xiaobao12
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What happened to my potted mint plant?

I had my landlord babysit my beautiful baby lemon mint plant. When I gave it to her 3 weeks ago, it was deep green with no brown spots and rigid stems (no drooping).
Now, it's a very pale green with a bunch of brown spots, drooping stems.

She said she watered it daily but when she gave it to me, the soil was very dry (she even said she just watered it).

What caused this?

Thank you!
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imafan26
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

If she had it in different light it can turn brown around the edges. Mints don't like the soil to dry out, it may not have been watered enough. If the plant is pot bound, it will dry quickly.
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applestar
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

Just as a point of distinction, this looks like a lemon balm plant.

So, the plant is in a coco coir pot which loses moisture wuickly through evaporation, and sitting on what looks like a tea cup saucer. I would say it really needs to be Uppotted. If it IS lemon balm, it would be very drought tolerant as well as shade tolerant to a degree, but the plant itself is capable of growing to 24" so it really needs an 8-10" pot at least. It would not be happy in a root bound condition.

This particular plant looks like it needed to be in more light.
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imafan26
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

Good catch apple. I couldn't tell what kind of mint it was. I have a lime and orange mint but have not seen a lemon mint yet. I have a lemon balm and it is in the mint family, but I did not recognize it as a lemon balm. Even for a lemon balm it does look pale and lanky so I think you are right it does need more light, but it will need to be hardened off or the browning on the leaf will only get worse before it gets better.
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xiaobao12
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

Hi all,

Thanks for the posts. The plant was bought in May and it came in that coco coir pot. What does it mean to be pot pound? I don't see any roots coming out of the pot yet.

And yes, it is a lemon balm (sorry about the confusion!).

Imafan, what do you mean by "hardened"?

Thank you..

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rainbowgardener
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

Pot bound means that the pot is getting pretty full of roots. If you pull the plant out of the pot, you will probably see roots growing in circles around the outside of the root ball. Once that starts happening, the plant can smother itself.

Hardening off is to get the plant adjusted to new conditions gradually. If a plant has been growing in low light conditions, its leaves are tender. If you plop it directly in to full sun, it will burn (even if it is a plant that likes full sun). You need to gradually move it, in steps to the full sun location. Same with other condition changes, temperatures, wind, etc.
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applestar
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

I suspect that with this type of pot, you would be able to cut off the bottom and/or make several vertical slashes in the sides with a box cutting knife or utility scissors and then plant the entire thing in a larger container of good quality potting mix. Plant it deeper than the depth it's at now, burying about 1" of the bottom of stems.

You may not want to pull out the rootball from this pot because roots will have grown into the fiber and you'll tear them off. Trust us, it looks like its ready to be Uppotted. :wink:
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xiaobao12
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

Hehe OK applestar. I trust you guys. :lol:

Just for my learning, what are signs that it is rootbound? How did you and the other posters tell right away? Just the amount of leaves compared to the pot or are there other visual signs?

I will go buy a nice pot as I would like to keep this plant indoors. I will cup off the bottom as instructed and make vertical cuts in the side of the existing pot.

Thank you!

xiaobao12
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

OK - I bought some nice soil from home depot and replanted the plant in a plastic bin in which I drilled a bunch of holes on the bottom and sides.

It survived the transplant and is growing.

How long will it take for this plant to get used to "proper" conditions? The new leaves that are sprouting are green and don't have any spots.

Here's what it looks like.

Thanks for all your advice!
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imafan26
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Re: What happened to my potted mint plant?

You just gradually move it into brighter light. The best time to do this is in winter when the sun is weaker. For now just try to find the brightest spot you can and maybe use a reflector (tin foil works), and artificial light.

You would harden it off by gradually moving the plant into more light. I move my plants by putting them out for an hour in the early morning, then gradually over the course of two weeks extend the time. It is easier to start on overcast days.

If a plant is lanky and the leaves are soft and dark green, it usually can handle more light. Your plant looks a bit lanky. Lemon balm can be fuller.

Mints grow aggressive root systems and need to be divided often. The roots don't always come out of the pot, they wind around the pot instead. The winding roots strangles the plant over time. My rule of thumb is when the mint looks thick and full and looks good, it is probably time to divide.
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