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Leggy mint - help!

MizzliMizzli Posts: 30

Hi everyone!

My mint I got from Sainsburys has been growing well on the kitchen windowsill - it gets plenty of light, water and the temp in the flat is always constant.

But, it is has gotten leggy and whilst it produces tiny leaves, they quickly die before they have even grown to a bigger size.  The bigger leaves are turn brown around the edges.

Something tells me it might be root bound, but there are no protruding roots coming out of the holes at the bottom of the pot.

If it is, can I just cut the roots back? I ideally want to keep it at the same size without having to put it in a bigger pot (we are lacking space).

Does anyone else have any advice what it might be?

Many thanks in advance! image







  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 14,417

    It really prefers to be grown outside. But if that's not possible give it a feed (fertiliser) and cut the top half off. When using mint, same for basil, you crop not by picking leaves of, but by cutting off the top of the stems. That way it makes sideshoots and grows bushier.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • blackestblackest Posts: 623

    might need more light. I was growing a trough in my kitchen window north facing and the mint grew like that, on a south facing window it grew bigger leaves and stronger. 

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    I think 'Baby-Bio' do a plant food specifically for herbs; it comes in a small bottle if you are short of spaceimage

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,730

    I think it definitely needs more light. The legginess and pale colour indicate that it's searching desperately for light. Is there any reason why it can't go outside? Mint just needs some protection from full hot sun and to be kept moist.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Turn the plant upside down in your hand and remove the pot and I think you will find it needs a bigger pot as well as feeding and better light.

  • greenp12greenp12 Posts: 5

    If you can cut back by 50 percent re-pot in next size pot with fresh compost give a feed with baby bio or simular put outside if possible and water on a regularly 

  • MizzliMizzli Posts: 30

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your replies! I've kept the herbs indoors as last year we grew them on the balcony and they got infested with little flies.  By the time winter came, we took them indoors and the flat was filled with the annoying little flies and the plants stopped growing and died.  We started again this year but thought about keeping them indoors to protect them from infestation.

    We tried all sorts of bug killers on them including using cinamon and changing the compost but nothing worked. image

    Ideally I want to keep it in the same size pot and cut back the roots (if it is rootbound)  - I hope that won't damage or shock the plant?

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,730

    Mint doesn't mind being rootbound. Mine's been in the same average-sized pot for years. You can also cut it back pretty heavily on top too. Providing it's got decent growing conditions it will come surging back.

    The little flies won't hurt the plant outside. What colour are they? White? If so, there's little you can do to get rid of them apart from swipe at them with your hand. They don't do a lot of damage unless in plague proportions.

    The benefits of putting the plant outside in plenty of light far outweigh the little flies.

  • MizzliMizzli Posts: 30

    Hi Italophile,

    Thanks for your reply. image The little flies are black? I don't know if they are fruit flies or fungus gnats? 

    It gets pretty cold in the UK, frosty and minus temperatures in the winter so at a point, I will be taking the plants in to avoid letting them freeze to death and don't want to have an infestation in the flat this year round. :/ But I will perhaps look for a small greenhouse thing with shelves to house them outside if it protects them from infestation and frost?

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Mint survives the British winter fine outside but you could try hosing them down with the shower head if you bring them in for winterimage

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