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How to Grow Mint Herbs

Annuals and Perennials, Mentha piperita

Member of the Mint herb family are in good company. There are over 3,500 varieties of mints! Two of those varieties are very, very common. It should come as no surprise, to learn that the most common mints are Peppermint and Spearmint.

Now, here's some even better news..... you can grow these herbs with ease!

Most mints are natives of the Mediterranean region. They are hardy perennial plants, and they are very easy to grow. They have bright green leaves on bushy plants. Flowers include white, blue and pink. Once planted, mints come back year, after year, after year. They require little or no maintenance, too. They are however, invasive plants, and take over a garden, if allowed. To keep them from spreading surround mint herb plants with border edging. Most varieties grow 12-24 inches.

Mints are great in herb gardens, in beds along the house, or in containers. Mints can be grown indoors as houseplants.

Did you know? The mint family includes Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary and Sage. And, approximately 3,496 more.


Propagation:

Mint plants are started from seed. Get an early start planting them indoors as a houseplant. Or, directly sow seeds into your garden in the spring. Space seedlings or thin plants to 12" to 18" apart

Established plants are prolific propagaters, producing suckers in the second and following years. They can also be grown from cuttings.


How to Grow Peppermint, Spearmint and other Mints:

Mint is simply too easy to grow. They thrive in sun or partial shade. They will do well in average soils. Mint withstands droughts, and heat very well. Chances are, you will not have to water them during a drought. Fertilizer is not usually required, except in the poorest of soils.

Mints are aggressive growers, crowding out other plants if given the chance. Give them plenty of space away from other plants in your garden. Or, better still, put in a border edging, dug 3-4 inches deep.

Harvest mint leaves at any time. They can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. Like other herbs, pick them in the morning, when the oils are strongest. Spread leaves out to dry in a cool and ventilated area.

Tip: Mint has a very strong, overpowering scent. Once dried, store it in an air-tight container, away from other herbs.


Main Uses of Mint:

The oils in mint are in glands in the leaves. Crushing them releases the oils and the pleasant, strong, and soothing flavor.

Mints and oils of mints are used for oils, used in cookies, teas, candies, jellies, chewing gum, flavoring for medicines,  toothpaste,  ice cream, liqueurs, and much more.

Try tossing a few leaves in your tea or hot chocolate tonight.


Medicinal Uses:

Mint is often used to sooth upset stomaches and on occasion, for toothaches. It has also been used for headaches.

Mint promotes healthy digestion, reduces gas and helps to ease and eliminate nausea.

Mints are a standard for breath mints.


Insect and Disease:

Insect and disease problems are uncommon. Mint has natural repellents to insects and is sometimes used in organic sprays.

Ants do not like Mints - try growing them around your crops, or using mints in a spray.


More Information:

How to Dry Herbs

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