My Piece of Dirt

Zone 8 Gardening


on July 22, 2014

Spearmint, Peppermint, Sweet Mint and Catnip.

Spearmint - My Fav

Spearmint – My Fav

When I first got my mint plants I remember hovering over them and saying ‘Grow, grow, grow.  I want to put you in my tea.’  Now, I can’t keep up–not just by drinking tea–so I guess its time to dry, store and make essence oil.

How to make Mint Oil

Also my mint is trying to flower now.  Should I allow this?

The Helpful Gardener Answer  

So the answer is Yes and No.  Yes, I should allow the mint to flower if I want to use it to attract good bugs who eat bad bugs.  No, I should not allow the mint to flower if I want to use it for culinary purposes. (Flowering herbs tend to be more bitter.)  Hmmm, sounds like I need more pots….and why pots?  Because mints can be invasive if turned loose in the garden.

Catnip:  There’s no problem getting the catnip to flower, and its suppose to

shaggy Sweet Mint

shaggy Sweet Mint

repel mosquitoes.  Can’t verify that.  Maybe, maybe not.  Although, if i wasn’t so lazy I’d start making oil out of it for my basil/catnip /vanillia/listerine recipe.  And I don’t find catnip particularly attractive, however, I did see a hummingbird plucking at it just yesterday.  So one woman’s weed is another animal’s idea of heaven.

Peppermint - Prettiest

Peppermint – Prettiest

Peppermint:  Several weeks ago I re-potted the peppermint and it surprised me by sending out shooters.  Now, I’ll attempt to grow a new plant from one of the shooters.  However, this means that the pots will have to stay in one spot until the new plant latches on good–could take months.

Spearmint:  It is starting to bloom. Tiny red flowers.

Sweet Mint:  Is an explosive grower.  Seems like, the more I prune it, the more it grows.  Also if I don’t prune it, it gets quite shaggy.  I don’t want to deal with another pot of sweet mint.

Facts on mints:  (also applies to lemon balm)

  • Blooms mid-summer
  • Water-hog – but insure good drainage.
  • Fertilize with very diluted compost tea.
  • Spritz with Epsom Salt Water whenever it looks poorly.
  • Pruning just seems to make mint happy, but always leave 1/3 of plant.
  • Prevent mold in mucky weather by fanning.
  • Propagate by root division in early spring.
  • Late fall or early spring — Mints will go into a dormant stage and should not be pruned anymore.  Also, since this dormant stage is coming, one should have the mint pruned in an attractive way before winter.
  • Move mint pots under the awning before First Frost.


A.M. sun only and not too much of that either!!!! 


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