Growing Mint – Mentha Species
Most mints are unsuitable for growing in open ground in small gardens because they tend to spread rapidly. Different mints are used for different purposes such as flavouring for confectionery, liqueurs, and so on, but French mint, Mentha x villosa alopecuroides, and round-leaved mint, M. suaveolens, will fulfil most culinary requirements. Many people are also fond of the flavour of the coarser spearmint, M. spicata.
In the smaller garden or for those with paved areas, these mints must be confined and will do well in suitably sized pots; all are decorative. French mint, also known as Bowles or woolly mint, grows up to 1-2m (4 ft) in height, as does round-leaved; spearmint is rather smaller. Round-leaved mint also has a variegated-leaved form ‘Variegata’, known as pineapple mint, which is even more decorative.
When you are growing mint, you will find that it is usually raised from pieces of rooted that are cut off and replanted or are sold ready-planted in small pots. Whichever you use, pot them up into 200-250 mm (8-10 in) pots — the pieces of root preferably in February or March, and pot-grown plants at any time. The pots should contain potting compost enriched with well-rotted . Place the rooted piece or plant in the centre, firm it in, and water. A half-shaded or more sunny position is suitable. Keep the compost moist at all times. To ensure supplies of fresh leaves, cut down any flower stems that develop; the flavour deteriorates after flowering. Add a top dressing of garden compost in late winter.
Replace the plants every two or three years by cutting off a fresh piece of rooted runner and replanting it in a fresh pot.
Pests are rarely a trouble, but the plants may be attacked by leaf rust. Any plants so affected should be burnt.
Harvest the leaves as required.
Site: Half-shaded to sunny
Plant: Early spring
Harvest: As required