Mint is a perennial herb grown for its aromatic leaves. It's extremely easy to grow, with a range of delicious flavours to choose from. The leaves can be infused in hot water to make a refreshing tea, chopped and added to many dishes, or used to make mint sauce to accompany roast lamb.
Jobs to do now
- But back flowered shoots
- Water regularly
- Harvest leaves
Month by month
Give plants plenty of water, especially during hot, dry weather.
When plants have finished flowering in summer, cut the flowered shoots back to 5cm (2in) from the base.
Avoid growing different varieties of mint close together, whether in pots or the ground, as they can lose their individual scent and flavour.
When growing in pots, rejuvenate congested clumps by upturning the container, removing the rootball and splitting it in half. Repot one portion back in the same container using fresh multi-purpose compost.
It’s best to buy mint as young plants in spring. There is a huge range of flavours to choose from, so it’s great to buy in person, so you can select your favourite aromas.
Mint is very vigorous and will spread all over the place if planted in the ground. Instead, plant it in a large pot filled with multi-purpose compost or in a large, bottomless bucket sunk into the soil with the rim above ground level to prevent shoots escaping over the top.
Mint likes full sun or partial shade.
Water plants before and after planting, and until settled in.
Mint leaves can be harvested from late spring and mid-autumn, before the shoots die back over winter.
Pick regularly to keep plants compact and ensure they produce lots of fresh new growth.
The leaves are best used fresh, but you can also freeze them for use in winter. Chop the leaves finely and pack into an ice-cube tray with some water, then freeze. Whenever you need some mint for a recipe, simply knock out as many ice cubes as you want and add to the pan.
A common fungal disease of many plants that can be recognised by orange, yellow or black spots or blisters that form on leaves, along with pale and distorted stems. Leaves can fall and in severe cases, plants will eventually die.
Dig up badly infected plants and dispose of to prevent the spores spreading to other plants. Carefully check plants before buying to ensure they are healthy and show no signs of disease.
Shiny green beetles and their round black larvae feed on the foliage of mint plants in summer. Large populations can severely damage plants.
Their size and colour make both adult beetles and their larvae easy to spot and remove by hand.
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