Encyclopedia of Houseplants

The Dos and Don’ts of Growing Mint

updated Nov 15, 2023
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Mint is fragrant, fast-growing, green, and compliments fruits, vegetables, and meats. It’s also its own ice cream flavor. So what’s not to love about mint? If you’ve ever grown the herb, you know where I’m going with this, but if you haven’t and are interested: read on for the dos and don’ts of successfully growing mint in your indoor garden or outdoors.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Mint Plant Care

Like cilantro and basil, mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow; however, its roots, which are called “runners,” are incredibly invasive: they quickly grow, sprouting new leaves and new plants as they go. Mint will overtake a flower bed or garden in no time if you’re not careful.

The Dos of Mint Care

  • When choosing an outdoor location for your mint, find one where the plant will receive morning sun and partial afternoon shade.
  • If planting your mint indoors, locate your container where it will receive good morning light but where it will also be away from drying heating elements.
  • Plant on a patio, in a container.
  • When planting the herb in a flower bed, first submerge a container (either a pot, a mesh bag or edging to at least 5 inches deep), leaving the rim above ground level when potted, so the mint’s fast-growing root system will be contained. Otherwise, the herb will take over your garden and lawn in an annoying weed-like fashion..
  • If planting your mint in a garden bed, apply mulch to help keep it from spreading.
  • Locate mint plants fifteen inches apart, and thin them regularly.
  • To extend the harvesting season, pinch off the flowering buds as they appear.
  • Harvest mint sprigs before the plant flowers.

The Don’ts of Mint Care

  • Don’t plant mint in an open bed without first submerging a vessel that will contain the herb’s wild-growing roots.
  • If you’re growing mint in a submerged pot, don’t use a cracked one. The “runners” will find their way out and continue to spread.
  • Don’t allow your mint plant to dry out.

Readers: We’d love to hear about your experience growing mint. How do you tame the herb but still keep it healthy?