- Mint Companions
- Growing Mint
- Additional Mint Information
- Join list.
- 10 Reasons to Grow Mint
- Mint Can Only Move So Fast
- Mint Can Be Contained
- You Can Take as Much Mint as You Please (& then some)
- Mint Grows Well in the Shade
- Mint Can Grow from Cuttings
- You Can Completely Ignore Mint (& it won’t feel bad)
- Mint Attracts Beneficial Insects (& Repels the Bad Ones)
- Mint is Good for Your Pets
- Mint is Good Food
- Mint is Good Medicine
- Guide to Mint Plants
- Grow Mint Plants in Containers
- How to Grow Mint Plants
- Pests and Diseases of Mint
- How to Harvest Mint
- What About Catmint?
- Guide to Favorite Mint Varieties
- Fun Herb Garden Projects
- Mint Plant Companions – What Plants Grow Well With Mint
- Companion Planting with Mint
- Plant Companions for Mint
- Your comments and tips
(tips on growing mint in your garden)
On this page, we talk about the benefits of adding mint to your garden but we also have a pair of guides on growing mint and companion planting with herbs.
Mint Companion Planting
Mint companion planting offers assistance to a number of vegetables include beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, chili and bell peppers, Chinese cabbage, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, salad burnet and squash. Planting mint near peas, cabbage or tomatoes will improve their health and flavor.
Mint is quick spreading. Take advantage of its vigorous growth habit by mulching your beet plants with mint clippings. (Unfortunately, our source did not provide a reason for why mint clippings will aid beets, but it seems like a great solution for excess mint and if it helps your beets – all the better.)
Mint plants will become more vigorous if broccoli or brussels sprouts are planted nearby.
Unfortunately the only mint companion planting recommendations for other herbs are things not to plant near mint. It is a bad idea to grow parsley or chamomile near mint.
Mint & Insect Control.
There are a number of commercial insecticidal soaps which include pulegone. Pulgone is found in mint oil and can be effective in repelling ants, aphids, earwigs, mealybugs, slugs, snails and spider mites. Other gardeners have extolled the virtues of mint oil as a insecticide. But, they warn to not get get the spray on flowers, including tomato flowers as butterflies and bees will avoid them as well.
Several folks have reported mint is also a great deterrent against deer flies and other stinging insects. Others use it inside to combat roaches and ants.
Mint & Mice
Some claim that mice hate the smell of mint and will not eat anything that has come in contact with the herb in either its fresh or dried state. They recommend planting mint near crops that are favorites of the local mouse population.
Additional Mint Information
(Mentha viridis, Linn.)
To learn more about growing mint be sure to check out our mint fact sheet.
Mint was used in a variety of ways throughout history and our mint history page talks about the herbs origin, migration and early uses. Mint also makes some very tasty mint punch.
If you are looking for a more in-depth discussion of companion planting mint, the medicinal properties of mint and making your own herbal remedies, one of the highest rated books, on Amazon, on this topic is Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. At the time I added this suggestion, there were 214 reviews of the book and only 24 reviewers rated it as less than five stars and of those, only 3 weren’t 4 stars.
Mint has a bad reputation for taking over the garden, for good reason. But, there are many reasons to grow mint in your backyard without fear!
Even though mint is a highly beneficial plant, due to its spreading nature, many of us opt to just go without it all together.
The problem with doing this is that the mint wins.
Seriously, though. We humans are definitely smart enough to outwit the mint, making it possible to enjoy all of its benefits. Mint is a tasty plant that can be made into all kinds of goodies, while also being a powerful medicinal herb.
There are many different varieties of mint such as peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, and apple mint, all with similar growing habits.
There are also other plants that are in the mint family that grow without abandon such as lemon balm, bee balm, and catnip that can included in this discussion as well.
10 Reasons to Grow Mint
Mint Can Only Move So Fast
The truth of the matter is that mint is a plant, and while it can and will most definitely spread, it takes some time for this to happen.
I would steer clear of planting mint in or anywhere near your regular garden beds as it will eventually try and take over, but it’s a great plant for a rocky herb garden, a neglected corner of your yard, or a high traffic area.
This is a mint plant that is just starting to spread after one year in the ground.
Mint will spread from its underground roots, and can cover great distances and under obstacles to get to where it wants to go, so keep that in mind when planting.
But, this won’t happen overnight, although it may sometimes seem like it. Just keep a close eye on it and harvest any new plants that you don’t want.
Mint Can Be Contained
Probably the best way to grow mint is in a container. This will ensure that it will stay where you want it, without any worry of garden takeover.
Since the rhizomes that cause the mint to spread don’t go very deep, it’s also possible to plant mint in a raised bed without worrying too much about it jumping ship.
It will try and take over the raised bed, however, so make sure to plant other things that can keep up with it. Other hardy perennial herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme can usually tolerate the aggressive nature of mint, especially if they are already established.
You Can Take as Much Mint as You Please (& then some)
The best part about growing a plant that is as aggressive as mint is that you can be just as aggressive back at it without worry of harming it. You can cut handfuls of mint at a time without any damage done.
See a mint plant that is growing where you don’t want it? Chop it down and turn it into something delicious, or cut large bundles of mint and hang to dry for use in the winter months.
Mint Grows Well in the Shade
If there is a shady area of your yard that you have trouble growing things in, try planting mint. While it prefers full sun, it can tolerate some shade, and it will probably keep it from spreading as quickly.
Regardless, I would still take the necessary precautions so that you don’t get a complete mint takeover (unless that’s what you want, of course).
Here is a short video with tips on growing and using mint:
Mint Can Grow from Cuttings
Mint is super easy to propagate from cuttings and will readily re-root itself. You can cut out mint where you don’t want it, put it in water until it grows some roots, then transplant it where you do want it.
In fact, you don’t even have to put it in water first as it will root right in soil. Do it as a science experiment with your kids, or root a bunch of cuttings, pot them up, and give away to friends.
Mint is the gift that keeps on giving (and giving).
You Can Completely Ignore Mint (& it won’t feel bad)
Let your mint go and do it’s thing, then come and take from it as much as you want, and it will still thrive. Don’t worry about watering or fertilizing it. Really, it will grow without any inputs.
Unless you’re trying to naturally thin it out, it may like a little water from time to time, but it will honestly be ok if you literally ignore it for months on end.
Mint is a great plant for lazy gardeners.
Mint Attracts Beneficial Insects (& Repels the Bad Ones)
Let your mint go to flower and it will attract bees, beneficial wasps, hoverflies (aphid eaters), and tachinid flies (parasitic on nasty bugs).
The smell of the mint plant will also repel houseflies, cabbage moths, ants, aphids, squash bugs, fleas, mosquitoes, and even mice. Not a bad deal, if you ask me!
Mint is Good for Your Pets
Chickens love fresh herbs and mint is no exception. The best part is that it’s also great for them and their coop. It keeps bugs, flies, and parasites at bay, as well as being an antioxidant and digestive aid for your flock.
Be sure to plant lots of mint (as well as other herbs) in and around the coop and run for chickens to nibble on daily.
Mint is also great for cats and dogs. Catnip is actually in the mint family, and is a favorite herb for kitties as well as humans.
While cats and dogs probably shouldn’t eat a whole lot of mint in one sitting, a little bit is great for them. It is a natural flea repellent, and I often see Cosmo the kitty rubbing up against the mint plant.
Mint is Good Food
Of course, mint is an awesome culinary herb! Cut it from the garden without abandon to make all kinds of delicious treats. I particularly like to make tea with it, hot or iced!
Check out my very favorite teapot for making herbal tea here.
Turn it into mint pesto or add it to your favorite homemade cookies, brownies, or this decadent sounding fresh mint cake with with dark chocolate mint frosting.
Get creative and make mint infused honey, a gallon of mint wine, or chocolate mint extract.
This rhubarb mint jam sounds delicious, so does this traditional mint sauce for lamb. You can also just simply chop it up and add to salads or use it as a garnish.
Have a mint julep, mojito party, or raspberry mint infused wine, you deserve it!
Mint is Good Medicine
Mint is also an amazing medicinal herb. It is well known as a digestive aid and breath freshener, and is also good for an upset stomach.
Peppermint is especially great for headaches, and the essential oil can be rubbed on the temples for relief. It can be helpful for seasonal allergies, and can also be added to body care products like salves and lip balms, soaps, shampoo bars, and lotions.
If you’re interested in learning more about herbal medicine, check out the awesome online courses from the Herbal Academy!
Still too scared to grow mint but want to enjoy all of its benefits? Order high quality, organic dried peppermint or spearmint from Mountain Rose Herbs (my favorite place to get dried herbs).
I hope this post has inspired you and given you some reasons to grow mint! It really is a versatile plant that we should not fear having in our yards. Here are some other great posts on how to use up lots of mint:
- 12 Great Ways to Use Mint and Tips for Growing It
- 15+ Versatile Uses for Mint
- Preserving Mint for Food and Medicine
- More Mint Ideas
- Got Mint?
Do you grow mint? What is your favorite way to use it?
Guide to Mint Plants
Mint has multiple uses. Its fresh green leaves add a tangy punch to fruit salads, ice cream, sherbet, and brewed hot tea. It is a low-calorie, flavorful addition to a simple glass of still or sparkling water. And who ever heard of a mint julep without the mint?
Once you plant it, mint (Mentha species), a perennial, becomes a constant garden companion, although some kinds are tougher than others. If you’re feeling kind, you can call mint plants aggressive. If you don’t like thugs taking over your garden, you will consider mint invasive.
Grow Mint Plants in Containers
Because it grows by underground root runners, mint spreads easily and quickly. To contain it, grow mint in a 12- to 16-inch-wide pot so it can’t ramble through your landscape. If you like, tuck the container into the ground so the pot doesn’t show but still keeps the herb in check.
You also can plant mint in a large half-barrel or plastic pot and leave it outdoors year-round. Don’t keep ceramic pots outdoors during winter; they often crack during the freeze-thaw cycles that follow freezing temperatures.
How to Grow Mint Plants
Plant mint in full sun or part shade. It thrives in rich, moist, well-drained soil. Mint adapts to many soil types, but develops the best foliage in soil that has been enriched with a 2-inch-thick layer of compost.
Frequent cutting keeps mint looking attractive. As with basil and other flowering herbs grown for their leaves, remove flowers as they appear, and pinch back the stems to encourage shorter, bushier growth. Keep the area around mint free of weeds and grass. Otherwise it looks untidy, and the weeds may reduce yields and affect flavor.
Divide mint every few years. In fall, cut the plants to the ground.
Mint can also be grown indoors. Plant the herb as you would outdoors, in a pot, and place in a room that gets a generous amount of sunlight. Just be sure to keep the plant away from elements that would dry it out, such as a heater or radiator.
Pests and Diseases of Mint
Mint plants can fall prey to a number of pest problems, including diseases such as verticillium wilt, mint rust, mint anthracnose, and insects such as spider mites, flea beetles, root borers, cutworms, and root weevils. Aphids are occasionally troublesome. Provide good air circulation and well-drained soil to prevent foliar diseases; knock off insects using a spray from a garden hose, being sure to spray the undersides of leaves where pests can hide.
How to Harvest Mint
Cut the leaves and flower tops when the mint plants start to bloom. Use fresh leaves immediately, or freeze them to retain their bright color.
To air-dry mint, hang the stems upside down in small bundles or spread them loosely in a small tray. When the stems and leaves are brittle, remove the leaves and flowers and store them in airtight containers.
What About Catmint?
Catmint (Nepeta) is a different plant, though related. It grows in much the same way as the herbal mints described here, but its flavor is much more attractive to your cat than it will be for you. Catmint can be dried or used fresh. Many types of catmint species are grown in the garden for their attractive blue-purple, white, or pink flowers.
Guide to Favorite Mint Varieties
Not all mints taste the same. If you’re planting all of these, space them as far apart as possible to avoid cross-pollination.
Apple mint (Mentha suaveolens) combines a fresh apple flavor with mint, as you would expect from its name. Zones 5-10
Chocolate mint (Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate’) has a subtle chocolaty taste and scent. Zones 5-9
Lemon mint (Mentha x piperita f. citrata) offers citrusy undertones. Zones 5-9
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) comes in many cultivars. Zones 3-8
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) comes in many cultivars, including ‘Kentucky Colonel’, which has large, flavorful leaves. Zones 5-10
Learn more about mint.
Discover other easy-to-grow herbs.
Fun Herb Garden Projects
- By Deb Wiley
Mint Plant Companions – What Plants Grow Well With Mint
If you have herbs in your garden, you likely have mint, but what other plants grow well with mint? Read on to find out about companion planting with mint and a list of mint plant companions.
Companion Planting with Mint
Companion planting is when different crops are planted near each other to control pests, aid in pollination, and to harbor beneficial insects. The byproducts of companion planting maximize garden space and increases healthy crop yields. Mint is no exception to this practice.
The aromatic aroma of mint isn’t as pleasing to many crop pests, so planting crops next to mint can deter these plant nemeses. So what plants grow well with mint?
Plant Companions for Mint
Mint helps deter flea beetles, which chew holes in the foliage, of crops like:
Carrots are another plant companion for mint and as benefit from its proximity, mint discourages carrot root fly. The pungent scent of mint confuses the insect which finds its dinner by smell. The same is true of onion flies. Planting mint next to onions will baffle the flies.
Tomatoes also benefit from comingled mint planting in this way, as the aroma of the mint deters aphids and other pests. Speaking of aphids, planting mint near your prize roses will also repel these pests.
The powerful aromatic oils of mint seem to be beneficial to all of the above mint plant companions in repelling harmful insect pests. Other plant companions for mint include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Chili and bell peppers
- Salad burnet
Do keep in mind that mint is a prolific spreader, some might become invasive. Once you have mint, you will likely always have mint, and lots of it. But if it keeps the aphids and other winged marauders out of the veggie garden, it’s probably a small price to pay. I’m sure you can find a way to use up all that mint in the garden – mint-pistachio pesto, peas and mint with pancetta, or MOJITOS!
Your comments and tips
Post a comment or question Display Newest first | Oldest first, Show comments for Australia | for all countries 25 Sep 19, Peter Devenny (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Hey all, I have a problem with a white/grey mould appearing on my mint and sage leaves, the leaves are dieing off and i don’t know what to do about it , can anyone help please Happy gardening 26 Sep 19, Anon (Australia – cool/mountain climate) Google the internet, you might find a natural spray. If you can’t fix it, throw the soil and plant in the rubbish. Give the pot a good sterilisation and start again. 12 Jul 19, Sally (Australia – temperate climate) I have a few patches of mint – in a garden bed and in pots. It thrives in spring and summer, but still grows quite well through winter. In the last two years, though, I have had a pest; a tiny fly that must lay its eggs in teh growing tips. This causes the tiny terminal leaves to stick together as the eggs hatch and teh larvae feed. If I prise the tip leaves apart I can (just) see tiny, tiny yellowish maggots. I took them to a lab and examined these under a microscope. Sure enough they are typical maggots – legless, hairless, pointed at one end and flat at the bum (spiracle) end, wriggling about. They are about 1 mm long. It kills the tips – they go brown and once the larvae change into adults the tips dry out and die. Does anyone know what the ID of this fly is? And what I should do? I’m guessing remove all tips, put out yellow sticky paper for the adult flies and maybe spray with spinosad? Or stop growing mint for a season??? Help! I do love mint in my mojitos! 15 Jul 19, (Australia – temperate climate) I’d suggest you spray and yellow sticky paper and see how it goes. 12 Mar 19, Greg paterson (Australia – tropical climate) What is the best variety of mint for Darwin I have grown Coles and Woolies cuttings but they struggled and had low yield 15 Mar 19, Joanne (Australia – temperate climate) Try growing Vietnamese mint. www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/tropical-herbs/9427796 14 Mar 19, Mike (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Do some internet research. 01 Jan 19, Chloe (Australia – sub-tropical climate) My flourishing mint has suddenly grown very tall and stalky. Should I prune it right back or just the tops? 05 Jan 19, Mike Logan (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Probably going to seed. 31 May 19, Sally Pope (Australia – temperate climate) Hi, our mint also goes leggy in summer, especially the potted ones. We cut it back fairly severely, then keep up the watering, and it comes back. Showing 1 – 10 of 64 comments