Mint

Mint comes in a range of different varieties. The most commonly grown in the UK are spearmint and peppermint, though you can also get chocolate mint, apple mint and other variants and cultivars which are becoming more popular in recent years. Mint is a relatively hardy perennial with a strong, fresh scent and a fruity, aromatic flavour. It has a variety of uses in the house, kitchen and garden.

Growing mint:

Mint can be grown from seed or propagated by means of runners or cuttings from a parent plant. If a friend or relative has some mint in their garden then they will probably be quite happy to give you some of it. Mint grows quickly and can take over a garden if you let it. This can be valuable if you want ground cover to reduce evaporation from the soil but not so good if you are trying to keep your garden beds neat and orderly.

Some people grow mint in submerged pots if they plant them outside, to ensure they do not spread their root system too far. Others simply grow in separate containers, indoors or outdoors. Due to the fact that mint can be prone to taking over somewhat, mint is probably best planted with care.

Mint prefers a site in full sun though partial shade will also be fine. The best soil is a rich loamy soil that will retain moisture. Mint likes fairly damp conditions, so a mulch is a good idea in the summer to retain water in the soil.

As soon as plants are big enough and have a decent number of leaves you can pick them off as and when required for whatever purpose. If you cut mint right back to just above the ground at the end of the season and give the roots frost protection then mint can come back in the spring, but especially in the northern reaches of the UK you may be better keeping mint in a container so you can bring it inside for the winter.

Why grow mint in the garden?

Mint has many uses in the kitchen. It can be used in a number of desserts, with peas, new potatoes or with lamb, for example. It can also be used to make tea.

Mint can be used in soaps, room fresheners and other cleaning solutions. Furthermore, peppermint can also soothe a headache or help clear the sinuses. Historically, mint has been used medicinally in a number of ways.

Mint can add a lovely fragrance to your herb garden. Mint is also a useful companion plant. It repels or distracts a range of pests, from aphids, to ants, to onion flies and cabbage flies and so is of benefit to, amongst others, alliums, brassicas and tomatoes.  

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Mentha x piperita, mentha spicata etc