Growing Mint: The Most Aromatic Kitchen Herb
Mint is a perennial, aromatic herb that belongs to the Mentha genus of Lamiaceae family. There are dozens of different natural or hybrid species of Mentha. Leaves of the Mint plant are loaded with essential oils and aromatic compounds. Along with being a kitchen herb, Mint is also used in herbal medicines, cosmetics, and toiletries.
Different varieties of Mint:
1. Spear Mint:
This is one of the most common varieties of Mint. It has a versatile flavor. It can be used for a lot of kitchen recipes and has many health benefits. If a recipe doesn’t specify which Mint to use, it means Spear Mint only.
2. Sweet Mint:
This is a spearmint variety from Israel, grown for its larger leaves. It has a neutral Mint flavor that can be used for a lot of dishes, drinks, teas, etc. This plant is commonly available and very easy to grow.
This is a type of hybrid Mint, and it has very high menthol content. Therefore, it feels more like a chewing gum or toothpaste kind of Mint. Its intense flavor is excellent for making beverages.
4. Flavored Mint:
This is a hybrid Mint variety with different types of flavors like Chocolate, Pineapple, Apple, etc. Flavored Mints have very specific purposes, where certain kinds of flavors are required in a particular preparation along with Mint.
This is indeed the most popular Mint variety in India. Pudina is a household name and an essential part of Indian cuisine, especially the famous ‘Pudine Ki Chutney.’ Along with being a kitchen herb, Pudina is a highly medicinal plant, and it is widely used in various Ayurvedic formulations for stomach problems.
Different methods of growing Mint:
1. Seed sowing:
Mints are difficult to grow by seeds due to low germination rate. Mixed flavored varieties can be grown by seed sowing. Sow the seeds in a seedling tray, fill it with suitable quality sowing medium like coco-peat. Later transplant the young seedlings in pots and containers.
2. Stem cuttings:
Take some stem cuttings from a Mint plant of the desirable variety. Dip the cuttings in a bowl of water and add some soil in it. This will encourage the root formation. Once the roots appear, you can transplant the cuttings into pots, and they will start growing just like a new Mint plant. Read about growing plants by stem cuttings.
3. Nursery plants:
If you don’t have any Mint cuttings or seeds, it is not a bad idea to buy new Mint plants from your local nursery. Please make sure that you buy the right variety of Mint.
Planting Mint in pots:
To plant Mint, you need containers that are wide and not so deep. Mint plant sends out sprawling vines that spread all around your container. The hanging pots are also suitable for growing Mint. Use good quality garden soil mix to grow Mint in pots.
Note: Mint can be a very invasive plant. It is not advisable to plant Mint directly on the ground. There is a chance that it will take over your yard and all the plants around it.
1. Sunlight requirement:
Mint prefers to grow in partial shade or light sun. However, these plants can withstand full sunlight as well.
After about a year, prune and maintain the overcrowded Mint plants in your container. You can split and divide many small Mint plants from a single container and grow them as new plants in a new pot. You can pinch and harvest the Mint leaves.
Click here to read about how to develop a herb corner in your garden.