Mentha .information on mint plants
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Cultivation of mints


Most mint plants can be invasive, at least to the low maintenance garden, so you will need to examine your approach to growing them, before you start. Pots and containers are fine, but mints do not thrive without a moist soil, in the summer, and good fertility.

Being herbaceous perennials the top growth dies down during the winter, whilst rhizomes ride out the cold and wet weather underground. If not too wet, which may result in all the rhizomes rotting, especially in pots, new shoots appear above ground in the spring, from the underground leafjoints (or nodes) on the sections of rhizome that have come through the winter. At this time good fertility is necessary, which could be a problem in pots with peat or coir composts that only contain chemical fertilisers. So pot on as soon as the weather starts to warm up, but if you are going to repot wait until the temperature is much warmer, or keep in a frame or cloche for a while after repotting. Pennyroyals and Corsican mint are different.

Flowering usually starts from July and varies in time, form and colour according to which mint your grow, and your latitude and altitude.

If the plant is for the kitchen, use non-flowering shoots. If you start picking regularly before flowering this probably means they won't get a chance to flower, but if they do then cut the plant down to a few inches of the ground, water well and give at least one liquid feed, or top dressing, unless they were repotted into new compost. New shoots of leaves will grow within a few weeks in summer. In autumn regrowth will be slower and less compared to summer. If you want mint for the winter you will need to take lifted and shallowly repotted rhizomes into a continuously warm, protected and light environment. (These plants will have to be discarded at some point unless you are going to give them a lot of TLC to build up their strength again.) Remember the more leaves removed from a plant, the slower the growth of the plant, so it may be worth having two or three pots or plots of mint on the go at all times (depending on your consumption) only picking from one at a time, while the other(s) have a chance to recover, build up their strength and provide new shoots for you. 

If you do have a mint patch in the ground, give it as much room as you can, keep weed-free, especially of grass, give it at least an annual top-dressing of well-rotted organic matter, feeding and watering if your soil makes this necessary. It is likely that you will need to overhaul the patch every 3 years if your soil is fertile. It would be better to move it to a different spot if possibly, otherwise dig out and discard the dead rhizomes and replant the live ones after adding organic matter and some plant food. With the fertile, moist soil mint needs for good growth, a plant will spread more than you might expect. In late summer and early autumn rhizomes will be extending a considerable distance in all directions beneath soil level at the same time as flowering and seeding (with fertile forms) and this may not become evident until shoots start to appear in the spring. Plants grown next to each other will grow into each other within one season. This can be quite nice with contrasting leaf colours until one mint begins to dominate, but will make lifting and replanting difficult (except where they have different types of rhizomes), and probably will have to be done in late spring when new growth shows which rhizome is which.

You will often hear of ingenious ways of restricting mints' sideways invasion. Most do not work if you need complete success. Even pots sunk in the ground will allow some rhizomes of some mints out of the drainage holes, and most invade onto surrounding ground from the top. This may be fine for 2 or 3 plants, not so good for 20 different plants with pots closer than one metre     apart.

For pot culture the bigger the pot the better, Although do not overpot your new 3"/9cm potsize plants in spring. I have heard some opinions that wide shallow containers are better for mints, but this would need much more attention to watering each day than a standard shaped container. If at all possible repot with new compost every year. Compost with organic fertiliser present will be better at keeping you plant happy all year, and the beginning of next year.

If the problems don't put you off ... sources


Cultivation of mints
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