Mint is a fragrant herb used all over the world for both culinary as well as medicinal purposes. However, if you have tried growing it inside the house, you might have found it difficult.
Here are a few reasons why your mint plant is dying.
Over-watering is one of the most common causes of a house plant dying. A lot of people think that providing your plant with a lot of water is good, but that is not always the case.
The roots of the plant need good air circulation. Without that, the roots will begin to rot and die.
Boggy soil is also home to a lot of fungal infections that can make the roots of your plant rot.
If you have consistently been over-watering, your plant might have been rid of all its nutrients as well.
How to fix Over-watering?
If you have an overwatered mint plant, the best thing to do is to re-pot it.
This will ensure new nutrients and give you a chance to look at the roots while you are repotting them.
Use a pot with good drainage. Make sure the size of the pot is suitable for the size of your mint plant.
A small plant will require a small pot. If you plant a small mint in a large pot, it will retain the water, making the soil waterlogged.
You know your mint plant is under-watered when the leaves are brown, crunchy, and dry to the touch. The whole plant will feel loose in the soil.
If your entire mint plant moves when you move the pot, it is highly possible that your plant is dry from the roots to the top.
How to fix Under-watering?
It is easier to fix an under-watered plant than an over-watered one.
You can bring your under-watered mint back to life by watering it from below. Very dry soil does not hold moisture properly.
If you provide water from the top, it will just flow out from the bottom. If you water it from below, it will hydrate the plant and water will be provided directly to the roots.
Your mint plant requires at least 4 to 5 hours of sunlight every day. If it does not receive enough sunlight, it can die.
How to fix lack of light?
Place your mint plant in a spot that gets adequate sunlight every day. If it is not possible, you need to purchase grow lights and provide Mint with the light that it needs.
Here is a recommended grow light on amazon.com – https://amzn.to/3DhilA3
Lack of nutrients
Mint needs a sufficient supply of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and other minerals in order to grow and stay healthy.
Without these nutrients, the mint will not grow to its potential, and the plant will be fragile.
Factors such as overwatering or planting your mint in old soil can limit the supply of nutrients to your plant.
How to fix the lack of nutrients?
You can fix the problem of the lack of nutrients by repotting the plant in different, better soil. This will give your mint access to new minerals and nutrients.
However, if your plant has been planted in relatively fresh soil already, you can use fertilizers. You can start by using a good-quality liquid fertilizer once a month while watering.
Mint is not a fussy plant. It is not a heavy feeder and does not need very rich nutrients. So, you can use a balanced fertilizer.
You can also add organic matter to your soil, like compost, manure, peat moss, and worm casting.
Another method is to add slow-release granules to the soil. Every time you water the plant, these granules release nutrients into the soil.
Frostbite and cold
Mint that grows outdoors can handle cold well. It can even live through sub-zero temperatures and snow.
However, indoor mint plants are different. They can die even with a sudden drop in temperature.
If your mint plant is situated in a part of the house that gets cold drafts, or if the heating of your house drops in the winter, or if there is a sudden change in temperature, your mint plant can easily freeze to death or become dormant.
If your mint plant looks healthy but is still shedding a lot of leaves, there is a good chance that it is feeling cold and is becoming dormant.
How to fix Frostbite and cold?
Shift your mint plant to a warmer part of the house. Do not put it in sunlight directly, instead acclimatize it slowly. After that, you can leave your plant in sunlight for a few hours every day.
Make sure to keep it away from any drafts or air conditioning vents. Your mint will soon return to its original state.
Heat and sun exposure
Mint does not react well to too much heat. If your mint overheats, it will become dehydrated and droopy.
Similarly, mint requires a lot of sunlight. However, plants get used to a certain amount of sunlight that they get daily.
If you suddenly move your mint plant from the shade into direct sunlight, it will not have enough time to adjust and will become sunburnt.
A mint that is sunburnt will have leaves with burnt edges and patches of black or brown in the overexposed part.
How to fix it?
Avoid planting your plant in dark pots and putting it in direct sunlight, especially in the summer.
If you have already partly burnt your mint plant, prune the burnt leaves and move the plant to a cooler area of the house.
Water your plants early in the morning or at dusk. Damp soil is darker in color and will thus absorb more heat.
You can get thicker pots in lighter colors that make it difficult to absorb heat and will prevent the roots of your plant from overheating. Terracotta is a good material to pot your mint.
Over-watering can invite a lot of fungal infections to your mint plant. A lot of fungal diseases that can destroy your mint plant thrive in soggy soils.
Ensure that the soil of your mint plant is not too humid. Mint plant grows in a temperate climate and does not need the humidity of tropical plants.
Fungus, however, grows very well in humid climates.
Rust is a kind of fungus that leaves red or orange patches all over your mint leaves. If your mint is infested with rust and is in the late stage, the leaves drop right as they form, and are brown in color.
Your mint plant needs leaves to feed itself. Therefore, it is important to take care of your mint plant.
How to fix fungal diseases?
First and foremost, quarantine the infected plants. Fungal diseases are contagious; therefore, it is important to contain them. Trim the infected areas and dispose of them by burning them.
Practice good hygiene. Do not make or use the compost of your infected plants. Sterilize the shears you used to cut them and never re-use the soil or pots that you used for the infected plants.
For a lot of diseases, the only option is to completely get rid of the plant.
Mosaic virus infections
A mosaic virus is a group of viral diseases that include the Tobacco Ringspot Virus, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, and Tomato Aspermy Virus. The mint plant is especially prone to mosaic virus infections.
These diseases appear as a patchwork of discoloration on the leaves, which gives this virus its name.
These viruses destroy the chloroplast present in the leaves that produce food in the process of photosynthesis.
If the chloroplast is destroyed, the plant loses its ability to make food, leaving it to wither and die.
How to fix Mosaic virus infections?
There is no actual treatment for mosaic virus infections.
If it is in the early stages, you can remove and destroy the infected leaves, but if it is in the later stages, the only option is to dispose of the plant.
Aphids are tiny pests that are nearly impossible to spot as they cling to the leaves of the mint plant. They suck on the sap of the plant, killing it slowly.
You will also need to be careful of ants. While ants are not a direct threat to mint plants, some species of ants “farm” aphids.
Aphids secrete a sticky, sugary liquid known as “honeydew”, which ants love. So if your mint plant has ants all over it, it is possible that there are aphids present.
Thrips are small, flying insects that look like dark slivers all over your mint leaves. They eat everything off of mint leaves, leaving white patches or streaks all over the leaves.
They devoid the leaves of all nutrients.
Aphids not only destroy the mint plant, but they are also responsible for transmitting diseases like mosaic virus and rust.
Spider mites are common pests among indoor plants. The tiny pests hide in the underside of mint leaves. They pierce leaves and stems and suck on the fluids inside.
Spider mites are extremely tiny, so they can be hard to spot. However, you can easily see their webs. If you see your mint plant covered with webs, there is a probability that there are spider mites all over the plant.
Cutworms are caterpillars of different types of moths. They have long bodies and vary in colors. They eat the mint plant, from the leaves to the stems.
If you notice nibbled leaves or holes in your mint leaves, it is a sign of cutworm infestation.
How to fix it?
The first thing to do to eradicate the pests is to quarantine your plant. Isolate it so that it cannot infect another plant.
If there are just a few pests, use a cotton tip soaked in spirit to get rid of them.
You can gently wash off spider mites, thrips, or aphids under a garden hose.
You can use a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar to get rid of cutworms.
However, most pests are difficult to get rid of, and the only option is to poison them.
Neem oil sprayed over plants will kill most insects. It is a good alternative as it is easy to use and is readily available, and does not affect the plants.
Use a diluted solution and spray on your mint twice a week early in the morning.
Mint prefers a soil that is mildly acidic to neutral, pH 6 to 7. This is the ideal soil for a mint that allows it to access nutrients in the soil and protect its roots.
How to fix it?
You can fix acidic potting soil with some garden lime powder that can be sprinkled on the soil.
For alkaline soil, sulfate salt such as aluminum sulfate can make your ph balanced, although it will take time.
You can use poultry manure steeped in water for a few days on your mint plant. It will raise the acidity of the soil and is also good for the plant.