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 basic and unsophisticated, unlike with many other herbs.
Nevertheless, before cultivating any plant, it’s always important to take a good look at its needs and growing conditions.
Throughout many years of experience and research, HerbsWithin.com team has mastered the art of growing spearmint. In this article, we will show you how to properly care for the plant.
Once you’ve read it, you will be all set and fully prepared to look after your spearmint.
Spearmint Plant Care: The Basics
Spearmint adapts well to several soil types, but that doesn’t mean that it will grow perfectly in all of them.
It is said that spearmint is a moisture-loving plant, and so it thrives in a medium soil that gently traps a good amount of water.
Therefore, when this herb is grown outdoors in the garden, it will do exceptionally well in clay soil.
Conversely, spearmint will always fail to grow in soggy soil, because its roots will suffocate and rot.
Furthermore, when it is grown in pots, it prefers moderately well-drained soil.
Why? Because unlike that found in gardens, soil in containers is limited by its shallowness, and so cannot disperse water efficiently.
So, remember that when you’re growing spearmint in any container, you will need to use a soil that can drain water quite well, but not excessively.
Regardless of how it likes its moisture, what we can tell you is that spearmint likes a nutrient-rich soil. As you will see later on, this herb grows like crazy!
Naturally, 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, for optimal growth, your soil should also be slightly acidic or neutral, which means its pH level should range between 6 and 7, or maybe 7.5 at a push.
That being said, if you’re purchasing a high-quality brand of soil, you shouldn’t need to worry about the pH too much.
Generally speaking, spearmint is very flexible when it comes to its receptivity towards the light.
Spearmint can grow in partial and full sunlight, and can even thrive in partial shade.
But if we’re being 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 that it’s preferable to grow herbs like mint under the morning sun, as afternoon sun can be flammable when compared to the morning sun, and can dehydrate your moisture-loving plants.
In very hot 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 instead of growing it under natural sunlight, try giving it 12 hours of light per day.
From our experience, full-spectrum LEDs work great with spearmint, especially as they don’t emit heat as much as other lamps.
We’ve already alluded to this point somewhat, but now is a good time to thoroughly get into the water needs of spearmint.
In contrast to drought-tolerant herbs, mints love to be surrounded by water all the time.
Accordingly, spearmint likes to be watered regularly, much more often than plants such as rosemary or thyme.
However, regular watering doesn’t mean that you should do so randomly, otherwise you run the risk of overwatering your spearmint, which can cause severe complications that are sometimes irreversible.
In order to make sure 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 best results.
Be sure to keep the soil from drying out too much during the period between each time you water the herb.
Whilst 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, such as vermiculite or organic matter. That might help you decrease the number of times you water your spearmint each week.
Nearly all mint species are considered to be flexible when it comes to temperature.
Spearmint is known to be a moderately cold-tolerant herb, but it can be damaged under extremely cold temperatures.
That being said, even though spearmint can grow in hot temperatures, it can easily become dehydrated, which will put its productivity and life at risk.
According to several experiments, the optimal temperature for spearmint growth sits around 21°C (70°F). At that temperature, your spearmint should have the best flavor and the maximum amount of essential oil.
Spearmint Plant Care: Important Activities
Pruning is important because it keeps your spearmint in a healthy and productive shape.
The problem here is that many gardeners don’t when or how to prune their mint, so they just do it randomly.
However, it’s important to note that random pruning can shock your spearmint and stunt its growth, which will lead to its death.
To cut back your mint properly, you should focus on a few important tips:
- Firstly, don’t cut your spearmint before it reaches at least 3 to 4 inches tall. At this height, the plant will be able to withstand severe cutting.
- Secondly, don’t ever cut back any more than half or two-thirds of each stem. You should keep some foliage for the plant to be able to grow back again.
- Thirdly, if you’re planning on keeping your spearmint dormant in winter, then you shouldn’t prune it more than twice in its first season.
- Finally, always remember to prune your herb before it fully produces its flowering buds. Flowering signals the last stage of your plant’s life cycle which will eventually end in its death.
Mints are well known for their fast-growing, invasive roots, which can spread all over the garden and produce new mint plants everywhere.
In pots, these roots will bump into the container’s wall as they grow, so they will find it harder than normal 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.
To avoid such an outcome, you will need to transplant your mint into a wider pot each time it outgrows its container.
That being said, if the container is wide enough, and the roots are free to grow unlimitedly in its lifecycle, you may never need to transplant your spearmint.
It’s important to mention here that you should avoid transplanting your spearmint multiple times in a season as, again, that might shock the plant.
When the soil inside a container is left unchanged for a long period, its texture will alter, and the amount of nutrients that it contains will become very low.
Here, your spearmint will start to grow slowly and will become more prone to disease and root rot.
You should always be ready to change the soil every few months or, at the very 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 heavily disturb the root ball when you’re changing the soil. Do everything gently, 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.