The simple answer to the question why is my mint plant flowering is that it has ended its growth cycle and it has entered its reproduction cycle. Through flowers, it produces seeds, which can spread and produce new plants.
It will definitely not die after bolting because this is a perennial. It just won’t grow new leaves but you will get to see some interesting flowers.
Mint flowers can be quite beautiful, ranging from purple to white to pink, it depends on which variety you have.
New plants can grow from the seeds alongside the parent plant, as long as you have a large enough pot or container.
Moreover, the leaves won’t change their flavor in a fundamental way but they can become slightly less fragrant and flavorful.
Even so, is mint plant bolting something you really have to worry about and keep in mind? Is it an often occurrence? It actually depends on the environment and how you’re taking care of it. I can assure you that you can definitely postpone bolting for a long time.
Why Is My Mint Plant Flowering? The Causes
The easiest way to answer all those questions is to analyze the factors that lead to mint plant flowering. If we know those exact circumstances that lead to mint plant bolting, we’ll be so much better prepared for taking care of this wonderful, delicious, extremely fragrant herb.
The mint family is quite full of varieties, having an amazing range of flavors. Do the reasons for why is my mint plant flowering actually apply to all varieties or only refer to spearmint and peppermint, which are the most famous in the genus Mentha?
They actually apply to all varieties. Just like when we’re growing a mint plant, we look for the general conditions in which it should be grown. If we’re experimenting with a new variety some of us will follow the general rules for growing and taking care of a mint plant.
1. Lack of pruning
Pruning is the easiest way to always keep a herb in the growth cycle. The aim is to make a herb to produce new, fresh leaves on a regular basis.
If you don’t prune your mint, it will definitely bolt sooner or later , it’s guaranteed. I will talk about how to prune your mint plant as soon as we get over the causes of why is my mint plant flowering.
You can actually cut off the buds as soon as they develop, preventing them from flowering. That can reverse the course and the herb has the chance to still be in its growth cycle.
Just cut the stem all the way down or just pinch the buds with your fingers as soon as they start showing up.
2. Hot temperatures
If you know anything about growing cilantro, you know that it’s a herb famous for its premature bolting when the temperatures get too hot.
The same is true in this case, too.
Mint prefers temperatures between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees C). It’s not exactly in love with very hot weather, as it’s the case for rosemary or lavender.
How to Keep Mint from Flowering
If you know anything about pruning basil, you already know what I mean when I’m talking about how to keep mint from flowering.
Pruning is definitely a good way to keep herbs from bolting, besides keeping in mind that some herbs won’t enjoy hot temperatures.
When you prune your plant, it will release the most enticing fragrance.
Moreover, new leaves will grow quite soon after you prune the bigger ones.
It’s the guaranteed way of getting new leaf growth all the time, which will also keep the mint plant from flowering.
You can actually trim back right at the bottom of the plant, at the base of the stem, close to the soil. It might seem severe but new, fresh, delicious leaves will grow back in no time. You can root the cuttings in water for growing new plants, skipping the steps of growing it from seeds.
Or you can pinch the leaves at the top of a stem as soon as they grow a bit bigger.
Are Mint Flowers Edible?
Yes, they are definitely edible. They can also have the flavor of the variety you’re growing. You can use them just as you’re using the leaves: for cooking, for making flavorful beverages, or in desserts.
However, I still think it’s best to pinch the buds before they start flowering.
If you like the way the flowers look, just leave them be. The seeds produced by the flowers can lead to new plants.
Quick Guide for Growing Mint at Home
Now, let’s recap which are the best conditions and the guidelines we need to keep in mind if we want to grow healthy, bountiful herbs.
I prefer growing it in pots indoors and not in the garden because this is an invasive herb that spreads out through runners, it’s actually quite famous for this aspect. I also love seeing it inside every day of the year.
If you grow it in the garden, it might quickly overrun its place. It’s best to contain it within a border, in a confined space so that it doesn’t take over your whole garden. Even if you want to plant it outside, it might be best to use containers, just to make things less complicated.
If you plant it outside, it’s best to start in spring. It’s a hard herb that can even survive outside in the winter if you live in a temperate climate.
As you can see, it will thrive easily, you just need to know a few simple facts about how to grow mint at home.
A medium-rich potting soil is the best. If it contains too much clay, it will keep the water from draining properly, which can lead to root rot if you overwater it.
A soil rich in compost will ensure the needed nutrients for bountiful growth. And it will also ensure proper drainage in the soil.
Another useful tip: mulch the soil surface around the plant. It works both outdoors and indoors.
Mulching regulates the temperature of the soil, it simply keeps roots cooler.
If the plant doesn’t sense that the temperature has gotten too hot, it will slow down bolting.
Choose the right pot
Mint is an invasive plant that spreads out through runners. That also means that it can develop quite the impressive root system.
Which leads us to picking a larger container to keep it from becoming root-bound.
It’s not unusual to end up needing a 20-inch pot, especially if you prune it regularly and it continues to grow bigger and bigger.
You can just start with a 6-inch pot if that’s all you have and see how it evolves over time. It can be quite a long time, it’s a perennial.
A must are drainage holes since you should be watering your plant thoroughly until water comes out of the drainage holes. Then, you empty the dish underneath and let it be until the soil gets dry.
As soon as you plant the seeds, water the soil thoroughly. Continue watering them every day.
In general, you should water it every morning. If the weather gets too hot and the soil is dry in the evening, move it up to watering it twice a day until temperatures return to normal.
In my post on mint leaves turning yellow, I describe the dangers of overwatering and underwatering
What you actually need to keep in mind is that this can be considered an aquatic or semi-aquatic herb but a proper watering schedule must be absolutely combined with medium-rich potting soil, a big enough pot, and good drainage.
As we saw, hot temperatures are among the main causes for mint plant flowering so, don’t be surprised if that happens.
This is a herb that loves water, making it a perfect herb for hydroponics. Well, pretty much all herbs are easy to grow in even the most basic hydroponic systems, like the Kratky method with mason jars.
Why I don’t like it when herbs bolt
I will tell you that I don’t like it when my herbs start flowering because that means that they’re no longer producing new leaves, all the energy goes into reproduction, instead of continuous growing. When my basil flowers, that’s definitely not a good day.
If you’ve ever grown cilantro, either in a pot or hydroponically or in the garden, you know that it’s highly predisposed to bolting. It’s actually famous for how quickly it bolts, especially if it’s grown in warm temperatures. Cilantro is an easy herb to grow, bolting is the only concern with it really.
I will tell you this: I grow herbs in hydroponics but I also grow herbs in pots. I have backup plants in the form of younger plants to replace the older herbs when they eventually bolt. This rotation allows me to always have fresh herbs all-year round, whether I’m growing them in pots indoors or in a hydroponic system.
However, as you’ve seen, a simple regular pruning will manage to keep the mint plant from bolting and you won’t have to question why is my mint plant flowering.