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Growing Tips for Herbs: Why is My Mint Dying?

4/14/2009 4:21:22 PM

Tags: Mint, Why Are My Herbs Dying, Common Herbs, Garden, Growing Tips, Growing Conditions, Tips, Q and A


Q: Why are my herbs dying?

A: Although mint (Mentha spp.) is easy to grow, I’ve killed a few mint plants for many different reasons. Whether you have better luck or a light brown gardening thumb like me, these tips will improve the health of your mint.

All mint varieties are “easy” to grow because they can flourish in almost any lighting condition, but mint performs the best in full sun. The general ideal temperature range is between 60 to 80 degrees.

The herb likes a medium-rich soil—not too moist and not too dry. The pH should be around 5.6 to 7.5. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to water more frequently. The opposite goes for wet tropical climates, such as southern California or Hawaii.

A few common types of mint are spearmint, which is often used in dishes; peppermint, which is commonly used in teas as it is stronger than spearmint; and apple mint, which is used in teas and salads. The main differences between these various types of mints are their scents, flavors and appearance.


Tips for Keeping Mint Alive:

In general, the same tips for growing common types of mint are the same for unique and rare types of mint.

• If you plan on planting mint in a pot, keep in mind that its roots grow quickly. I recommend using a medium sized pot, around 12 to 15 inches deep and seven to 10 inches wide.

• If you are going to plant mint in the ground, keep it away from other herbs. It will give a minty flavor to its closely surrounding plants. On that same note, don’t plant different types of mint next to each other, as they will loose their original flavors.

• Keep an eye out for weather conditions, such as sudden freezes or heat waves that could damage your plants and adapt water and fertilizer amounts.

• Find an appropriate watering balance for your growing Zone and plant size. For a medium sized plant, about five to seven inches, use about two to three cups of water every three days and adjust from there. 

Do you have problems growing mint? What herbs do you have a difficult time growing? Let’s chat about it; drop me a comment or email The Herb Companion magazine at

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