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.