Growing your own mint plant

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If you often drink mint tea or use mint in your recipes, consider growing your own mint plants instead of always buying a plant or tea bag at the supermarket. There's really nothing difficult to it. Below I wrote a "mint growing"-guide explaining all the steps you need to follow.

The growing process itself advances quite quickly and it is a joy to watch your own mint plants grow in such a short time. However, it takes some time before you have a mint plant that is large enough to set tea with. Therefore it is good idea to grow several plants at a time and don't take leaves for your mint tea before your plants have grown large enough. Otherwise, you will quickly run out of mint leaves.

Here are the steps you need to follow in order to grow your own mint plant:

  1. Buy yourself a mint plant
    This may seem weird, but the best thing to start from is an already grown mint plant; this will be the mother plant for your home grown mint plants. You can buy one at your local grocery or supermarket. Take some time to pick a mint plant that has absolutely no bugs or other little insects on it. This is very important, because these will ruin all your new plants.
    It would be a bad idea to try growing mint plants from seeds. I've read that this is very difficult and unless you are really dedicated I would not recommend trying it.

  2. Plant your mother plant in a larger pot
    Mint plants need a lot of light and water (click for a bigger picture) Where I live, mint plants are sold in tiny plastic pots. Mint however needs enough space to grow, so we are going to give our mother plant a new home. Choose a pot that is large enough. You can even take a really big pot that has enough room for your own mint plants that are soon to come. You will probably have to add some soil here.
    There are pots with and without a hole at the bottom. I prefer those with a hole: this allows the excess of water to flow away. In this case, make sure you put the pot on a small plate. Water that has flown away will be absorbed again when the plant needs it.

  3. Care for your mother plant: give it enough light and water
    Put the plant next to a window or in the garden. Mint can bare lots of sunlight, however some shadow will do too. In fact, mint is a plant that is very mild in the conditions it requires.
    Supply your mother mint plant with enough water: unlike other plants, mint needs a lot of water. You do not need to water it the whole day long; I do it only once a day or twice if necessary. Just make sure the soil is always humid.
    A dead mint plant probably hasn't received enough water or sunlight. You can recover such a plant by putting it in the sun and by adding enough water. Be gentle however: a dead mint plant cannot absorb as much water as a grown one.

  4. Cut off a sprig and put it in a glass of water
    The sprig you choose doesn't need to have a lot of leaves. Almost every sprig will do. When cutting a sprig, cut about a centimeter above a junction. This way new branches will grow just below that place.
    Put the sprig in a glass full of water. Do this for a few sprigs so you'll end up with more than one plant. You can put more than one sprig in the same glass.

  5. Wait, wait, wait
    Now it's time to wait for the roots to grow. After about a week, small white roots may appear under water. Wait longer, so the roots have a decent length.
    In the meantime continue treating the mother plant well by giving it enough water. Also add water to your glass when you need to.

  6. Plant your new plant in a pot
    Be sure to put your mint plant in a pot that is large enough! (click for a bigger picture) When the roots are long enough, take the sprig out of the water and plant it in another pot. I always take a new pot for each plant, but you can combine several plants into one large pot. You may have to curl up the roots to fit it in the pot.
    Treat this plant well (enough water and light) and finally you'll end up with a large plant. You can then take sprigs from this plant to grow other plants.

  7. Drink tea
    When taking sprigs to put in your tea, try taking sprigs with big leaves so smaller leaves get more light. Taking away sprigs from time to time will encourage the plant to keep growing.

  8. Don't forget to repot your plant each year
    This is something I forgot this summer. Because the roots continue to grow every day, they run out of place. You should take the plant out of its pot, divide the soil in four pieces and put each piece in a separate pot.
    If you don't, your plant won't get those big leaves anymore and eventually will die.