Mint is great to grow in the garden, despite the horror stories. It stays green all summer, looks and smells great and can be used in sauces, soups, teas and summer cocktails like Pimms and mojitios.
Mint is perennial which means it will come back year after year. The plant will go dormant in the in winter, but it will sprout again in spring. Cut mint back hard in spring to stimulate strong, new growth. Mint can be divided and re-potted in spring or autumn.
When growing in pots, rejuvenate congested clumps by upturning the container, removing the rootball and splitting it in half. Repot a portion in the same container using fresh compost and either repot the other half in a different container for your own use or give it away to a friend – plants which can be divided are always a bonus!
Mint can be cut back hard in summer too before it flowers or if it gets too big. Once it flowers, the taste in the leaves is lost but cut it back and it will grow back within a few weeks.
Mint is happy in deep shade which is always a bonus for those tricky parts of the garden and can, depending on the variety, grow to be one or two feet tall.
You may have heard horror stories about mint running wild and indeed, it will spread and take over a border if you do not keep it in check. The roots, which are called runners, are incredibly invasive: they quickly grow, sprouting new leaves and new plants as they go. The way to contain mint if planting in a border, is to plant it in a pot sunk into the ground so the mint’s fast-growing root system will be contained but do still keep an eye on it and lift and divide the pot when you see fit over the next few seasons.
Pot up a pot of mint and pop it on your garden table, it is lovely to look at and to smell – and as an added bonus, it apparently keeps the flies away too!