Ina Garten's Genius Tip For Growing Fresh Mint Will Save So Much Hassle In The Garden

As most gardeners probably know, mint is an invasive, frustrating plant to grow in the garden. If you've made the mistake of planting it beside other herbs or vegetables, you've probably felt the pains of watching your other plants succumb to the ravenous horizontal growing and strangling for which mint is notorious. But fear not! Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten has a genius tip that will save you time and annoyance the next time you endeavor to grow mint.

Instead of growing mint directly in your garden beds, Garten recommends sowing it in its own giant planter. On her blog, Garten states, "Unlike other herbs, I plant mint in big pots — otherwise, it would invade the entire garden!" Container growing is a much safer way to grow mint without putting the rest of your precious plants at its mercy. This way, you can still enjoy all the wonders that fresh mint can provide in the kitchen without having to tackle its unruly nature alongside your other plants.

How to foster a healthy mint plant

Caring for a mint plant in a large container is straightforward and rewarding. First, select a container with good drainage to prevent waterlogging. Place the container in an area with partial sunlight, as mint thrives in bright but not harsh conditions. Morning sunlight and afternoon shade are ideal. Watering is crucial; keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Check the top inch of soil, and when it feels dry, water thoroughly until water drains from the bottom of the container. Avoid letting the plant sit in standing water. To encourage bushy growth and prevent legginess, prune the mint regularly. Pinch off the tips of the stems, just above a set of leaves.

Mint is known for its vigorous growth, so consider placing the container on a surface that can tolerate its spreading nature or use a barrier to prevent roots from escaping. Applying a balanced liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks during the growing season can help maintain the plant's vitality. Remember that mint can become invasive, so growing it in a container helps control its growth and prevents it from taking over your garden. Avoid planting any other herbs alongside it, as the mint will likely choke them out.