Mint Plant In Winter: Can It Survive?

If you live somewhere where it gets cold over the winter months, you’re likely wondering how it’s going to affect your mint plants. Many herbs and plants don’t do well over the winter, right? So, how will your mint fare?

Fortunately, mint actually does quite well over winter. It prefers cooler temperatures, so it is quite cold tolerant.

How your mint will fare depends on where you live. If you live somewhere where it never goes below freezing, your mint plant will do just fine. If your temperatures do drop below freezing, mint is still likely to be fine. Although it doesn’t like frost, it can often survive light frosts.

Still, you’re probably wondering what to do with mint in the winter. If your temperatures do drop below freezing, it’s best to prepare your mint plants for the temperatures. There are things you can do for your plant to help protect it against the cold. Let’s explore this here.

Can Mint Plants Survive Winter?

Mint is a type of perennial plant. This means that you’ll plant it once and it’ll survive for years to come. This also means that mint can survive through the winter. Mint is a very hardy plant, so it can withstand some pretty low temperatures. In fact, mint prefers cooler temperatures and is even likely to survive light frosts.

Still, there are temperatures so cold that even mint can’t survive.

Even in cold temperatures that mint can withstand, it’s a good idea to take some steps to protect your mint. If you take precautions to protect your plant through the winter months, it will come out better in the spring.

Frost on mint
Frost on mint

What Is The Lowest Temperature That Mint Can Survive?

Mint is a very hardy plant and can be grown in almost all conditions. Still, growing occurs best at temperatures between 59 degrees Fahrenheit and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. At temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit, growth will even slow.

But how low can the temperature go before the plant will begin to suffer?

You’ll never want to allow your mint to deal with freezing temperatures untreated. If you take steps to protect your plants, they can live through freezing temperatures. If you leave them to fend for themselves, though, they will eventually die.

If you live somewhere where it gets cold over winter, but doesn’t freeze, your mint should be fine. You’ll notice that the plant is “dying back”. This doesn’t mean it’s actually dying, though. Rather, it’s going dormant for the winter and isn’t growing anymore. Don’t worry, the leaves will begin to grow back in the springtime.

Mint Winter Care: How To Care For Mint Plant In Winter

So, what do you need to do to protect your outdoor mint plant from the winter cold?

First, you’ll want to cut the stems very close to the ground. Next, you’re going to need to protect the roots. Most people use mulch of some kind, but you can also use leaves. Simply pile the mulch on top of the roots to protect it from the frost and snow.

Some people prefer to plant their mint in a container because it’s easier to control. If your mint is in a container, but you usually keep that container outside, just bring it inside. It’s not a good idea to leave mint planted in a container outside over winter. You’ll want to bring it into your house to winter over.

Should You Bring Mint Inside In Winter?

Bringing your mint inside over winter is a great idea if you’re able to. It’s not usually necessary because mint has a high cold and frost tolerance. However, if you leave it outside over winter, it will eventually stop growing and go dormant.

If you’d like your mint to continue growing and thriving through the winter months, you’ll need to bring it inside.

The decision to bring mint inside also depends on how the mint is planted. If it’s in a pot, that’s easy, you can certainly just bring it inside.

If the mint is planted in the ground, that’s a little trickier. Most people will set up barriers around their mint to prevent it from growing out of control. If this is the case, you should be able to find a pot large enough to transfer your mint to over winter.

However, if you have no barriers for your mint and it’s growing all over your garden, you should probably leave it be.

Tips for Growing Mint Indoors In Winter

Bringing your mint inside over winter is a great idea. Still, there are some things you’re going to want to do to make sure it thrives. Your plant isn’t going to be used to the indoor climate. You’re going to want to give it proper care so that it does well inside and can be moved back to your garden come spring.

Light

Mint likes a lot of light, so you’ll want to keep it by a window that receives plenty of light. However, make sure you choose a location that doesn’t get too cold. Some people have windows that get very drafty, and this may harm your plant.

If your windows get too cold for your mint plant, you may have to purchase a grow light. A grow light is a great resource for when using a window isn’t an option. They’re designed specifically for plants and they make sure your plant is getting plenty of light.

Some people have lovely sunrooms built off the side of their house. Whether the room is heated or not, it will make a great location for your mint plant to overwinter. The sunroom will act as a kind of greenhouse. It will provide your mint with lots of natural sunlight and it will keep it warm.

Even if the room isn’t heated, that’s fine. The natural sunlight will help to warm the room slightly. Also, mint is naturally cold tolerant. It’s unlikely that your sunroom will reach temperatures below freezing. So, your mint will do just fine protected from the frost.

Likewise, if you have an actual greenhouse in your garden, utilize it! There’s no need to bring your large mint plant into the house when you have a greenhouse at your disposal. The greenhouse will do great at protecting your mint from the winter cold.

In fact, you’ll want to make sure the greenhouse doesn’t get too hot! Mint grows best at temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water

Mint loves water, but you don’t want to overwater it. You’ll want to be especially careful about overwatering if you’re keeping mint indoors.

Keep the soil moist, but don’t keep it overly wet. Only water your plant when you notice the upper portion of the soil is becoming dry to the touch.

Humidity

Mint does best in moderate to high humidity. If your house is dry, you’re going to need to mist it multiple times a day.

How To Prepare Mint For Winter

So, you’ve decided to let your plant overwinter outside. Your plant should be fine, but you’ll want to prepare it for the coming cold and frost. What can you do?

Move It Inside

As I suggested above, if your plant is small enough, it’s a great idea to bring it inside during winter. Bringing your mint inside will keep it growing throughout the winter months.

Use A Cloche

A cloche is a cover that is popularly used to protect herbs throughout winter. The material is usually transparent or translucent so that you can still see your plant. If you can find an older model, you may find one made of glass. Today, they’re generally made of plastic.

It will be draped over your mint plant to protect it from freezing temperatures and frost.

Cloches are a great option because you can keep your mint in your garden while monitoring its health. If you notice it’s not doing well, though, you may want to bring it inside.

Use Mulch

Like I suggested above, mulch is a great option to protect your mint plant. Using mulch, straw, shredded wood, or bark is a great way to keep the roots protected and keep your plant warm. The mulch will keep the soil slightly warm and insulated. It will also protect the roots from any frost and snow.

In some circumstances, mulch will even keep the plant warm enough to keep growing.

Put Your Plant In Water

This is an option if you’ve decided to winter your mint inside. Mint grows more quickly in water than it does in soil. If you’d like your mint plant to continue growing over winter, remove it from the soil and put the roots in a pot of water.

You can even do this for plants left outside that have gone dormant. This works if you want to get started on the growing process before the end of winter. Again, just bring the plant inside and place the roots into a pot of water for a few weeks. The plant will come out of its dormancy and begin growing.

Does Mint Grow In Winter?

Mint cannot grow in temperatures below freezing. If you leave it outside over winter, even if it’s protected, it won’t grow. Your plant will actually go dormant and you’ll see it begin to die back a bit. Don’t worry, though. Your mint plant will bounce back in spring.

However, if you choose to bring your mint plant inside during winter, it will continue to grow.

Will Mint Grow Back After Winter?

Mint will absolutely grow back after winter! Mint is a perennial plant.

This means that it only needs to be planted once and it will keep coming back season after season. Of course, if you don’t take steps to protect your plant over winter, it may die.

If it does die, unfortunately it won’t come back.

Final Words

As you can see, you don’t have to worry too much about your mint plants over winter. Mint is very cold tolerant and will do well in cold temperatures. Even if your winter temperatures drop below freezing, your mint plants should do just fine.

Still, there are things that you can and should do to help your plants survive the winter months. If you act to protect your plants against the cold, they’ll bounce back quicker and grow better come spring.

Want to learn more? Click here to read more about when to plant mint. You can find all my guides to growing mint here.