How to Grow a Mint Container Garden

mint growing in a container

The Spruce / Cori Sears 

Mint is a vigorous, hardy herb that can quickly spread out of control in a garden. So to keep it in bounds, try growing mint in a container instead. Most types of mint take well to container growth, providing lush leaves that you can use in recipes and simply enjoy the scent of. You can even grow mint in a container indoors near a bright window. Or keep a pot on your patio just outside your kitchen for easy access when you're cooking. Most gardeners start their mint from cuttings or nursery plants, as seeds can be a little finicky.

Here are some tips for growing mint in containers.

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Watch Now: Caring for and Growing Mint Plants

Mint Container Garden Tips

  • Select a pot with drainage holes that is at least 12 inches in diameter. An unglazed clay container is ideal because it will allow excess soil moisture to escape through its walls, along with the drainage holes.
  • Fill the pot with a quality potting mix. Work in some balanced slow-release fertilizer, following label instructions, if the potting mix does not already have it. Plan to fertilize the container annually each spring with slow-release fertilizer.
  • Plant your mint at the same depth it was growing in its nursery pot. Gently press down the soil around it. Add more soil to the pot if necessary, so it reaches about an inch below the container's top.
  • Water to evenly moisten the soil. Make sure water is able to run out of the drainage holes, and do not allow the soil to become waterlogged.
  • Place the pot where it will get around six hours of sunlight on most days. If you live in a hot climate, aim to give the container a little shade from the strong afternoon sun. 
  • Water the container whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Remove flower stalks if they appear, as they will cause the taste of the mint to degrade.
  • Rotate the container as needed, so the plant grows evenly and does not stretch in one direction toward the sunlight. 
  • Regularly pinch back the stems to encourage bushier growth. If the plant becomes very leggy or scraggly, it can be cut back to an inch above the soil line to regenerate with fuller growth. Pinch back the stem tips as they regrow.
  • Watch out for the plant spilling over the edge of its pot, as it's possible those mint stems will take root and spread if they come in contact with your lawn or garden soil. Cut them back to prevent unwanted spread.
  • If you live in a cooler climate than your mint variety's hardiness zones, bring the container indoors for the winter prior to the temperatures dipping in the fall. Place it by a bright window and away from any drafts or hot air blowing from heaters. Cut back slightly on watering, but don't allow the plant to wilt. Another option for overwintering is to put the container in an unheated garage or shed. The plant will go dormant, but it will likely regrow in the spring once you bring it back outside after the temperatures warm.
keeping mint moist
The Spruce / Cori Sears 
pinching back mint
The Spruce / Candace Madonna