GreenBeen
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Advice On Mint Care?

Hi!

I was given a mint plant a day or two ago, and it's looking- well. Rather peaky. I've posted pictures at the end of this message.

The leaves are curled, very dry, and often full of holes. The plant as a whole seems to have gone spindly, as though it hasn't been getting enough sunlight. It lived outside until it was given to me, and now lives in the kitchen (we have no garden space), a room kept relatively cold and without much direct sunlight. The soil is composted and kept damp.

If anyone has any advice on how to care for this plant, to make it healthy and safe to eat, I would really appreciate it!

(sorry for the HUGE image sizes!)

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applestar
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Re: Advice On Mint Care?

Welcome to the forum :D

My first impression is that the plant is dried out — the leaves look like it had been in the sun after cut or uprooted and deprived of normal supply of water for too long. Do you know how much roots it has? Was it given to you in the pot?Mint is pretty resilient and might still be saved, but I think most of those *leaves* are past ability to recover if they are papery and brittle. I see you have been trying to water them, but if too far gone, they will only get wet and rot.

Whether you consider them safe to eat is up to you, but if you do, then trim them off , rinse pat dry, and allow to dry out completely to use as dried herb or tea. Discard any that are discolored/blackened.

I would cut all stems back by about 1/3. For insurance/back up, keep the least shriveled, fleshy of these cut off square stems, trim off all dried leaves, and put them in a jar of water of about 2 inches/5 cm deep. Replace water every day and see if they will grow roots and new leaves.

The pot with the hopefully recovering plant should be put in shallow pan of water and kept filled. Place away from any direct sunlight but under good artificial light bright enough to read tiny print. This is a temporary care measure.

Tell us a little more about the compost. Also the holes in the leaves — were they not there before? If the holes are new, we have to assume a pest has hitched a ride.
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applestar
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Re: Advice On Mint Care?

Just had a thought that although you say this is mint, it could be a basil? If it’s a basil, then “cold” might also be the problem. What is the exact temperature? Basil plant would look like this if exposed to low 50’s to 40’s°F or below.

Care for basil will be different, and less resilient. But mostly same as above for now with more warmth -- at least 60°F
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GreenBeen
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Re: Advice On Mint Care?

Hi!

Thanks so much for your reply. It's definitely a mint plant, because it has that distinctive smell and the typical serrated edges.

The plant was recently taken from a garden and was transported without a pot. My guess is that my mum (who gave me the plant) removed it from the soil and wrapped it for transport much too early, causing it to dry out. It's roots are not very well established yet.

I can't get the exact temprature, unfortunately- we have no indoor thermometer. The temprature outdoors at the moment ranges between 8-14 degrees celsius at the moment, and while it is somewhat warmer inside, we don't tend to put any indoor heating on until much later.
Likewise, I don't know anything about the compost just yet as it was added before I recieved the plant. I can try to find out though.

We have cut back the plant as you suggested and removed the majority of the leaves- almost none of them were free from black discolouration or pest holes. The good news is that there was no sign of any current insect activity, so pests are unlikely (unless mould or fungi can cause that effect). The holes were there when the plant was given to me, so I suspect they occurred during the warmer weather when insects were more active.

The trimmed plant is now in a container of water, and we've taken a couple of different square stems to see how they develop. The stems and the cuttings all look very robust and healthy, unlike the leaves, so hopefully there will be new growth in due time!

Thank you so much for your advice. So far, I have only ever cared for succulents, which require very little interference outside of giving them the right start-up conditions (although our Mother of Thousands isn't taking the winter's lack of sunlight very well). Edible gardening is a whole new world for me!

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applestar
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Re: Advice On Mint Care?

Great! report back with progress or if you have more questions.

temperature — if you have an instant read or dial/analog probe thermometer in the kitchen drawer, that could be used to spot-read the room temp If it supports the temperature range (I have a bunch of them scattered around the house). Probe thermometers can be recalibrated for accuracy using ice cube.water. Aquarium sticker thermometer strips are also good Inexpensive for basic “about” monitoring.
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