Gardeners love growing spearmint for many reasons, one of the main ones being how easy it is to do so.
Spearmint plant care is very straightforward and unsophisticated, unlike many other herbs.
Before cultivating any plant, it’s always important to take a good look at its needs and growing conditions.
We’ve had many years of research. Through our experience, the HerbsWithin.com team has mastered the art of growing spearmint.
This article will show you how to properly care for the plant. Once you’ve read it, you will be all set and prepared to look after your spearmint.
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Spearmint Plant Care: The Basics
Spearmint adapts well to several soil types, but that doesn’t mean that it will grow well in all of them.
They say that spearmint is a moisture-loving plant. So it thrives in a medium soil that traps a good amount of water.
So, when this herb is grown outdoors in the garden, it will do exceptionally well in clay soil.
But spearmint will always fail to grow in soggy soil. Its roots will suffocate and rot.
Furthermore, when it is grown in pots, it prefers moderately well-drained soil.
Why? Soil found in gardens is almost limitless in its water dispersion. Containers limit the soil depth by the containers’ boundaries. The plant cannot disperse water efficiently.
So, remember that when you’re growing spearmint in any container. You will need to use soil that can drain water quite well, but not too well.
Regardless of how it likes its moisture, what we can tell you is that spearmint likes nutrient-rich soil. As you will see later on, this herb grows like crazy!
Of course, fast-growing herbs consume more nutrients than others. Therefore, the fertility of the soil is a key principle in their development.
That’s why your well-drained soil should also be brimming with organic matter.
Finally, you want optimal growth for your plant. Your soil should also be a little acidic or neutral, which means its pH level should range between 6 and 7, or 7.5 at a push.
That said, if you’re purchasing a high-quality brand of soil, you shouldn’t need to worry about the pH too much.
On the whole, spearmint is very flexible regarding its receptivity toward light.
Spearmint can grow in partial and full sunlight and can even thrive in partial shade.
But let’s be more precise. Spearmint will most likely reach its optimal growth when it is grown under six hours of sunlight per day.
As such, always remember it’s preferable to grow herbs like mint under the morning sun. The afternoon sun can be flammable when compared to the morning sun. That level of warmth can dehydrate your moisture-loving plants.
In sweltering seasons, it’s advisable to grow your spearmint under four hours of sunlight per day instead of six. If you’re using artificial light with your mint, try giving it 12 hours of light daily.
From our experience, full-spectrum LEDs work great with spearmint. What makes them perfect is they don’t emit heat as much as other lamps.
We’ve already alluded to this point somewhat. Now is a good time to dig deeper into the water needs of spearmint.
In contrast to drought-tolerant herbs, mints love water. It wants water around it all the time.
As such, spearmint likes to be watered on a regular schedule. It needs you to water it much more often than plants such as rosemary or thyme.
But regular watering doesn’t mean you should water at random times. If you do so, you run the risk of overwatering your spearmint. That can cause severe complications that are sometimes irreversible.
You need to ensure the roots are well-aerated and the moisture levels in the soil aren’t dangerously high. You should only water the soil when it gets dry and you should do so immediately for the best results.
Be sure to keep the soil from drying out too much during the period between each time you water the herb.
While we’re on the subject of dryness, in hot seasons, you might need to water your spearmint once or twice each day.
You also can counter the heat by increasing the water-trapping material in the soil. I would go with vermiculite or organic matter. That might help you decrease the number of times you water your spearmint each week.
We categorize almost all mint species as flexible when it comes to temperature.
We know spearmint is known to be a pretty cold-tolerant herb. But extremely cold temperatures can damage it.
Even though spearmint can grow in hot temperatures, it can easily become dehydrated. A lack of water will put its productivity and life at risk.
Scientists conducted several experiments on this matter. They found the perfect temperature for spearmint growth sits around 21°C (70°F). Your spearmint would have the best flavor and the most considerable amount of essential oil at that temperature.
Spearmint Plant Care: Important Activities
Pruning is important. It keeps your spearmint in a healthy and productive shape.
The problem here is that many gardeners don’t know when or how to prune their mint Instead of a schedule, they do it randomly.
But it’s important to note that random pruning can shock your spearmint and stunt its growth. That will lead to its death.
To cut back your mint correctly, you should focus on a few crucial tips:
- First, don’t cut your spearmint before it reaches at least 3″ to 4″ tall. At this height, the plant will be able to withstand severe cutting.
- Second, don’t ever cut back any more than one-half or two-thirds of each stem. You should keep some foliage for the plant to be able to grow back again.
- Third, you may be planning on keeping your spearmint dormant in winter. In that case, you shouldn’t prune it more than twice in its first season.
- Fourth, always remember to prune your herb before it produces its flowering buds. Flowering signals the last stage of your plant’s life cycle which will end in its death.
Mints are well known for their fast-growing, invasive roots. They can spread all over the garden and produce new mint plants everywhere.
These roots will bump into the container’s wall as they grow in pots. So they will find it harder than usual to travel and thus start to grow in circles.
In this situation, your spearmint will become rootbound. Left like this, the whole plant will start suffocating and will ultimately die.
You want to avoid such an outcome. You will need to transplant your mint into a wider pot each time it outgrows its container.
If the container is wide enough, the roots are free to grow without a limit. You may never need to transplant your spearmint!
There is something I should mention. You must avoid transplanting your spearmint multiple times in a season. Again, it could shock the plant.
When you leave the soil inside a container unchanged for an extended period, its texture will alter. Also, the amount of nutrients it contains will become very low.
At this point, your spearmint will grow at a snail’s pace, becoming more prone to disease and root rot.
You should always be ready to change the soil every few months or at least at the end of each growing season.
Never reuse the same old exhausted potting soil. Bring some fresh new soil, which you can enrich with compost or fertilizers before pouring it into the container.
Remember, you can use the same container if it still suits the plant—you don’t need to change the pot when repotting.
It’s also important not to disturb the root ball when changing the soil. Do everything with a gentle touch so that your spearmint doesn’t feel alarmed or become damaged.
So, there you have it—the best way to approach spearmint plant care. You are all set and able to grow your spearmint with confidence.
As always, remember to let us know all about your experiences in the comments below.