Growing Mint in the Home Garden

Chocolate Mint

At some point in every herb gardener's life, he will try to grow a mint plant or two of the many varieties available. I would like to offer some counsel on growing mint plants, both rewarding and troublesome at the same time. In most cases, mint plants are easy to grow once you understand their needs.

In many states, spearmint is a serious weed where there is enough water, and nearly choke out streams and small ponds. In cultivation, mint plants should be planted with enough space around them to allow for two or three feet of lateral growth per year. The gardener should also understand that mint grows by sending out runners, and these runners can go underground by several feet. If you have a small garden area, I suggest growing mints in pots that are off the ground.

The plants can also be grown easily in hanging baskets, as long as they get plenty of water daily. Use a potting soil and fertilizer suitable for ferns, and the mints should grow just great. Be sure to give the mint at least four or five hours of direct sunlight per year, preferably more. 


There are dozens of mint varieties, but not all of them grow well in the warm subtropics of South Florida. Fortunately there are several popular varieties which grow really well here, such as Chocolate, Orange, Apple, and Spearmint. Chocolate mint is one of the favorites, but be aware that the plant can grow ten to fifteen feet in all directions per year. It does indeed taste like a mint chocolate dessert candy but should be planted carefully to account for its rampant growth.

It is indeed a pleasure to use fresh mint sprigs from your own plant, and the taste of fresh mint is incomparable to the packaged material at the food store. With some basic care and the knowledge of their speed of growth, mint can be a great addition to your garden and to your kitchen. 

Orange Mint
in a decorative bowl

 Craig Morell
Pinecrest gardens


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