Mint (mentha) is a genus of plants in the wider Lamiaceae family (mint family). Mint is one of those herbs that everyone knows and loves. All types of mint (including sweet mint, spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint) are fast-growing, spreading plants, so you must give them a place to spread without getting in the way, or plant them in a pot. Mints fresh green leaves add a tangy punch to both sweet and savoury dishes.
If you have ever wondered how to grow mint in Perth then look no further. Mint is one of the more simple herbs to grow in Perth, but there are still a few tricks to successfully growing mint in Perth, Western Australia. Get these right and you will be laughing.
When to plant mint in Perth:
The best time to plant mint in spring once all chances of frost have passed. It can be planted successfully at other times of the year, but it’ll need a little more care to protect it from the elements.
Where does mint grow best?
Mint can handle a wide variety of conditions, but does best part shade. During the heat of a West Australian summer, mint plants will be happier in a shadier spot.
How much water does mint need?
Mint likes water, be sure to keep the soil moist. Mint plants are in pots will need more regular watering than plants in the ground.
Is mint a perennial?
Yes, most mint is a perennial herb. This means it will grow back year after year,
Types of mint in Australia:
There are many mint varieties available to grow in Australia.
- Common mint or garden mint: With lush, green, oval leaves. Most commonly used in cooking. Perfect for mint sauce as a condiment to roast lamb.
- Spearmint: Similar in look to common mint, but the leaves are more pointed. Strong spearmint aroma.
- Peppermint: Purple/red stem with small, oval green leaves. Very pungent peppermint aroma. Used in herbal teas.
- Moroccan Tea mint: A hybrid mint variety, with spearmint being one of the parent plants. Crinkly, small rounded leaves. Popular tea in Arabic nations when combined with green tea and sugar.
- Chocolate mint: As the name suggests similar to peppermint but with a slight chocolate aroma in addition to the peppermint fragrance.
- Apple mint: This mint variety has light green leaves, which may be variegated with white edge. The leaves are soft and hairy, with an apple aroma as the name suggests.
- Ginger mint: Featuring a purple-ish colour stem, with dark green leaves and a mild hint of ginger fragrance in addition to peppermint.
- Eau-de-cologne mint: A very fragrant variety. The leaves are large and more pointed than common mint. Purple stems.
- Pennyroyal: Not recommended for ingestion because it contains a toxic chemical called pulegone. Better used as an insect repellent.
- Corsican mint: A tiny-leafed creeping variety of mint with heart shaped leaves, making it look like a moss. Due to its shallow roots it can dry out easily, so keep moist.
- Basil mint: Large oval leaves, with a strong basil smell – sometimes mistaken for basil.
When to prune mint Australia?
The trick to maintaining mint is to continuously cut it back to restrict its growth. Frequently trimming mint will also keep your plant looking neat and tidy. It’s worth giving it a good haircut in autumn. Prune mint back by about one third after flowering. Using a pair of secateurs or scissors, cut about one third of the length off the end of each stem. Mint is a relatively hearty, fast growing herb, so do not be afraid to prune as your plant will be fine.
How to grow mint from seed:
Growing mint from seeds is easy, fun and rewarding!
- Choose a pot at least 30cm wide. It’s best to position in a partly shaded spot and fill with quality potting mix.
- Fill starter trays with a quality Seed Raising Mix. Sprinkle seeds over mix, lightly cover and gently water. Keep the soil moist throughout germination.
- Once seedlings reach 5cm tall, fill chosen pots with quality potting mix. Transplant seedlings into pot and water in well with a Herb Liquid Plant Food.
- Feed weekly with a Herb Liquid Plant Food to ensure strong root development and healthy leaf growth.
- Snip leaves as needed, removing any flower heads to help prolong the harvest season. Water regularly as mint thrives in moist conditions.
How to grow mint from cuttings:
Mint is easy to propagate from cuttings taken in summer from the new growth.
- Make your cuttings approximately 15cm long, strip the leaves from the lower 1/2 and sit these in some water until new roots appear.
- As soon as the roots appear, you can plant the cuttings into a pot.
- Use a pot that is fairly wide around 25-30cm in diameter and not necessarily deep that deep. Growing is the best option in my view as it is an invasive plant and tends to take over.
- The root system is vigorous and will send up new shoots regularly.
- It will grow in the pot for 2 -3 years, after this it will need re-potting.
- Potting mix with some perlite mixed in is excellent way to get your mint plant up and going.
- Partial shade rather than full sun is recommended and by planting in a pot it is easy to adjust.
- Every year you will need to prune the mint plant to keep it productive.
- You can usually find some healthy small plants in a container each year which you can re-pot in new with some fresh potting mix with some perlite mixed through it.
How to grow mint in pots:
In general growing mint in pots is a great idea. Below are the steps on how to how to grow mint in a pot from seeds.
- Fill starter pots or trays with Seed Raising Mix. Sow seeds, cover with soil and firm down. Water well and keep the soil moist so the seeds don’t dry out.
- Once seedlings have emerged, feed weekly with a Herb Liquid Plant Food. Allow seedlings to grow to about 5-6cm before transplanting into pots.
- Fill a pot with quality potting mix. Any shape of pot is fine as long as it has a drainage hole in the bottom and measures at least 30cm in diameter.
- Feed weekly with Herb Liquid Plant Food to ensure strong root development and good leafy growth. Snip leaves and stems as you need them, removing any flower heads to help prolong the harvest season. Water regularly as mint thrives in moist conditions.
What’s the best fertiliser for mint?
Mint can survive with minimal fertilsing provided it gets plenty of moisture. However for garanteed lush mint leaves you’re going to want to fertilise as well as water. A fortnightly application of eco-seaweed or a Herb liquid plant food will help increase leaf growth and give you a full crop of mint.
When to harvest mint:
Your best time to harvest mint will be over spring and summer. During autumn mint plants will loose some lust, so harvest remaining leaves for drying or freezing for use over winter. This frozen mint is great for making herbal tea during winter.
How to store mint:
Mint is best taken straight from the plant. If you have got you mint from someone else trim the ends and place in a tall glass filled with about 3cm of water. Cover with a loose fitting bag and refrigerate to keep fresh.
Mint plant care and common problems:
Growing mint in warmer climates like Perth can cause problems, it does require constant moisture so part shade is a must. In cooler areas like the south west of Western Australia plants will die back in winter, and bounce back in spring. Caterpillars, snails and slugs will need to be managed so they do not eat your crop.
Pick or prune mint during the growing season to maintain a bushy plant.
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