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Connecticut Garden Journal: Tips For Growing Mint


When I suggest growing mint to a gardener, they sometimes go running. Mint has a bad reputation of spreading, sprawling and generally trying to take over the world. But not all mints are created equal when it comes to plant growth. Certainly, peppermint, lemon mint, spearmint and their off shoots, such as chocolate mint (it smells like chocolate but doesn't smell like it), will spread quickly and readily in a garden. But more unusual mints such as ginger mint, banana mint and pineapple aren't as aggressive.

Another way to grow mint is as a ground cover. We have fruit trees in our lawn with mulch rings around them. But instead of spreading mulch around the trees, we plant mint. The mint grows well creating a nice ground cover that we can use in drinks and cooking. Even if it gets into the lawn, I don't care. I like the mint fragrance when I mow over it. Mint also flowers and is a favorite of beneficial insects and pollinating bees and butterflies.

In the garden the best way to grow an aggressive peppermint or spearmint is by leaving it in the container and burying the pot in the soil. The pot acts as a natural barrier. Of course, over time the mint will spread out of the pot, but it's easier to keep tame.

Mint is also a good container plant on your deck or patio. In fall, simply cut it back and bring it indoors for winter. Placed in a sunny window, it'll resprout and give you fresh mint fragrance and taste all winter long.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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