Mint is an herb known for its refreshing flavor and inviting aroma. It comes in many varieties, such as peppermint, ginger mint, and spearmint. In history, the use of mint began 1,000 BC. they played an important role in many cultures, particularly in Greece where it’s used as an important ingredient in their traditional drink.
Mint offers a plethora of health benefits. Aside from its medicinal uses, mint is a culinary herb used to perk up dishes. It can be used for both sweet and savory dishes, from pesto and pasta to ice cream and cookies. Plus, this plant does not take much maintenance to grow and be productive. If you haven’t tried growing it yet, now is the time to start planting them.
A caveat to planting a mint plant in your garden is that it can potentially ruin your garden if you are not careful about it. Like other herbs, the mint plant is easy to grow, however its roots are classified as “runner” roots. Plants with” runner” roots are incredibly invasive, which means they will grow quickly and will spread all over your garden. However you do not have to worry too much on this fact, with the proper guidelines followed you can easily contain this plant.
Newbie gardeners may be wondering how to grow mint from seed since we often hear they are better planted through cuttings. How to grow mint indoors? Here’s our guide including tips on how to harvest mint seeds.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Grow Mint from Seed
Step 1: Bury the seeds on the soil. Mint can germinate in any type of soil. But if you want it to grow faster, consider well-drained or moist soil in planting your mint. Herbs in general don’t need a huge place. You can plant your mint in small pots, old plastic containers, and even used milk boxes.
When it comes to soil quality, the mint plant is not picky about it. However, if you want your mint plant to grow in optimal conditions, get a soil that has a pH level of between 6 and 7.5. Use a test kit to be able to measure the soil pH level. You can purchase some testing kits online or in your local agricultural shops.
Step 2: Place your pot in a warm place. It can be room temperature but it should be exposed to light to allow germination. Growing mint from seeds outdoors is fine as long as the seeds are protected from the environment. From the day of planting, expect a week or two for the seed to start growing.
When growing your mint outdoors, be sure to pick the best time to plant our mint. While usually the mint plant is resilient to different sorts of weather conditions, it still is preferable to plant them in ideal conditions. The best time to plant them is during spring, or in the fall season if your climate does not have any winter. .
Step 3: Once your mint starts growing, water it once or twice weekly. It shouldn’t be watered daily or else it will appear droopy. A yellowing leaf is an indication of overwatering your mint. Just trim your mint from time to time to allow it to grow bigger.
Step 4: Fertilize your mint. Take note that the fertilizer requirements depend on the type of mint you’re planting. If you’re growing peppermint, it’s important to use a combination of nitrogen and phosphate. If you prefer natural fertilizers, you can use coffee grounds and eggshells.
More Tips on Caring for Your Mint
You can use a miniature greenhouse for germinating your mint seeds. Your seed starter should have a hole in the cover because it’s not advisable to fully cover your seeds. They will not grow that way.
Choose an area where your mint plant can receive sunlight, but indirectly. Your mint plant loves the sunlight yes, but if they receive too much sunlight they can dry out. The area you should choose should allow the mint to receive full sunlight in the morning hours but only partial sunlight in the afternoon. If you are planting your mint plant in a pot, rotate the pot every 3-4 days. Mint plants grow in the direction of the sunlight, and rotating the pot avoids the mint plant from growing unevenly.
Water your mint plant every 2-3 days, but this is depending on your climate conditions. If you live in an area that is hot and dry then water it more frequently. The best way to check if your plant needs more water or not is by checking with your finger on how moist the soil is. Check the soil everyday to ensure that your soil is moist.
Consider adding fertilizer to your mint plant. While your mint plant can grow perfectly fine without the aid of any fertilizer, however if you want to improve your mint plant’s growth consider adding some fertilizer. The best fertilizer for your mint plant is a water soluble fertilizer, just avoid adding too much fertilizer as that would alter the taste of the mint instead.
To maximize your mint’s plant leaf production, you have to prune off the flower as soon as they appear. The flowers will cost the mint plant some energy, so instead of focusing on its leaves it will instead go to the flower. So prune it off so that your mint plant only focuses on its leaves to give it the best quality possible.
If you’re planning to plant a lot of mint seeds, make sure they have enough spacing. For growing mint from seed outdoors, consider at least 12 inches of a gap for every plant. When you’re using them as a companion plant, make sure to have enough spacing between them and other plants.
Wilted mint may be difficult to revive so just pick them because you can still use it. Using cold water can bring back life to your mint plant. Just soak the wilted leaves for half an hour and see it revived after. You can use these leaves for making your tea.
How to Harvest Your Mint Seeds and Leaves
A packet of mint seeds can be costly when you purchase them from nurseries. So instead of buying these super tiny seeds, simply gather them from a plant. But if that isn’t possible, consider buying from online sellers. They usually sell these seeds in small packets to make them more affordable.
How to harvest mint seeds? Take the pods of the mint plants. This is where you will collect the seeds. You will know the seeds are available for collection once you see the flowers start to fade. Crush the pods to obtain the seeds. They are tiny and they usually have a brown color.
If you only need the leaves, simply pinch them off the stems. To trim your herb so you will get a healthier bush, consider using garden scissors. Be careful in doing this or you will end up damaging the herbs. This guarantees you will not accidentally pull out the entire plant.
Benefits of Consuming/Planting Mint
Mint tea is great for easing digestion. It contains ample amounts of menthol known for its antibacterial properties. Mint tea can be used as a natural remedy for stomach problems such as bloat, flatulence, and indigestion.
Aside from promoting healthy digestion, mint is also effective in treating nausea and headache. That’s why peppermint tea works when you’re sick. It can offer instant relief when you have a cough or suffering from respiratory problems. For better tasting tea, use homegrown mint rather than the readily available mint in supermarkets.
Planting mint also benefits other plants in your garden because it helps control pests. They don’t like the scent of mint. Mint repels not just flies and insects but also moths and ants that can damage other plants in your garden. This makes mint a good companion plant for plants prone to pest infestation, like lettuce, eggplant, and beets.
Mint is super easy to grow regardless if you’re starting from cuttings or seeds. The seeds grow better in full sun. But as with most herbs, mint is not a fussy herb. You can see it grow even in a partially shaded area.
The secret to successful herb gardening is in the soil. Well-draining soil keeps the plant healthier and bushier. To make your medium well-draining, consider using loamy soil for your herb. As much as possible, avoid clay soil or those that contain rock underneath because you will not see good results with them.
Growing mint is for everyone. You can plant any mint variety to use as a medicinal plant or as a natural insect repellent in your garden. The sweet smell of mint can also lift your mood in an instant, so go ahead and store some mint plants in your kitchen or in your home office!