Pudina/Mint: Easy to grow and adds flavor to you food: Details and Care Tips
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Pudina or Mint have a good amount of antioxidants, phytonurients and menthol which is helpful for enzymes to digest our food better. This plant is easy to care and if grown properly can last for a long time. It is a fast growing, low lying herb that is also used to add flavor to food. It has a distinct smell and taste.
Quick Details of Pudina/Mint
|Other Common Names||Mint, Pudina|
|Flowering||Late spring/ early summer (We should not let Pudina flowering if we are growing for home purpose. After flowering it looses its flavor)|
|Light||Good amount of direct sunlight.|
|Water||Regular watering. Soil should not be dry.|
|Soil||Soil should able to hold some amount of water. But should not get muddy.|
|Habitat||Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America|
|Toxicity||NIL to humans but can be toxic to pets|
|Common Diseases||Leaf blight, spotted wilt, powdery mildew, mint rust|
|Scientific name||Mentha spicata|
Overview of Pudina/Mint
It belongs to the family of lamiaceae and consists of around 24 species. The plants are aromatic perennial herbs. They are widely distributed and can be grown in any environment. They grow best in wet and moist conditions. They have stolons that help the plants to grow and spread throughout the ground. They give rise to new plants. The mint plants can grow up to a height of 10-100cm. It can be grown all round the year.
Special Features of Pudina/Mint
The plant has many medicinal properties, used in culinary and also in cosmetic industries. They are easy to grow and maintain. The distinct scent emitted from the leaves of the plants are also used in aromatherapy. An active oil from the plant called menthol has many uses. They have both antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Usage of Pudina/Mint
- They have a wide variety of medicinal uses. They are used as a herb in traditional medicine. Some of the uses include:
- Aids in digestion
- Used in curing asthma, common cold, headache
- Helps relieve stress and depression
- Boosts metabolism thus aiding in weight loss
- Used in skin care for treating acne
- Can ease symptoms of nausea.
- The leaves of the plants are added to food because of their smell and taste. It adds flavor to the food.
- The menthol is added into cosmetics and deodorants.
- It is used as a bio-insecticides due to its anti fungal and antibacterial properties.
General Care for Pudina/Mint
Soil: They require a rich wet moist well drained soil. They prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH around 5.6-7. The soil should not be soggy.
Light: At least 4-5 hours of full sun light
Watering: Since they require moist soil, the mint plants should be watered regularly but do not prefer soggy soil. The best time to water mint is in the morning as there would be enough water for the plant to survive the afternoon.
Fertilizers: An all-purpose fertilizer can be added in early spring, when there is an appearance of new growth. The fertilizer can be added after every 5 to 6 weeks throughout the growth season.
Pruning: The plants grow and spread fast. The pruning can be done once the blooming season gets over. The stems can be cut back to 1/3 of its length. The plants can be shaped according to the boundaries of the pot. Pruning can be done regularly after the blooming season. Pinching off the tips of the plant during the blooming season prevents flowering of the plants.
Diseases in Pudina/Mint:
If not taken care properly, the mint is prone to a number of diseases.
Mint rust: caused by puccinia menthae. The stems become distorted. The leaves and the shoots have orange or yellow pustules. There is damage in the tissues and the leaves fall off.
Powdery mildew: Caused due to Erysiphe cichoracearum. There is an appearance of white powdery substances on the leaves. This prevents photosynthesis and thus leading to stunted growth. The leaves fall off immaturely.
Leaf spot: Caused due to Curvularia lunata. Appearance of small unclear brown spots on the leaves. The spots further spread all over the leaves and causes defoliation. Mostly seen in plants that are not taken proper care of.
Leaf blight: Caused due to Alternaria alternata. The leaves develop brown spots with concentric circles. The spots further develop causing the falling off of the leaves.
Control of Fungal Diseases: the fungal diseases can be controlled by spraying the plants with any fungicide or neem oil.
Spotted wilt: caused by tomato spotted wilt virus. Bronze colour or dark spots on the leaves. There is stunted growth of the plants.
Control of Viral Diseases: infected plants should be removed.
The plants can also get affected by aphids and spider mites.
Propagation of Pudina/Mint:
It is very easy to grow mint plants. The roots are runners, and can spread and grow throughout the area, sprouting new leaves and new plants as they grow. This makes the mint plants an invasive species as they can spread and cover the whole garden if not taken care.
The propagation can be done by cutting. cut out 8-10cm long stem from a healthy stem and remove the leaves from the bottom end. The stem cutting should have at least 2-3 leaves on them. The cutting is done right below the node. The stem cutting can either be planted in soil or can be grown in water. In case of soil, the cuttings can be dipped in a rooting hormone before planting it into the soil. The best time to make stem cuttings of mint is before the plant blooms (early summer)
The cuttings can also be grown in water and later transferred into the soil ones the roots develop.
Seeds are also used for propagation of mint plants. The seeds can be collected during the blooming season (late spring/early summer) and it can be sown. The seeds can be sown late spring. The soil should be kept moist till the seeds germinate. It can take around 10-15 days for the seeds to germinate.