Can Mint Survive Winter? – The Essentials
Mint is one of those plants that you’d probably want to have in your garden. Whether for drinks or foods, it has earned its place in your kitchen for sure. This scented herb comes in many varieties and is one of the easiest plants to grow. However, before planting the mint in your yard, there are things you need to consider, so it survives throughout seasons.
As you already know, environmental factors highly affect plant growth. For instance, poor environmental conditions, like less sunlight in wintertime and below-freezing temperatures, limit the plant thriving. And now, here comes the question – Can mint survive winter?
What Temperatures Does Mint Need to Grow?
Mint is a perennial plant, meaning it can be planted once and grow for years. Mostly, the mint plants prefer cooler places. They can withstand even light frosts. On the other hand, since they’re hardy plants, they can tolerate heat as well. So, the mint can be grown pretty much anywhere.
However, the length of the growing season depends on the weather conditions and climate in the area. Therefore, for active growth, the mint requires temperatures in a range of 15-25°C. When exposed to a temperature above 30°C, the growth slows. Also, they thrive in humidity levels between 70-75%, so make sure they’re exposed to moisture as well. In a nutshell, it’s preferred to plant mint in spring.
But then again, depending on the variety, all of them have different requirements for growth. For instance, peppermint is capable of withstanding cooler temperatures, while spearmint will tolerate the heat best. Still, none of them will survive the below-freezing temperatures in winter if left untreated.
Does Mint Need Full Sun?
Being shade tolerant, the mint doesn’t require full sun to grow. Instead, the plant prefers partial shade – that is, 2-4 hours of sun exposure a day, and plenty of moisture. Although, it’ll survive when being fully exposed to the heat of the afternoon sun, too. But it won’t thrive. Therefore, the most suitable place to plant the mint would be near a tree, or in any place where it’ll remain in the shade for at least half a day. If you’re growing mint indoors, make sure to put the container in a place where it’ll receive morning sunlight and partial shade.
Garden or Container?
First of all, you should be aware that mint plants can take over your garden in the blink of an eye if planted straight into the ground. You certainly don’t want to spend hours pulling them out while they keep popping out everywhere. For that reason, you better plant the mint in a large bucket, instead of a garden bed, so it doesn’t stray.
On the other hand, if you’re planting in a garden bed, you better submerge a container first, which will prevent the herbs from spreading all over the garden.
Will Mint Grow Back After Winter?
The mint doesn’t need to be replanted each year. When treated properly, it’ll survive the winter and harsh weather. As we mentioned earlier, it can tolerate light frosts; however, once the below-freezing temperatures strike, the mint will eventually die. And now you’re wondering what to do with the mint in winter, so it survives.
To protect the herb from the cold climate, cut it right to the ground. Then, protect the roots with mulch, or put the containers inside until better conditions present themselves. Once spring is around the corner, the mint will go back to its active growth and thriving again. You can then aerate the soil, fertilize the soil if needed, and so on.
Growing Mint FAQs
Mint leaves can be frozen for later use, and still, they’ll retain their original flavor. Save the herbs for later following the steps below:
- Wash them under running water.
- Put the leaves in an ice cube tray, then fill it with water.
- Put the tray in a freezer.
- After freezing, remove the mint cubes from the tray and put them in a bag, then back in the freezer.
- Defreeze the cubes before using them in food.
Yes, and it’s actually for the best to plant mints in a pot since they’re invasive plants that’ll take over your garden very quickly. Grow the herbs in a pot that’s at least 12 inches in diameter with drainage holes at the bottom. The mint plants require moist soil, but not saturated, and partial shade for active growth. Therefore, whether you’re growing the herbs indoors or outdoors, choose the location carefully. They need to receive sunlight, yet be in partial shade for at least half a day.
The mint doesn’t require much to remain healthy and keep thriving. If you’re growing it outdoors, use a light mulch that’ll keep the soil moist and the leaves clean. Otherwise, for indoor plants, make sure you water them regularly. And finally, make sure they’re exposed to sunlight.