Growing a Mint Container Garden

Learn how to grow mint in a container garden
Photo: Kerry Michaels

In my family, we are all mint fanatics. We love putting it in everything. You can transform even a glass of ice water into a treat if you add a few fresh-picked mint leaves. Put a few slices of  cucumber and some mint sprigs into a large mason jar or pitcher, and create your own spa water. If you muddle some mint with lime in a glass, add some ice and a dash of maple or an herbal simple syrup and you have a great non-alcoholic mocktail.

There are lots of great reasons to grow mint in containers. First, you can keep a pot of mint right next to your kitchen door, so it's always available. Also, mint spreads quickly and like crazy, so it's also a way of keeping your gardens and lawn from being overrun by ambitious mint plants. They can really be thugs, so be careful the mint even in your pot doesn't drape on the ground, form roots and spread.

I like growing an entire pot full of different varieties of mint. I use a strawberry pot for this and plant a different mint in each pocket.

Some of my favorites to grow in containers are, ginger mint, pineapple mint, chocolate mint, orange mint and apple mint, because they are all low growing plants.

Mint is ridiculously easy to grow (actually it's pretty hard to kill it).

  • Full sun to partial shade - Mint loves full sun, but will grow in partial shade
  • Keep fairly moist - While it's best to keep your soil moist, mint will tolerate some dryness
  • Don't over-fertilize - Like most herbs, the potency of mint's flavor can be reduced by adding too much fertilizer.
  • Pinch back regularly- Pinch back your mint to keep it bushy and full. Try not to let if flower and if you do see flowers, cut them off right away.
  • Overwinter - Most mints are hardy to zone 5 and some go to zone 3. If you live in a cold climate and have a pot that will survive freezing, you can leave it in the pot. You can also put your pot in an unheated garage. Just make sure to harden off your pot in the spring. 
  • If your mint plants get leggy, which they can do during the growing season, pinch them back to an inch about the soil. Chances are the plant will come bounding back in a few weeks. 
  • For a treat make an mint based herbal tisane.