Once you have decided that you want to grow mint, you have a choice to make. You have to choose if you’re going to start your mint from seed or if you want to get a small plant from a nursery, a garden center, or even a supermarket and grow that.
I am currently growing four types of mint from seed, supermarket plant, and nursery plants, and I have identified a lot of advantages and disadvantages of using each method. I have written this article to share what I have learned and to help you figure out which method works best for you.
It is much cheaper to grow mint from seed than buying a plant and growing it, however, it also takes a lot longer and is not as easy. If you prefer to buy a small mint plant and grow that, go to a nursery and not a supermarket, as the quality of the plants is usually significantly higher at nurseries.
There are actually a lot more differences between growing mint from seed compared to getting a plant from a nursery or a supermarket. I cover all of these below, where I also explain which method wins when it comes to cost, difficulty, plant quality, and more.
Is It Better to Start Mint From Seed or Plant? Answered
If you’re about to start growing mint, you should decide if you want to grow it from seed or if you want to start with a plant from a store. There are several differences between the two methods, and I cover all of them in this article as well as give my advice on whether you should start your mint from seed or plant.
First, a quick summary in case you are in a hurry:
Key takeaways from this post:
If you are brand new to growing mint, I recommend getting a plant from a plant nursery or a garden center. If you have some gardening experience or are up for a challenge, I recommend starting your mint from seed. I generally don’t recommend getting a plant from a supermarket, although it can work.
To be honest, there is no simple answer to the question “is it better to start mint from seed or plant”, since it depends on your preferences.
To make things as easy as possible for you, I have selected the six categories I find to be most important when choosing how to start a plant and picked a winner between seeds, nursery plants, and supermarket plants for each of the categories. It is up to you to decide which of the categories are most important to you.
Nursery plants win this category. It is much easier to grow mint from a plant than from seeds, and the plants you find at nurseries are generally of much higher quality than those from supermarkets.
The cheapest way to grow mint is to grow it from seeds. You can get hundreds of seeds for a few dollars as opposed to getting just one plant for the same price.
Seeds definitely win this category too. There are hundreds of different mint varieties and only so much room for plants in physical stores. Supermarkets often have just one or a few types of mint, and nurseries usually have several, but it is impossible to have all of them. Seeds don’t take up much space, so they can have a lot more varieties as seeds than as plants at nurseries, and if they don’t have the one you are looking for, you can almost certainly find it online.
The plant quality at nurseries is almost always much higher than in supermarkets. Supermarkets often have a goal of fitting as many plants in as little space as possible, which usually affects the quality negatively. Nurseries generally take plant care much more into consideration, which results in plants that both look and grow better.
The employees at nurseries or garden centers are often educated and know a lot about the plants they sell and will often share tips and tricks that can be really helpful. You can’t really get that at supermarkets.
Supermarkets win this one, although not by a lot. There are a lot more supermarkets than plant nurseries and garden centers, so they are generally easier to find. If you have a nursery or a garden center nearby, I recommend going there though.
There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages associated with growing mint from seed compared to if you start with a plant.
Keep reading as I explain the advantages and disadvantages of each method below.
Growing Mint From Seed vs Nursery Plant vs Supermarket Plant
I have been growing mint for a long time, and I have done it using several different methods. Right now, I am growing peppermint from seed, Moroccan mint that I bought as a small plant from a supermarket, and Swiss mint and Spanish mint, both of which I bought at a plant nursery. I also have some licorice mint seeds that I want to get started soon.
To make it as easy as possible for you to decide which method you want to use for growing your own mint, I have made two tables. The first table shows all the advantages of each method of growing mint, and the second table shows all the disadvantages of each method.
Of course, I will recommend that you try all of the methods for growing mint to see which one you like the most, but if you just want to know which method is best, take a look at these tables and see which advantages and disadvantages are most important to you.
Advantages of different methods for growing mint
|Advantages of growing mint from seed||Advantages of growing mint from a nursery plant||Advantages of growing mint from a supermarket plant|
|Cheapest option||Easiest option||Easy to get started|
|Huge diversity in varieties||Plant nurseries usually have high-quality plants||Cheapest plants|
|Full control of growing conditions from day one||The employees often have advice||Available in many places|
As you can see, there are advantages associated with each method of growing mint, so try to decide which ones mean more to you. I personally love getting small plants from nurseries, but I also like growing from seed.
Before you can make an informed decision, though, you should also know about the disadvantages of each method.
Disdvantages of different methods for growing mint
|Disadvantages of growing mint from seed||Disadvantages of growing mint from a nursery plant||Disadvantages of growing mint from a supermarket plant|
|Requires more knowledge||More expensive than other methods||Almost always too many plants in a tiny container|
|More room for error||Usually a very limited selection|
|Takes longer time|
I go into more detail with the advantages and disadvantages of growing mint from seed compared to nursery or supermarket plants below.
Pros and cons of growing mint from seed:
Growing mint from seeds is by far the cheapest option, but it also comes with challenges.
For example, you have to actually germinate the seeds and then take proper care of your plants until they reach the same size as the plants you could have bought, at which point there is no difference.
Something else that you should not underestimate about starting mint from seed is that it takes a lot longer to get to a point where you can harvest than if you just start with a plant.
Growing mint from seed gives you access to a lot more varieties than if you start with a plant, as nurseries, garden centers, and especially supermarkets usually have a limited number of varieties as plants but often several different ones as seeds. You can also find seeds for hundreds of mint varieties online if you want something specific.
If you have a specific variety in mind, but you can’t find it in a physical store, you can almost certainly find it online, but be careful with growing different mint varieties together, as that can lead to some problems. You can read more about that here if that is relevant to you.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, if you grow mint from seed, you have full control over the growing conditions from day one. Of course, things get a bit more advanced when you have to consider growing conditions and especially for seeds and seedlings, as they are more fragile than bigger plants, but I have written another post to make that as easy for you as possible.
Pros and cons of growing mint from a nursery plant:
Plant nurseries and garden centers generally have high-quality plants and usually have very knowledgeable employees who are passionate about their work and ready to give advice and answer questions.
The prices usually reflect that, though, as the plants tend to be a bit more expensive than other places.
Whenever I go to a nursery or a garden center, I try to come up with a few questions to ask them because, in my experience, talking to experienced people is one of the best ways to learn about gardening aside from actually doing it yourself.
The only disadvantage of buying your mint plants at a plant nursery or a garden center that I can come up with is that it is often a bit more expensive than buying seeds or getting a plant from a supermarket, but the quality usually makes up for it in my experience.
Pros and cons of growing mint from a supermarket plant:
Buying a small mint plant at a supermarket can also work and is the cheapest option if you don’t want to grow from seed. There are, however, several reasons why I generally don’t recommend growing mint from a supermarket plant.
First of all, supermarket herbs, including mint, are grown with profit optimization in mind. One way you can see this is that the companies the supermarkets buy their fresh herbs from almost always put way too many plants in one tiny container.
It might look great and also work fine for now, but the plants will very quickly become rootbound, which means that their roots take up all the room they have in the container. When this happens, the plants will stop growing and begin to dry up and die, as they are unable to obtain water and nutrients from the soil.
Supermarkets usually also don’t have a very wide selection of mint varieties. In fact, my local supermarket (which is quite big) only had Moroccan mint, which is the one you see in the photo above. Moroccan mint is a great variety, but if you’re after something specific, chances are a supermarket won’t have it.
Getting a mint plant from a supermarket can definitely work if that’s what you want to do, but you should transplant it to a bigger pot and perhaps even split the plants up and plant them separately as soon as you get it home.
In my experience, you also need to fertilize supermarket herbs more than nursery herbs, as they are usually grown in soil without a lot of nutrients.
A good example of why you should transplant and fertilize supermarket mint as soon as possible is the Moroccan mint in the photo above. I bought it at a supermarket and transplanted it to a bigger pot right away, but even then, the leaves quickly started turning more yellow, as you can see in the photo. Once I started giving the plant some fertilizer, the new leaves began to look better, though.
In Conclusion: Should You Grow Mint From Seed or Plant?
If you want the easiest way of growing mint, I recommend getting a plant and not seeds, as growing from seeds requires a bit more knowledge. It is not hard to grow mint from seeds at all, though, but it is, of course, easier (and a lot faster) to start with a plant.
Start from seed if you want to watch the entire growing process or if you are up for a small challenge.
To be honest, watching a seed germinate and grow into a plant that you care for and watch grow until you get to harvest it is amazing, but it also takes a lot longer and is a bit harder than just starting with a plant.
I really recommend going to a nursery or a garden center to buy your mint, regardless of whether you want to grow it from seed or if you want to buy a plant.
The quality of nursery plants is usually much higher than supermarket plants, and the staff is generally also much more knowledgeable, so you can ask them about some tips for growing your mint, and they will probably have something great to share. At least that is my experience.
If you want, you can absolutely also just buy a supermarket mint and grow that, but you need to move it to a bigger pot as they are usually grown in tiny pots that will quickly cause problems. In my experience, you also often need to fertilize supermarket plants a bit more because they aren’t grown in soil with a lot of nutrients.