Designing Spaces That Reflect You

2023 Garden Revival: (Save Mint Leaves Turning Brown)

Are you worried about your refreshing and green foliage of mint leaves gradually turning brown? Then you are not alone as many other herb growers are also facing the same problem. If you see mint leaves turning brown, then the culprits may be improper watering, fungal infections, pests, heat scorching, aging, nutrient deficiencies, and limited space. but do not worry for tree leaves problems. Today we will discuss these problems and the ways you can make your mint plants healthy and happy again. 

What are some reasons for mint leaves turning brown?

There can be several reasons behind brown mint leaves, some of them which we will discuss here are:

  • Poor planting and planning
  • Improper watering
  • Inadequate fertilizing
  • Not enough airflow
  • Disease and pest problems

If you are growing mint indoors, then there are some specific needs that you must look after, such as temperature and humidity levels, and lighting. The soil should contain the right nutrients and you should provide the plant with balanced fertilizers and fulfill its watering needs.

Sunlight also plays an important role in plant growth, especially herbs. You must plan the location for growing mint as too much direct sunlight can make mint leaves turning brown and too little can wilt them. The plants should have a fresh air supply to keep out pests and diseases. 

1. Poor planning or planting

Poor planning or planting

If you see brown tips on mint leaves, then it can be because of poor planting location. You may need to move the plants to a new location where they would get the right amount of sunlight exposure, shade, and humidity level. Mint plants grow healthy roots if they get plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Try to plant them at least two feet apart so there is a lot of air circulation as planting too close can be problematic for the plants.

2. Improper watering

mint leaves turning brown

If you see mint leaves turning brown and wilting, then it may be a result of an inadequate water supply. Poke your finger in the soil around the mint plants, and if there are dry patches, then it means under-watered plants. And if you feel the soil is too soggy or there is water standing nearby, then it is the result of overwatering. 

The mint plants need at least an inch of water each week and it is better to water them every day during the summer months. You may need to water them even more in winter when the temperature goes below freezing point. To help supplement the lack of moisture in mint plants, it may be a good solution to add a liquid fertilizer. If this doesn’t work then try relocating the plant to where there is better drainage. 

3. Not enough fertilizers

Mint leaves turning brown may also indicate that your garden soil is lacking the right amount of fertilizers. You can get a mint-specific fertilizer or apply a general one, but read the product label carefully before using it. You should know the nutrients that healthy mint plants need and adjust the amounts of nutrients by applying a suitable fertilizer.

4. Not enough airflow and moisture

To grow healthy mint plants, you need a lot of airflows and moisture distribution. You will see mint leaves turning brown if your plant is not getting the right amount of oxygen, sunlight, or water. If growing mint indoors, try to keep the windows open to let in air and plant them at a distance from each other.

5. Disease and pest problem

mint leaves turning brown

An infection in mint leaves can cause brown tips on the leaves and rotted roots. To keep the plants healthy, fulfill their watering needs, expose them to sunlight, and use fungicides specific for mint to keep them thriving and healthy. If you observe a disease in mint plants, then remove the infected parts to prevent further spread and damage. Mint rust is a disease that infects many types of mint and causes brown leaves. 

How to know if you can still use the mint or not?

mint leaves turning brown

You may be worried about whether it is safe to use leaves when you see mint leaves turning brown and even if they are not brown, you must know whether the plant is still good or not. A quick two-step check for mint leaves is:

Smell them, are they fresh?

The first check is the smell check, so poke your nose in the plant or leaves and check whether they still smell fresh and minty. Usually, brown leaves don’t smell or their smell is not fresh. So, if the mint fails this smell test, then it is not good to use.

There is no reason for mint to stop smelling minty apart from brown leaves. But remember that mint plants are not going to smell like mint-flavored chewing gum.  Rather, it would be a mix between mint and grass (herb) smell.

Look at them, does the texture seem fine?

The next test is the look test, checking whether the leaves look fresh, and tender and seem to hold their shape well. They shouldn’t be soft and squishy, or dry and scratchy. The tiny hair on the leaves should also feel very soft. 

When the mint plant matures, the older leaves feel a bit tougher and woodier towards the stem. You can use these leaves but they have less flavor than the young and tender leaves. 

What are the ways to bring back life to the mint plant?

If you see mint leaves turning brown, then you must start on your way to reviving the green foliage and sweet scent of your mint plant.

  1. The mint plant is a hardy one that grows well in well-drained compost and even levels of moisture and prefers dry conditions. Grow the mint plant in full sun or partial shade and avoid overwatering it. Try to give it the maximum sunlight while protecting it from direct wind and rain.
  2. Mint can tolerate many soil types as long as you keep the soil moist. Remember not to overwater it or have wet soil all the time as it can cause root rot and other problems. 
  3. If you want to propagate new plants from the old ones, then use a pair of garden shears or your fingers to gently pull away the spent flowers before they become seeds. Be careful when you do this as cutting off the stems above ground can kill the mint plant straight away. Use sharp garden shears to cut off almost an inch below where you see buds growing on the flower stalks and never ever damage the roots. To root and grow these severed stalks, place them in a fresh potting mix.
  4. If you plant mint outside, then don’t forget to mow it every couple of weeks to make it grow better. But if you are growing indoors, then the plant may need trimming every few months. Wear gloves when harvesting mint leaves as mint oil can irritate the skin.
What are the ways to bring back life to the mint plant from mint leaves turning brown

5. When you propagate mint outside, it needs some care and you should always start with small healthy specimens and provide them with the right growing conditions.

That’s a Wrap, but Before you go …

There are some reasons that may be the cause for mint leaves turning brown. First, it is important to determine the cause before you plan to take action. If fungus is causing brown mint leaves, then treat it as soon as possible by watering the plant sparingly or applying natural fungicides. If drought or cold weather conditions have been the reason for brown mint leaves, then replace them to restore the vigor of the mint plant and make it grow healthily again. In fact we have solution for your rooten roots too.

When can I use brown mint leaves?

If your mint leaves are just slightly brown while drying and if they smell okay, then you can use them. 

What is the right place to plant mint?

If you plant mint in the ground, then it will spread vigorously and take over the place in no time. Therefore, it is better to fill a large pot with multi-purpose compost and plant mint in it. Or you can take a bottomless bucket and sink it in the soil, with just its rim above the ground, and plant mint in it so that the shoots cannot escape over the top. Mint grows best in partial shade or full sun.

What is the right place to plant mint

How much water do mint plants need?

Mint plants are always thirsty and remember to water them at least once every day. When you see them wilting through the day or if you live in a place with a hot climate, then it would be good to water them twice. 

Do mint plants grow well in hot weather?

Mints can even recover from drought conditions in a short while and they thrive in heat if you water them properly. Try to segregate the mint plant from other herbs as it can take over the place in a short time. 

How can I grow mint plants in a pot?

Keep the soil lightly moist at all times by watering the mint during dry climatic spells. The ideal growing environment for mint is slightly moist but not soggy soil. Touch the top inch of soil and if it feels dry, then water the plants. If the leaves are wilting, then it may indicate that your mint plants are lacking moisture.  

How can I keep my mint plants bushy?

Pinch off the top two sets of leaves of your mint plant regularly to keep the plant bushier and healthier. It is good to cut off the leggy mint plants to the ground as this way, they will quickly send up new shoots and start growing fragrant and healthy leaves. 

How to maximize the growth of mint?

The best place to grow mint is in partial shade, particularly if you live in a place with a hot climate. Don’t let the plant dry out between consecutive watering as mint needs regular watering. To make the leaves grow better, cut back the mint flowers as they can use the plant’s energy. Trim the mint plants in the spring to reinvigorate them. 

What to do with brown mint leaves?

You cannot do much with the damaged mint leaves if they are already sunburned and dehydrated. The fungal infection can spread to other plants, so don’t use them as compost. If insects are the culprit for mint leaves turning brown, then they can spread to other plants, so discard them and don’t use them elsewhere.