Mint

What is wrong with the mint on the left? Can it be saved?

To make a proper mojito, you need fresh mint. So Ashley Stalnecker brought a mint plant home so she could add a few leaves into her Cuban cocktails. However, her first mint plant withered and she added a second mint plant to her sunny windowsill. The leaves on the new mint plant are browning and the stem seems brittle. Will both die in her care?

“I’m watering the plant to make sure the soil stays wet, but I don’t know what else to do,” says Stalnecker, a reporter at LNP | LancasterOnline.

Kathy Trout answered her question in a new occasional series to solve your plant problems. Trout is co-owner of Ken’s Gardens, a local business that sells more than a dozen types of mint during the growing season. Her suggestions have been edited for length and clarity.

Trout’s recommendations

Mint will always grow better outside, in the ground or in a container.

To grow mint indoors, Trout recommends using a good quality potting mix and a pot with drainage holes and enough room to grow.

Don’t overwater mint, especially in the fall and winter, when the mint is not growing very much. If there’s water collecting in the drainage saucer, dump it out. If the soil at the bottom of the pot is constantly wet, the roots can begin to rot.

“If overwatered, the plant will start to turn yellow or brown and wilt,” Trout says. “I suspect that is what is happening to this mint.”

Mint also needs lots of sunlight, which can be hard inside, especially in winter when the days are short, and the sun is low in the sky.

It may be too late to save this mint, Trout says, but it can be repotted in fresh soil and cut back. Remember that the plant will grow slowly at this time of year.

There’s no need to fertilize mint in late fall or winter, but Trout suggested feeding with an all-purpose liquid feed monthly in the spring and summer.

How can others avoid this problem with their plants?

“Most people give their indoor plants too much love by overwatering,” Trout says.

So if you want mint for your drinks, hold back on giving this herb too much to drink.

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