I grow mint, both indoor and outdoor, for many years. This is, by far, my favorite herbs as it can easily develop with little care. However, do you know that choosing the right pot can make a difference between a massive herb and a one with just a few leaves?
An 8-inch planter for a few months old mint will be enough. However, once its runners start developing, the mint is ready to be transplanted to a planter of any size. It will be filled with new growth in a few months. The planter surface area is the most important factor; a depth of 5-inch is enough.
I saw many gardeners to shy over, offering a large planter to their mint. However, this is one of the critical secrets for massive growth, and here why.
Mint is a particular herb that differs from any other culinary plant you might be growing indoor. Why? It develops runners!
These are specialized stems that are easily distinguishable from the others. They grow mainly horizontally, just over the soil. From them, new (vertical) shoots and roots can develop. This is an advantageous method by which this herb spreads quickly over a large surface area.
That’s the reason also why mint is often treated as a weed or invasive plant. It can take over an extensive surface area. This is also why talking with other gardeners you might hear is an invasive plant and (rightly) highly recommend placing it on a container. Check the mint runner article for more on this impressive feature.
In the beginning, then, especially if you are starting from seed, you can place the small mint in a small container for up to half a year (or a year if you start in winter). A typical 8-inch wide container like this one on Amazon would be sufficient.
Mint, will take some time to develop roots that, once established, will allow runners to start growing. When those runners get long enough, and you have many of them, it is time for an upgrade if you want to.
Indeed, upgrading the pot size of your mint is a great way to dramatically increase its size. Mint grows proportionally to the surface area it has available. However, if you do not want to, your mint will still survive (given you are watering enough, and it can enjoy a few hours of sun per day). Of course, at some point, it will stop growing due to root-bound.
If you are planting indoor and have space, you can easily jump to a 15-inch diameter planter. This is a good size for a generous harvest for a whole family once the plant is fully grown. The one below is a good pick for indoor applications.
If you want something more elegant and suitable for your living room, check out the one below (it comes in many beautiful colors).
If you are outdoor and want an abundant supply of mint you might consider the planter below (even of a larger size, the shape does not matter, either rectangular or square will be fine).
I did not found that the planter depth affects the mint growth in all these years. I generally use shallow planter (or better way larger than depth) around 5-inches in depth. However, no worries, a bigger depth does not affect the plant.
Should you opt for plastic or clay? Mint is such a strong herb that it does not really matter. Indeed, the only advantage of using clay, after its superior esthetical appeal, is its ability to trap moisture allow the plant to dry slightly faster (ideal for rosemary); it is more substantial (so it does not fly under strong wind).
Hence for mint, opt for a plastic planter, especially if indoor. It is cheaper, lighter, and in case of a fall, it does not break in countless pieces.
I decided to check how the pot size makes a difference in the growth of mint. I had taken spearmint from a good friend of mine. It was growing in a small pot, and it stopped growing for 2 months. I so decided that it was time for a transplant.
As you can notice, my friend was keeping it in a planter of a few inches wide, and the whole plant was fit in one hand. Notice the runner on the external part of the container. That mint was asking for a way larger pot.
I placed this tiny mint in a 15 inches wide pot and 5 inches dept with this good quality potting mix. After 2 months, the pot change that mint multiplied its green mass and size by (at least) 5 times. We are 4 people at home, and that single plant (and guess what, we have 2 more!) is enough for our salads and pesto.
The soil used is nothing special, and I live in a pretty gloomy area. What is important, even more, than the sun, is good aeration and lots of water, especially when the plant gets this size. Of course, the planter does not have rocks at the bottom, and it is equipped with drainage holes.
Besides the normal mint care the other key step is to promote massive growth by trimming.
Do not pinch leaves living a bare stem. This will hurt the plant, slowing down its growth. What you should do is to cut directly on the stem, just above a pair of leaves.
In this way, the mint will originate two new stems out of one doubling the number of leaves. This is really the second and most important secrets if you want to grow gigantic mint in a pot.
I love mint. However, it is something that I would not grow directly into the soil for a few reasons:
- Protection: I grow mint for consumption purposes. Hence, I want to be able to “protect them” from pets (placing them out of range and placing them indoor whenever I want or needed (winter, for instance). Moreover, having them in a planter allows to grow them indoors all year round;
- Invasive: mint is a strong herb that can easily take over a whole garden. The problem comes when you want to remove them. Some runners can easily develop underground, developing sturdy rings with shoots and roots getting challenging to remove. Moreover, if you want to remove them and forget a few runners on the way, new mint plant can develop out from them.
Hence, given the above, providing them with a container is really the best choice.
Why should you grow lots of mint in the first place? Why bother with a large planter? Well, I use mint in a large variety of recipes. Here my two favorites.
Surprisingly enough, basil is not the only herb with which you can do a tasty pasta sauce. The recipe is absolutely the same as a more common basil version.
Here my ingredients:
- 1 cup of mint leaves
- 50g of walnuts
- 4 tablespoon of olive oil
- Half a cup of grated cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 3 baby tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 30g of grated cheese
- Few droplets of lemon (for oxidation)
Trick: If the pesto gets too dense, add some heavy cream or just some tablespoon of milk. If, on the opposite, you can add some cheese or more mint leaves.
Add fresh to your just-boiled pasta and enjoy.
This another quick and easy recipe. Again, the procedure is so easy, and you just need the following ingredients:
- Cup Mint leaves
- Cucumber (2-3)
- Garlic (you can skip if you do not like it)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Boiled Potato (cooled down)
- Some seasoning (like horseradish)
The addition of mint gives a fresh twist to the salad, and its a great addition to cucumber.
Here the 4 things I want you to remember about this article.
- Small mint plants a few months old can easily thrive in an 8-inch pot.
- When the runner starts developing and hitting the pot rim is time to transplant.
- Any pot size is fine. The mint will take it over time.
- The material does not really matter; plastic is cheaper and lighter, although it might not look great indoor.
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