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Best Mint Companion Plants for a Great Garden

Jump to RecipeMint leaves.

Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow in the garden, but it has some things you should know before growing. Companion planting mint can have mutual benefits for mint and the other garden plants you are growing.  When growing an herb garden you might not want to just through mint in with your other plants just yet. This post will go over the types of mint you can grow and the best and worst companion plants to plant them with in the garden

Types of Mint

There are many different mint varieties you can grow in your garden. Here are a few popular ones:

  • Peppermint: Peppermint has a strong, cooling flavor and fragrance. It is commonly used in teas, desserts, and as a flavoring agent in various dishes.
  • Spearmint: Spearmint has a milder flavor compared to peppermint. It is often used in drinks, such as mojitos, and as a culinary herb in salads, sauces, and desserts.
  • Chocolate Mint: This variety has a delightful chocolate-mint aroma and flavor. It is often used in baking, desserts, and beverages.
  • Orange Mint: Orange mint has a citrusy scent and taste. It can be used in salads, fruit dishes, and beverages.
  • Pineapple Mint: Pineapple mint has a pineapple-like aroma and flavor. It is often used in fruit salads, drinks, and as a garnish.
  • Ginger Mint: Ginger mint has a hint of ginger flavor and aroma. It can be used in teas, cocktails, and Asian-inspired dishes.
  • Lemon Mint: Lemon mint has a refreshing lemon fragrance and flavor. It is used in teas, beverages, and as a garnish.

8 Tips for Growing Mint

For best results there are a few things you should know about growing mint. Using these tips will get your taller plants and a bountiful harvest.

  1. Choose a suitable location: Mint prefers partial shade to full sun. Select a location that receives at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day. Ensure the soil is well-drained and rich in organic matter.
  2. Planting mint: You can grow mint from seeds or transplants. If using seeds, sow them in a seed tray or directly in the ground after the last frost. Transplants can be planted directly into the soil. Space the plants about 12-24 inches apart to allow for their spreading nature.
  3. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Mint requires regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods. Water deeply whenever the top inch of soil feels dry.
  4. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the mint plants to help retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth. Mulching also helps maintain a more stable soil temperature.
  5. Fertilizing: Mint doesn't typically require heavy fertilization. However, you can apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer once or twice during the growing season to provide necessary nutrients. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for application rates.
  6. Pruning and harvesting: Regularly prune your mint plants to promote bushier growth and prevent them from becoming leggy. Pinch off the tips of the stems to encourage branching. Harvest mint leaves as needed by snipping them off with scissors or pruning shears. Harvesting frequently helps the plant stay compact and productive.
  7. Containment: Mint has a tendency to spread vigorously through underground runners (rhizomes). To prevent it from taking over your garden, consider planting mint in a separate container, a garden bed, or use a barrier like a buried plastic edging to restrict its growth.
  8. Pests and diseases: Mint is generally resistant to garden pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for common issues like aphids, spider mites, or powdery mildew. If necessary, use organic pest control methods or consult with a local gardening expert for appropriate remedies.
Close up of mint in the garden.

Best Companion Plants for Mint

What make a great companion plant for mint is something that can deal with the quick growth habit of mint. Mint is an aggressive grower, so it's best to provide enough space or plant it in containers to prevent it from overshadowing or competing with other plants.

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes will benefit from being planted with mint because pests like tomato hornworm, spider mites, and aphids will stay away due to the strong scent from mint leaves.
  • Dill: Dill attracts beneficial insects like wasps and predatory beetles that feed on pest insects. It can also provide some shade to mint plants.
  • Nasturtium: More good mint companion plants are nasturtiums. Nasturtiums repel aphids, whiteflies, and squash bugs, which can be beneficial for mint. Additionally, their colorful flowers can add beauty to the garden.
  • Marigold: Marigolds repel nematodes, aphids, and other pests. Planting them near mint can help protect the mint plants from potential damage.
  • Bee balm: Bee balm attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, promoting pollination in the garden. It can also provide some shade to mint plants.
  • Borage: Borage attracts pollinators and beneficial insects while deterring pests like tomato hornworms. It can also help improve soil quality when used as a green manure.
  • Chives: Herb plants like chives repel pests like aphids and deter fungal diseases. They can be planted alongside mint as a natural pest deterrent.
  • Carrots: The scent of mint can repel carrot flies. Try to plant mint around your carrot crop to ward off these carrot root flies.

There are plenty of other good companion plants for mint but these are my top picks.

Worst Companion Plant for Mint

While mint has many beneficial companion plants, there are also many different plants that are not well-suited to be grown alongside mint. Here are a few examples of plants that are considered bad companion plants for mint:

  • Other mints: Different varieties of mint can compete with each other for resources and space. If you want to grow multiple types of mint, it's generally recommended to give them separate containers or designated areas in the garden to prevent them from overtaking each other.
  • Parsley: Mint and parsley have different growth habits and water requirements. Parsley prefers well-drained soil, while mint thrives in moist soil. Growing them together can lead to uneven watering and affect the growth of both plants.
  • Cilantro/Coriander: Similar to parsley, cilantro has different water and soil requirements compared to mint. Cilantro prefers well-drained soil, while mint likes consistently moist conditions. Planting them together may result in one plant suffering from improper watering.
  • Fennel: Fennel is known to inhibit the growth of other plants, including mint. It produces chemicals that can stunt the growth of neighboring plants. It's best to keep fennel and mint separate in the garden.
  • Rosemary: Mint likes to be watered regularly and rosemary prefers a dry sandy soil. Since they have different requirements, these don’t make for great companions in the garden.

How to Use Mint

There are so many uses for mint! Mint is such a great addition to your vegetable garden because of its versatile uses. I love to use it as a garnish, toss it in with a salad, or add it to my drinks. Another great way to use mint is to dry it and use it as an herbal tea.

Should you plant mint in your herb garden?

Absolutely! The strong scent of mint is enough to want to grow this herb in your garden. It is easy to grow and has many uses. Just remember it will spread so plant it in separate pots. The only reason I wouldn't grow it is if you are very limited on space or you have had issues with an invasive plant before.

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