Many people encounter mint on a daily basis when using toothpaste, gum or mouthwash, and it's also a staple in the medicine cabinet. As a digestive aid, it eases stomach cramps and nausea, expels gas, cures hiccups and soothes headaches with its cooling effect. Mint and all of its varieties are easy-to-grow plants that add a pleasing aroma to the garden. Plant mint where it can be contained because its underground runners make it invasive and it's known for taking over the garden.
Mint can grow successfully in a variety of soils and light conditions, but one thing it needs is constantly moist soil with adequate drainage. Mint plants like water, but they cannot withstand soggy soil and wet feet. Stick a finger in the soil. If it feels dry, add water to the mint plant. Water the plants in the morning so that they have plenty of moisture by the time the harsher afternoon sun hits.
Many gardeners plant their mint in containers because of the plant's invasive nature. Container plants often need more watering than in-ground plants. If the container is made of a porous material such as terracotta clay, then the mint plant may need even more water because water leaches out of the container with each watering. If the soil feels dry or only slightly moist, water the mint plant thoroughly in the morning. An ideal container for a mint plant is one that self-waters. Self-watering containers come equipped with reservoirs that hold water and, when the soil becomes dry, water is drawn up by osmosis. The gardener's only job is to keep the reservoir full, and the mint plant determines when and how much water to draw up.
Water and Light Conditions
Mint tolerates a variety of light conditions as long as adequate water is provided. If the mint plant is set in full sun, more water is needed because it loses more water due to evaporation. Water the mint plant in the early morning, and then check the plant in the early or middle afternoon to see if it needs more water. Stick a finger in the soil and if it feels dry or only slightly moist, add water. However, only add about half as much as the morning watering. Diseases can form when a plant's soil has too much water in it at nighttime. For a mint plant that receives partial sunlight or full shade, watering once thoroughly in the morning is sufficient.
Signs of Overwatering
An overwatered mint plant has yellowing leaves, weak stems and appears droopy. It's also more susceptible to diseases such as mint rust, powdery mildew, black stem rot, verticillium wilt, leaf blight and white mold stem rot. Remove damaged areas of the mint plant or use fungicides if the problem persists. Allow the mint to dry thoroughly between waterings and reduce the amount of water given.
Signs of Underwatering
A mint plant that has yellow bottom leaves and/or shriveled or wilted leaves is not receiving enough water. The leaves are the first to be affected by water deficiency because the plant conserves what little moisture it has for the roots. The mint plant's roots also will start to protrude through the surface in search of any water they can find. Water the mint plant thoroughly and cover any exposed roots with soil.