No matter what plant you are growing, you probably want the plant to look full and luscious. Even though mint is a pretty resistant and resilient plant, it is not always the fullest and most vivacious looking of herbs. So, why is your mint plant leggy and scraggly?
In this article, we are going to answer just that. We will also give you tips on how to make your mint plant look fuller, prevent it from becoming leggy again, and know when the plant is dead. Without further ado, let us get started.
Why Is Your Mint Plant Leggy And Scraggly?
One reason why people love mint is that it is incredibly resilient and grows quickly. Unlike other plants, mint does not need as much water or care. It can actually grow in a variety of environments, making it a favorite among amateur and expert gardeners alike.
Although the fact that mint can grow quickly is a benefit in many scenarios, it also comes with a drawback. Most notably, mint can spread really quickly. This causes stems to be weak and the plant to be leggy and scraggly overall. Quick growing mint will especially become scraggly if the environment is not conducive to a healthy plant.
Here are some examples of unhelpful environments that will make a mint plant scraggly.
Too Little Light
Mint plants can grow whenever there is lack of light, unlike other plants. Whenever they are not experiencing enough light, the stems will stretch out so that they can get the needed resources, creating a leggy and lopsided look.
Too Much Fertilizer and Nitrogen
Additionally, too much fertilizer can create scraggly stems. Whereas too much fertilizer will make other plants die, it makes mint scraggly and leggy. Especially if there is too much nitrogen, the mint will continue growing, but the plant will look rather scraggly and less full.
Your mint can be scraggly and leggy if you have any container too small. Rootbound is something that can affect any potted plant, including mint. It happens when the roots have gone throughout the entire soil and are pushing against the container walls. In other words, there could be more roots and soil within the pot.
Finally, the last reason why your mint plant could be leggy and scraggly is because of low temperatures. This will typically only be an issue if your mint is outside. Indoor mint plants should not face this issue unless it is placed right next to a window.
Can You Revive Leggy Mint?
If you catch leggy mint early enough, you should be able to revive it. Most notably, you will need to diagnose the issue and then treat the plant accordingly. Below are some ways that you can revive leggy mint based on the scenarios described above.
Too Little Light
If you suspect that your mint plant is not receiving enough light, you should move the plant to a more exposed area and rotate its positioning every day. Mint that does not get enough light will typically be lopsided and leaning towards the direction of the light source. If you cannot find a good enough natural light source, use artificial light instead.
Too Much Fertilizer and Nitrogen
Obviously, you will need to stop fertilizing your mint plant if you think it has too much fertilizer and nitrogen. Then, let the soil around the plant dry. Follow up by watering it heavily. You should water the mint so heavily that the water can exit the drainage holes for 10 to 15 seconds.
Rootbound is relatively easy to fix. You know that your mint plant is experiencing rootbound if there are roots coming through the drainage holes or roots showing on the surface or right below it. Simply move the mint plant to a larger container so that it can have more room. If the roots are stuck to the container, squeeze it, or hit the outside to get the roots unstuck.
Low temperatures are a bit more difficult to fix. Given that this is primarily only an issue for outdoor plants, you obviously cannot control the weather. If freezing has left your mint barely alive, you need to prune it aggressively. Cut all the stems from the mint base. You can then leave the plant outside and wait for the weather to get better or bring it inside.
How Can You Make Your Mint Plant Fuller And Bushier?
Even though mint can become scraggly rather easily, you can also make it fuller and bushier with a little bit of effort. Pruning the plant regularly and picking the perfect environment will make a huge difference in the fullness of your plant.
Pruning your mint plant will actually make a huge difference in its fullness and bushiness. Luckily, pruning mint is really enjoyable because you get a burst of that delicious minty fragrance every time you cut a stem or branch.
Two or three times throughout the growing season, you should cut the mature plants back to being about one inch above the soil. Do not worry about over pruning mint. This sort of plant is difficult to over prune and kill. Instead, pruning the mint will create a new flush for more compact growth.
Pick the Perfect Environment
Another way to make your plant fuller and bushier is to pick the perfect growing environment. If the plant is in a pot, make sure the pot is adequately sized. You do not want a pot that is too small for the roots to get the proper nutrients.
Additionally, make sure that the location you have selected has adequate lighting. It can either be natural lighting or artificial lighting. Either way, make sure that all sides of the mint get equal amounts of light. If you are using natural light that comes from one direction, rotate the plant daily.
Another factor to consider is humidity. Mint needs a little bit of humidity to grow. Between waterings, mist your mint plants to keep adequate humidity. At the same time, do not put your mint leaves in an area with too much humidity.
Finally, ensure that your mint is in an environment with the proper temperature. Mint plants prefer to grow in temperatures between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature will not matter that much if you are growing the mint plant indoors.
How To Prevent Mint Plants From Becoming Leggy And Scraggly?
The best way to prevent mint plants from becoming leggy and scraggly is to take proper care of them from the early stages. Most notably, try to pick the perfect environment for your mint plant. This includes an environment with adequate sunlight, temperature, and humidity.
Additionally, pruning is one of the best ways to prevent the mint plant from becoming leggy and scraggly. If you prune from the early stages of the plant’s growth, you will likely find that it becomes full and luscious, not leggy and scraggly.
Finally, make sure that you water and nourish your mint plant appropriately. You should water your mint plant one to two inches per week. Anything more or less can cause the plant to die or become leggy. At the same time, do not be overzealous with the fertilizer because that can easily become an issue down the line for mint plants.
How Can You Tell When Your Mint Plant Is Dead?
Unlike animals, plants do not have vitals that you can check on to see if it is dead. For this reason, it can be difficult to know if your plant is struggling or already dead. Luckily, there are some subtle clues that you can look at to see if your mint plant has already died.
Most notably, look at the stem of the mint plant. If the stem is still pliable and firm with a green cast, the plant is still alive. Even if all of the leaves are brown but the stem is still proper, the plant is alive. In contrast, your plant is dead if the stem is incredibly brittle or mushy.
You can also look at the roots to see if a plant is dead. Much like the stem, mint roots should be pliable and firm. Pliable roots tell you that the plant as a whole is still healthy and alive. If you find the roots snap easily or are very mushy, the plant is dead.
If you find that the stem and roots are still alive, but the leaves are dead, prune the plant accordingly so that it can grow healthy once again. On the other hand, start from scratch if you find that the stem and roots are dead.
Because mint can survive harsher conditions than other plants, mint plants have a problem of becoming leggy and scraggly. There are a number of conditions that can cause this characteristic in a mint plant, but most of them are relatively easy to fix.
To prevent your mint plant from becoming leggy or scraggly again, make sure to prune it and put the plant in an ideal environment. Just by doing these two steps, you will help your mint plant flourish in a way that is bushy and beautiful.