How to Grow Mentha Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Mint

Members of the Mentha genus are hardy perennial herbs that reach from 45 to 90 cm (18 to 36 inches) in height.

They are often used in cooking, herbal remedies, and for making teas.

They flower in the summer with flowers of pink, white or purple.

Common names for plants from Mentha include Mint, pudding grass, Chocolate Mint, and Pennyroyal.

Chocolate Mint

mentha piperita
Mentha piperita (Peppermint) photograph by nociveglia

Mentha arvensis
Mentha arvensis (Corn Mint) picture by anemoneprojectors.

If you plan to grow mint in the herb garden, it is best to sink them within a container, within the herb garden; this will stop the mint from spreading.

When using mint from the garden it is best to use fresh leaves, but the leaves can also be frozen or dried for later use.

To freeze mint, it is best to wash the leaves, then chop them before freezing the mint leaves as quickly as possible.

Mentha Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Mint, Pudding Grass, Pennyroyal.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 6 to 48 inches (15 to 120 cm).
Native: Europe. North America. Asia. Australasia. Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 7 to 9.

Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Pink, Purple, White. Small. Terminal spikes.
Foliage: Fragrant. Herbaceous. Oppositely paired. Oblong to Lance-shaped. Toothed.

Grow Outside: Usually grown from cuttings, divisions or runners. Plant in spring or autumn. Spacing 8 to 24 inches (20 to 60 cm).
Grow Inside: Pot up Mentha at the start of autumn and bring indoors. Supply at least five hours of sunlight per day.

Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 6.5 to 8.0. Moist soil. Mix in non-manure compost to the soil at time of planting. Provide a monthly feed. Move to new location every three or four years. Propagate: by dividing, taking cuttings or planting runners in the spring or autumn.
Family: Lamiaceae.
Miscellaneous: Can grow very aggressively and considered to be invasive in many areas; best to grow in contained areas; plant roots in a tub. If planning to store mint it is best to chop and freeze it rather than dry it.

How to Grow Mint and other Mentha Plants in the Garden

It is much easier to grow mint from cuttings, divisions or runners than it is from seed. These can be planted in the garden in either spring or autumn.

Members of the mint family can grow in either sunny or partially shaded locations and have a preference for a moist soil of pH 6.5 to 8.5.

At the time of planting the mint add compost to the soil. Ideally the plants should be planted with a spacing from 30 cm to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) apart.

Caring for Mint in the Garden

It is best to grow mint in their own pots to prevent them from spreading. Sink the pot into the herb garden, and remove mint runners to prevent them from spreading.

To create vigorous and bushy Mentha plant growth, it is best to pinch back the tips of young plants. Every three years the mint plants should be divided and re-potted in fresh soil and compost to help maintain healthy growth.

Common Questions

How many members does the Mentha genus contain?

The Mentha genus has from 13 to 18 species, including several well-known herbs like peppermint and spearmint.

Do Mentha members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Mentha plants are good choices for herb gardens. They have aromatic leaves and can serve as ground cover. However, they can be quite invasive.

Which Mentha species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata) are the most commonly grown species for their aromatic and culinary uses.

Are Mentha plants fragrant?

Yes, Mentha plants are highly fragrant. They're often used in teas, culinary dishes, and essential oils for their refreshing scent and taste.

What is the perfect location to grow Mentha?

Mentha species prefer a sunny to lightly shaded spot with well-drained, fertile soil. They enjoy moist conditions but can also tolerate drought.

Is Mentha invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Mentha, particularly spearmint and peppermint, can become invasive due to their aggressive growth habit, spreading through underground rhizomes. It's invasive in several states, including Oregon and Washington.

How do I remove Mentha plants from my garden?

To remove Mentha, dig up the plants, ensuring to remove all the root system as they can regrow from any left pieces. Consider growing them in containers to control spread.


The Mentha genus is a collection of aromatic herbs, including well-known species such as peppermint and spearmint. Its members are cherished for their refreshing fragrance and culinary uses.

Mentha plants prefer a sunny to partially shaded location with well-drained soil. Spring is an excellent time to plant them. Water regularly, but ensure not to leave the plants in soggy soil. They are generally easy to grow, but keep in mind that some varieties can be invasive.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Mentha plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Basil, Rosemary, and Salvia plants.