Whether you are growing mint in order to mix a refreshing pot of tea or perhaps to make some sweets, you will likely want to know the best way to harvest your mint leaves.
This is particularly important if you do not want to cause any damage to the plant. The good news is that mint will grow vigorously – some say too vigorously – so chances are you will get a great crop whatever you do.
Follow this guide carefully to optimize its care and you will be able to enjoy mint leaves any time you want!
Mint grows quickly – often too quickly if not grown in a container – and can be harvested with ease.
Top Tips for harvesting your mint plant without killing it
A few basic principles are all you need in order to keep the plant healthy. Harvest your mint no sooner than 3 months from planting, and leave around 6 weeks in between each pick. Take leaves from the top using a clean pair of scissors and remove any signs of buds before they flower.
Do not harvest too early
You need to wait around at least three months before the first harvest of your mint plant. At this point, removing parts of the plant will not cause it any harm.
Harvest too early however and your little mint plant may never recover from the stress.
Leave enough time between harvests
Once you have taken a harvest of mint, don’t go back again for more next week! You need to leave the plant around 4-6 weeks to recover from the removal of the last crop.
By leaving sufficient intervals between each harvest you will be able to use just the one plant for up to or over five years! Some of our readers even have mint plants that are approaching ten years old.
The interval spacing will mean that you can expect to get around three harvest sessions per season. Try to keep to that – the regular removal of the leaves will in turn promote the growth of more.
Take it from the top!
Harvest from the top of the plant. This is where the tallest parts are, which means these are the leaves that are closest to blooming. And you don’t want your mint plant to bloom – so take these leaves first before they have the chance. Rumor has it that the top leaves have the best flavor as well!
Don’t take too much at a time
Generally, never harvest more than around half of the plant at a time, although you can get away with harvesting 2/3 of the plant on a larger one.
The only exception is during the winter period. Here it is recommended to remove any remaining healthy leaves from the plant, and then cut the whole thing right back.
This will encourage your mint plant to grow back next spring with even more vigor than before!
Use clean utensils
Use scissors or a cutting tool and make sure it is sterilized. You do not want to transmit any diseases that could cause a problem for your plant. In addition, you don’t want to cross-contaminate any other species with the mint.
Frequently asked questions about how to harvest your mint plant
How long should I leave between each mint harvest?
Leave about 6 weeks in between each harvest in order to get the most out of your crop. Mint however grows so quickly that you can nip a bit off here and there without any worry of damaging the plant extensively.
Where should I cut my mint plant?
Cut the top leaves first so that you are getting those with the best flavor. This will also stop the tallest stems from producing flowers – something that causes the plant to die back.
Mint is easy to grow and to harvest! And now that you know our top tips for harvesting you can have mint pretty much all of the year-round! But if you still have concerns about how to actually care about your mint plant, we suggest you to read our “why is your mint plant dying” article.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.