BabyKay503
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Smell of Mint

So I have looked everywhere and haven't as of yet been able to find some help.
I have two mint plants, in small pots, that I purchased from my local Trader Joe's. The live on my windowsill facing the west. For the first couple weeks they did well, but in the last month they have developed a distinctly unpleasant odor that has been compared to cat urine by several people. This is rather upsetting.

When the leaves are crushed between my fingers the smell is wonderful, but the flavor isn't as strong as it once was either.

If anyone has any advice or knowledge on this matter I would really appreciate the assistance.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Smell of Mint

So if the leaves when crushed still smell "wonderful," which I presume means minty, where is the unpleasant smell emanating from? No reason any part of the plant would smell differently from the leaves, so the only thing left is the soil. Have you checked to see if the soil is what is smelling unpleasant?

Do you have a cat? Is it possible cat is peeing in your flowerpot? Short of that, the soil could just be going sour. Have you left it sitting in water (like in a plant saucer). Are the pots on the window sill in cache pots (outer decorative ones)?

The minty aroma being less strong is a separate question and probably has to do with overwatering. If you keep the plant drier, it will keep the mint essences more concentrated.
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imafan26
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Re: Smell of Mint

I haven't had a cat pee on the mint before, but cats will sit on it all day.
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BabyKay503
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Re: Smell of Mint

RainbowGardener, I don't have a cat (that was my first assumption).

It may be that the soil is going sour, as the plant sits in water for a short period of time every day. I was told not to water the soil directly, rather I pour a small amount of water in saucer underneath and the soil and roots system would absorb the water, which it had been doing up until it got colder. The soil doesn't smell bad from what I can tell, it just smells of damp earth, which is what has left me so confused.

I haven't been able to pinpoint where the aroma is originating from, when I brush the leaves gently or my face is close to the plant itself, it smells unpleasant.

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applestar
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Re: Smell of Mint

Soil going sour is not to be taken lightly especially when growing edibles. It means the soil is becoming anaerobic and microbes that are not good for the plants (and sometimes not good for people) are starting to grow. Sour soil can smell like ammonia (== "cat pee" ?).

I don't know where this popular "don't water from above" mantra comes from. When container plant is watered from above the soil, the water percolates through and PULLS air down into the soil behind it, providing influx of air molecules. The plant roots as well as soil microbes need that air/oxygen.

If you constantly water from the bottom, the action is inhibited and aerobic microbes suffocate and die and anaerobic microbes proliferate unless you allow the soil to dry (let air in) between watering. Some plants' roots are more sensitive to waterlogged, anaerobic soil.
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