How Often to Water Mint [& Avoid Overwatering!]

how often to water mint

Mint is a flavorful herb that can be used in many different ways including cooking or for medicinal purposes. But what do you need to know before growing mint plants? Let’s explore how often to water mint, how much sunlight it prefers, and what its climate preferences are!

Potted mint plants are a great herb to grow at home, and you end up with fresh mint leaves! Yet just like any other plant, mint needs attention for optimum health. It is important to know two things about watering mint plants: how much water it will need, and when to water it.

Mint loves water, but not too much. It’s a fine balance.

How Much to Water Mint

How often to water your mint plant comes down its environment at the time. If it’s outside in the ground or in a pot, look to water it every 1-2 days, more if its really hot outside, less if it’s raining a lot that week. If your mint is inside, you should be fine watering it every other day after checking to make sure the top inch of soil isn’t still wet.

When you are watering mint, drench the soil thoroughly so it sinks down far below the surface. But make sure your container has good drainage holes so the excess can run through.

How Often to Water Mint

How often to water mint plants is going to depend on the environment your mint is living in. Whether you’re growing in-ground plants, or inside in a pot, they are going to have different needs.

Watering Mint Indoors

If you have your mint plant indoors in a pot or container, you can generally water it once every few days. The soil can dry out quickly in indoor settings, especially if it’s in a warmer room. Keep the soil moist and warm, water as often as every three days. But also make sure the plant does not sit permanently in wet soil or this can cause overwatering issues (see below).

Watering Mint Outside in a Container

If your mint is planted in a pot outside (even if it’s sitting by the door or on the patio), it will require more attention because of its climate. The sun’s rays are much stronger than the light it will get indoors, and that could cause the soil to dry out faster.

If the weather is calling for a lot of rain, hold off on watering the plant so it doesn’t get too much water.

If the weather forecast is super dry and hot, make sure to check the plant daily (sometimes more than once per day) to see if it needs a drink of water.

You want to water often so the soil does not dry out completely, but be aware that overwatering can also damage the plant. Avoid watering after dark, as this could cause mildew to grow.

Watering Mint in the Ground

If you have outdoor mint plants in the ground, you usually only need to water every few days unless there are extreme heat conditions. Depending on where you live, your plants can often see quite a bit of rain during parts of the season. If you live in a more dry area or are experiencing weeks where there is no rain in sight, you’ll want to check your mint daily to make sure it doesn’t need water.

With tender plants that are younger, they often do best getting watered more regularly. Check on them daily to make sure they are doing alright.

With a more mature, full-grown mint plant, they are hardier and can usually go a few days without being watered. However, if the weather is very warm and dry, check on them daily.

When watering, be sure to use your hose nozzle on the lowest setting or invest in an inexpensive watering wand that helps with accuracy. You want to water the ground, not the leaves themselves.

Mint can run into a few issues if its leaves get and stay wet, this is especially common if you end up watering your plant closer to the end of the day or at night. The leaves won’t have time to dry out and this can introduce pests and disease to take root.

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Add Mulch

When growing plants in the ground, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by mulching around the plants.

This helps reduce evaporation and keeps the soil from getting too warm so your plants don’t dry out too quickly.

But also it won’t get too cold and cause the mint plant to go into shock.

Another added benefit of mulch is that is reduces the splash-back effect and helps prevent dirt and possible disease from splashing up onto the leaves when it gets watered or it rains.

Add 1-2 inches of cedar mulch (my favorite), straw/hay, or other kinds of mulch.

How to Tell if Mint Needs Water

There are a few ways to check if your mint plant needs to be watered.

Look for Wilting Leaves

Oftentimes, when mint needs water it will tell you. No, it won’t say anything out loud, but actions speak louder than words anyway right? 😉

Mint leaves are one of the first things to show signs of drying out. So its leaves will often look like this and that’s a sign to you that you need to give that bad boy a drink.

Test the Soil with Your Finger

You can also check the top inch or so of the soil surface. If it’s dry and you don’t feel water an inch down, go ahead and water it.

If you can feel any kind of moisture, it’s probably best to wait a day so you don’t overwater your mint.

Overwatering Your Mint

One of the main problems gardeners have, especially as newbies, is that they are constantly thinking about their plants and wanting them to do well, and they end up overwatering them.

Overwatering your mint can cause root rot, where the roots essentially drown from not getting enough oxygen, and this can kill the plant.

yellow on mint leaves

Signs of Overwatering

There are a few tell-tale signs that you’ve overwatered your plant:

  • The leaves begin turning yellow from the bottom of the plant first, eventually, these leaves will start getting brown spots and the edges of the leaves will turn brown.
  • The stems near the soil line will start to look soft, or if you have weak stems.
  • Just like if you have too much water sitting in your house, you’ll end up with some mildew, rot, and even rust – in mint’s case these are mint rust, powdery mildew, stem rot, and others.

What to Do if You’ve Overwatered Your Plant

Oftentimes, by the time you’ve noticed your plant has been overwatered, it can be too late.

If any parts of the plant are impacted by fungal diseases, remove those with sharp pruning shears, and dispose of them. Do NOT add these to your compost bin.

Apply copper fungicide to the rest of the plants to avoid the spread of the disease. Here are a few good options:

Let the plants dry out almost entirely before watering again. You might need to replace the soil they are in if they are in a container. When you take the mint out to replace the soil, make sure the roots have enough room and aren’t rootbound, if they are you might want to repot into a larger pot.

Once you do go back to watering, here are a few tips to avoid this from happening again:

1. Try to cut your normal watering schedule in half. What you were doing before was clearly not working, so try and change it up a bit. If the plant’s leaves start wilting, you can slowly increase that until it doesn’t happen regularly.

2. Make sure your pot or container has enough (working) drainage holes. If they get clogged or aren’t able to drain the excess water, root rot and fungal issues are inevitably going to happen again.

3. If your plant is in a pot, try out “bottom watering” and see if that helps you keep a good watering routine without overwatering your plants.

4. Get a self-watering pot. You don’t have to be embarrassed if you need a little help getting the hang of this watering thing. It might seem easy, but it is one of the more complicated pieces of growing your own garden! Self-watering pots take the guessing out of it and just automatically water the plant as needed.

These things are awesome!

If you haven’t tried other varieties of mint aside from the typical common mint, you should check out these as well for next season:

  • Chocolate Mint – yes, it actually does have a chocolatey taste!
  • Apple Mint – sweet flavor, similar to apples of course
  • Pineapple Mint – has a sweet pineapple flavor

Maintaining your mint plants should be easy enough. Just make sure to check for wilting leaves, test the soil with your finger, and if it’s dry water the plant – but not excessively! If you’re overwatering or overwatering, there are a few ways to remedy that such as cutting back on how often you water or getting a self-watering pot so it’s easier to manage. We hope these tips help you grow happy plants all year round!

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