mist the plant, the pot should be kept on a tray filled with the pebbles and water. Turning the plant now and then will make sure it stays symmetrical. It can be fertilized on occasion, though it’s not absolutely necessary.
Mint is a plant that appreciates being pruned, so the gardener can have a ready supply of mint leaves for tea, cooking or herbal medicine while helping the plant remain perfectly healthy.
Mint propagates easily from cuttings, so make sure to hand them out to friends and neighbors who are interested in the many benefits of mint.