Have you tried growing mint because you heard it was one of the easiest plants to grow? If you find that it takes a little longer to successfully grow mint than you thought, you are not alone. I learned the following:
I’ve been cheated by garden folklore before and I’m sure this won’t be the last time, but whoever said that mint grows like weeds has completely different weeds than what we have here. I felt that the biggest challenge with growing mint was keeping it under control so it wouldn’t take up your entire garden. If you don’t see it, they say it will. Well, that sounds pretty good to me because I have a lot of garden space to fill out. Any plant that is considered a vigorous grower or even invasive is my best friend. I have planted mint in various places around the property in recent years, and although most of it has survived, it has definitely not thrived and it certainly has not “taken over”. If you have had the same experience and are curious as to why exactly your mint never reached the size and growth rate that you expected, today’s post is for you! 🙂
My mint mistakes
Mint grows in my little perennial herb garden, which has been living for a few years, but I never really did what I hoped. I split it up earlier this year and moved half to a sunnier place, and the second half did almost the same thing as the first. It’s there, but it’s nothing exciting. It seems difficult to stay alive most of the time.
A few years ago, we planted several mint plants around the base of our apple trees. The mint is said to scare off pests and we just thought it would look pretty. One or two of these plants are still alive today, but they are small.
So I headed out to find out what I did wrong a few months ago. I always thought that you basically only plant with mint and take care of the rest. Of course that is not the case.
How to grow mint: what actually works
This spring my neighbor gave me a piece of her mint plant from her garden, which had developed quite well since she was planted last year. I didn’t want to let that die because she was so generous to give it to me, so I kind of babeled it. Instead of planting it in the ground and hoping that it will spread and fill all the bare spots, I gave it a place of honor in this large planter filled with a beautiful potting soil. This is a great place that gets morning sun but is protected from the harshest afternoon heat. I watered and even fed it almost every day and it has already tripled.
Could it be true? Does mint really need care and attention to thrive like any other plant? Isn’t it really weed-like at all?
Here’s what I’ve learned about successful mint growing, for those of us who haven’t had this fairytale experience with mint growing. 🙂
It doesn’t grow like a weed
Plan to plant your mint in a place where you can easily take care of it, like any plant that is valuable to you. Part of the problem with planting near the apple trees is that this area of our property is a little hike and we don’t necessarily go there with buckets of water every day.
Mint may be rich, well-drained soil
Weeds (or rather native plants) usually grow on almost any soil that is natural in your area, and this is simply not the case with mint. Mint likes rich, well-drained soil. Something like a potting soil is ideal, or a well-modified garden soil like the one you would use to grow your vegetables.
Mint likes a lot of water
We live in a rather humid climate and get a lot of rain, but even that alone is not enough for mint. I learned to treat my mint the way I treat my perennials or hydrangeas when I really want it to grow and really multiply, and that means watering it every day. I love to see these big shoots coming from the bottom of the plant. So you know it’s really happy.
It doesn’t sound intuitive to feed plant food to something that people warn that if you don’t hold it back, it will take over your garden, but mint reacts really well to a little plant food that comes in every 10 to 14 days during growth Water is released season.
So that’s the truth about growing mint! Once you have really established it, it is both a beautiful plant in your garden and super useful for all kinds of recipes all summer long! I hope that this barrel will soon be completely filled with mint so that I can show you the end result of my efforts!
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