Some people will tell you that mint is possibly the easiest thing to grow, but to be honest I have struggled with it in my sub-tropical climate. Over the last few years of growing it, I think I now have it sorted out.
Mint would have to be one of my favourite herbs, I love it thrown in a fresh summer salad or a cold drink.
Best conditions for growing mint
Mint in the right conditions, will go out of control, so I highly recommend planting your mint in a pot. Make sure it’s a big pot and in a position that is not only handy to your kitchen but also a water source. Particularly during those hotter months you really need to make sure your mint is well hydrated. Unless you want a full grow bed of mint, I highly recommend not putting it in your aquaponics system unless you are prepared to control it quite regularly.
Your mint will do best with a bit of morning sun and then shade in the afternoon. I always thought it was a shade loving plant but I’ve since found that it does thrive if given that morning sun. It will grow in full sun, however you’ll find the mint leaves will become quite hard and dry.
Caring for your mint
This is one of those true plants that survive on neglect if it’s in a good position and moisture is kept up to it. I rarely change the soil in my pot and only occasionally fertilise with liquid fertiliser or water from our aquaponics system and it seems to thrive.
Common Pests & Problems
Mint likes moisture so try not to let it dry out to much. Having said that it is quite resilient so a day or so with dry soil wont completely kill the plant.
You may see on the underside of your mint leaves little spider web like silk. Look a little closer and you may see this tiny little red dot. This could mean you have an infestation of spider mites. They basically suck the life out of the leaves and make your mint plant look very miserable. Generally I try to control it before it gets out of hand by removing the affected leaves, you could alternatively blast the mint with a strong hose to control it. Beneficial insects such as lady bugs will also help keep the spider mite under control.
Usually towards the end of summer if I am not on the ball, I will see my mint plant become decimated by caterpillars. The key is to keep an eye on them and remove them before the damage is done. Alternatively you can find organic caterpillar sprays at your local garden centres
Over winter you’ll also find your mint may die back a fair bit, this is normal, just keep watering and watch it come back to life in the spring time.
Other varieties of mint
There are so many varieties of mint that you can grow in your garden. A firm favourite in this house is chocolate mint which makes a beautiful tea. Keep your eye out at your local nursery or seed supplier for different types.
Do you love having mint in your garden?