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How to Grow Mint in a Pot

Mint plants are the perfect starting point for a herb garden. They are usually contained in a pot because the species is extremely invasive, sending out runner roots to take over the surrounding soil. Choose one of the 600 varieties of mint, and give it plenty of water and sun to keep your mint plant thriving.

Part One of Five:
Choosing Mint Varieties

  1. 1
    Choose peppermint if you want a brighter, strong flavor for tea or general use.
  2. 2
    Pick spearmint if your garden, patio or windows get a lot of light and heat throughout the year. It is used very commonly in the Southern United States.
  3. 3
    Plant pineapple mint if you need to plant mint next to other plants. It is one of the less invasive species of mint.
  4. 4
    Opt for lemon mint if you like a refreshing citrus flavor in lemonade or iced tea.
  5. 5
    Try apple mint for a more subtle flavor with fresh apple hints. This variety is popular in fresh salads and drinks.[1]

Part Two of Five:
Starting a Mint Plant

  1. 1
    Go to your garden supply store to buy a mint seedling. Mint does not germinate from seed too easily, so only the most experienced gardeners should start from seed. Plant directly into potting soil or compost after you bring it home.
    • A garden store will have more varieties of mint; however, you may be able to find mint seedlings and plants at your local farmer’s market and supermarket.
  2. 2
    Take a cutting from a mature mint plant. Ask a friend if you can harvest from an existing mint pot or find one in a local garden. Cut approximately one cm above a stem junction with sharp scissors.
  3. 3
    Opt to use a mint that is purchased from the fresh food section in your supermarket. It is not guaranteed that you will be able to grow a plant from each cutting, but it is a good way to use leftover mint if you are willing to experiment.
  4. 4
    Fill a clean glass with water. Place freshly cut sprigs in the glass to grow new roots. Keep it in a warm, sunny place and wait for white roots to grow out of the cut stem.
    • Add water as needed to keep the glass full.
  5. 5
    Wait until the white roots grow several inches long before planting. They can even extend to the bottom of your pot depth.

Part Three of Five:
Choosing a Pot

  1. 1
    Shop for a pot that is at least 12 inches (30.5 cm) in diameter. A mint plant needs plenty of space to grow.
  2. 2
    Choose a pot with drainage holes in the bottom. A mint plant thrives in well-drained soil. Purchase a saucer to place below the pot to avoid staining your windowsill or patio.
  3. 3
    Purchase an additional, much larger, pot if you want to pot mint and other herbs together. You can submerge the whole 12-inch pot in a larger pot, next to other herbs. Keep in mind that many species of mint will still find a way to take over the entire pot through the holes in the bottom of the mint pot.
    • If you want to plant it with other herbs, you will want to separate the herbs later in the season.

Part Four of Five:
Planting Mint in a Pot

  1. 1
    Purchase gritty compost from a local gardening store. You can also combine potting soil with rich compost. Mint plants need rich and well-drained soil to thrive.
  2. 2
    Fill the lower third of the pot with compost and potting soil.
  3. 3
    Set your mint cutting or seedling in the pot. Curl the roots if they are too long for the pot.
  4. 4
    Fill in the area around the mint with potting soil. Pack the area just enough so that the mint stands on its own.
  5. 5
    Line a portion of your outdoor garden with plastic if you want to plant your pot in the soil, but want to discourage it from spreading. Then plant the entire pot into the garden soil, allowing the pot to extend five inches above the surface of the soil.[2]
    • If possible, avoid planting it in the garden. Place it on a patio or on a windowsill to avoid spreading the mint plant.
  6. 6
    Insert several wooden dowels next to the plant to give it support. These can be removed when the plant is thriving.

Part Five of Five:
Caring for Mint Pots

  1. 1
    Water the soil so that it sinks down to the roots. Water it whenever it is dry for the first year. It should always have moist soil.
    • If you experience hot weather, you may need to water it several times per day.
  2. 2
    Keep it in an east-facing location. It does best with six or more hours of sunlight, but also likes to be shaded from hot afternoon sun. If you have very little sunlight in the winter, it may die back.
  3. 3
    Wait until the mint plant is full and the leaves are large before cutting and using the mint. Once it is doing well, frequent cuttings keep the plant full and the leaves strong in flavor.
  4. 4
    Cut the top half of the plant with sharp scissors. Cut one cm above a stem junction and below any flower buds. Don’t cut more than one-third of the leaves at one time.[3]
    • Never allow your mint plant to flower. It will put the nutrients into flower production and slow down leaf growth.
  5. 5
    Divide your plant every few years. Cut the soil into fourths, and then plant each section into a new 12-inch pot. It would be best to give them room. If you don’t divide it, the plant will suffer and the leaves will not grow steadily.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Which type of pots should be used to plant mint?
    Answered by Sander1
    • Pots with holes, so that the water won't collect in the pot when it rains. However, the roots will grow through those holes and attach to the surface you are growing them on.
    Thanks! 10 4
  • Can I put fresh spearmint leaves in my drinking water?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes. Be sure to wash them first, and then muddle the leaves a bit to release the flavor. I use a pestle to gently press the leaves.
    Thanks! 5 2
  • Does a mint plant need to be fertilized?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Mint is pretty hardy, so it can practically live anywhere. However, fertilizer is a nice supplement to help out your hard-working mint.
    Thanks! 7 4
  • What can I do if I only have seeds?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • This article says that mint does not grow from seeds very easily. Only the most experienced gardeners can grow mint from seeds, otherwise it is recommended to get seedlings.
    Thanks! 3 12
  • Can it thrive without direct sunlight?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • No. As the article said, mint should have around 6 or more hours of direct sunlight, so restricting sunlight would probably kill it.
    Thanks! 0 0
  • How do I help my peppermint thrive?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • You can add some fertilizer to help speed the process up a bit, but other than that you should just let nature take its course.
    Thanks! 0 1
  • What do brown spots or edges mean on my mint leaves?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If the brown or black spots are on the underside with a corresponding yellow splotch on the top of the leaves, suspect rust, a fungal infection. Mint rust mainly infects peppermint and spearmint. Destroy infected mint plants.
    Thanks! 0 1
  • Can I keep mint on my front porch?
  • Do rabbits and deer like mint?
  • How do I keep caterpillars from eating my plant?
  • Can I use the leafs from my spearmint plant if it is young?
  • Exactly how much time will it take?
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Things You'll NeedEdit

  • Mint seedlings
  • Sharp scissors
  • Large, mature mint plant
  • 12-inch pot with drainage holes
  • Saucer
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Windowsill
  • Water
  • Glass
  • Wooden Dowels

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About This Article

565 votes - 94%
Co-authors: 13
Views: 194,292

Reader Success Stories

  • JM

    John Miller

    Jun 2, 2016

    "I garden so poorly that I can't keep a mint patch from withering to nothing. This article explained precisely what to do in regards to moisture, shade, and soil preparation. Thanks. "..." more
  • JS

    Jay Smith

    Apr 26, 2016

    "Detailed information yet in language I understood. The pictures reinforced the information, helping me to confidently follow instructions. Thank you."..." more
  • AI

    Ajay Isaac

    Sep 28, 2017

    "Your article has done wonders to my balcony garden hobby. I wish I could post a couple of snaps, living in Delhi NCR."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • A


    Jul 19, 2016

    "It indicated that mint required plenty of room to grow. I think my mint is potbound and does not grow well."
  • SR

    Sue Rand

    May 31, 2016

    "Brilliant! Extremely clear instructions and pictures. If my mint fails to take, the fault will be mine."
  • GA

    Gigi Aguirre

    Jun 28, 2017

    "It helped me a lot to understand how to make a mint plant in a pot survive. Thank you very much."
    Rated this article:
  • GF

    Gloria Fisher

    Oct 22, 2017

    "The compost requirement, amount of sun, and moisture requirements helped. Thanks, everyone! :)"
  • MB

    Manjunath Bhat

    Jul 9, 2016

    "Detailed, informative description with pictures and step-by-step instruction, really useful."
  • BP

    B. P.

    Apr 26, 2016

    "Amazing tutorial with graphics and information all in one place. Amazing wiki."
  • A


    Jul 15, 2016

    "Nice, things like these should be done instead of watching TV."
  • MA

    Mohammed Abdul

    May 27, 2016

    "It was of great use. It was very detailed. Thank you so much."
  • GK

    Greg Ketchum

    Aug 31, 2017

    "It was very informative. It taught me very much. Thank you."
    Rated this article:
  • MG

    Madhumita Ghosh

    Jul 10, 2016

    "I like to read wikiHow and it is very helpful for me."
  • KC

    Kay Counselor

    Jun 15, 2016

    "The facts about sun and water were most helpful."
  • RR

    Ragima R.

    Aug 15, 2017

    "Thanks a lot, this is really informative."
    Rated this article:
  • BS

    Bismi Shenb

    Mar 30, 2016

    "I know the details thoroughly."
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