Going potty over mint

Rather later than planned I repotted the mints last weekend. At the moment I grow four mints in pots. The most important is Moroccan mint which I like most for general purposes and especially for mint tea either on its own or with some green tea. Also useful is black peppermint which is another good general purpose mint. There is a pot or two of variegated apple mint which is good for cooking and also looks attractive and then there is some Eau de Cologne mint which smells nice but is not great for cooking.

All four are kept in pots because mint is invasive in the garden. The trouble is the way it ‘moves’ away from where it is planted as it ‘exhausts’ the soil and looks for somewhere fresh to grow. Long, creeping stems skip across the soil and become a nuisance. If you chop these off and try to keep it where you want it you find it lacks vigour and is just not as good as it used to be. So I grow them in large pots. Those creeping stems run round the outside of the pot and, in most cases, do not clamber over the side looking for pastures new. But there is a catch and that is that they need annual repotting or they lose vigour. So that means knocking them out of their pots, chopping off the lower two thirds of the roots and compost with a spade and then chopping the clump up into four or more parts. It is brutal but mint can take the treatment. I then pot up the pieces in my best compost mix of multipurpose mixed with John Innes No 3 with some added controlled-release fertiliser. And then they need water. Unlike most herbs that prefer sun and slightly droughty conditions, mint prefers a little shade and lots of water.

mint potted

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12 Comments on “Going potty over mint”

  1. thelonggardenpath
    April 21, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    Right! That’s my job for today!

    • thebikinggardener
      April 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

      It was a lovely day here – just right for potting mint – I hope it was there too 🙂

      • thelonggardenpath
        April 21, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

        Yes, but I must confess I didn’t pot the mint!

      • thebikinggardener
        April 21, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

        Well it will be wetter at the weekend which will be perfect weather 🙂

      • thelonggardenpath
        April 21, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

        There’s no getting away with it, is there? 😉

      • thebikinggardener
        April 21, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

        LOL. Well it won’t do itself – like most things in the garden. But don’t feel too bad – I only finished the digging today so I am not too smug about it!

  2. Meriel
    April 21, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Here’s your sister – mine in pots have been waiting for 2 years now. Perhaps you have jogged me into doing it later – when the sun goes down!

  3. digwithdorris
    April 21, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    i have never repotted mine! Better get to it.

  4. Alberto
    April 27, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    I’ve recently bought mint moroccan because I fell in love with the scent and also I found its sturdy leaves and purple stems very attractive. You are very right about int being invasive, in fact I still haven’t decide where to plant it actually, in a pot it will dry out in my climate or ‘jump off’ the pot to root in the ground when it’s happy… Shame because I love mint. Try it on roasted zucchini!

    • thebikinggardener
      April 29, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

      It can be a problem to find the right home for. I will try your recipe tip – I am growing 4 types of zucchini this year: long green, long yellow, round green and round yellow – so I should have plenty 😉

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