Alan Titchmarsh shares how to avoid mint plants ‘dying down’ in winter

Alan Titchmarsh shows a great way to pot mint for the winter

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Gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, 73, is known for presenting a plethora of gardening and plant programmes over the years. The former Gardeners’ World lead host currently presents Secrets of the National Trust, Love Your Garden, Love Your Home and Garden and Alan Titchmarsh: Spring Into Summer as well as Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh. Over the years, he has also offered gardening advice to Britons for plant care and garden design.

In a video for Waitrose & Partners, Alan Titchmarsh shared his “gardening tips of the day” which was how to pot up mint for winter.

While mint may not be the most popular herb, people often use it with their new potatoes, with roast lamb or to create delicious drinks.

Mint leaves can be harvested from late spring and mid-autumn but the shoots of the plant die back over the winter months.

If you’re organised, the fresh leaves from spring and autumn can be frozen to use over the winter months.

However, if you’re keen to keep your mint going over the winter months, Alan has shared a “cheat” method.

He said: “You realise that in winter mint dies down, there’s nothing to see, but you can cheat.

“If you get either a clump dug up from your garden or a couple of pots like this from the garden centre or nursery, cut them right back.

“You can take this top growth off because it’s quite tough now and what you will find right down below, and you’ll see when I’ve shifted all this, is that there are young buds there just waiting.”

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Mint shoots have runners on them which allow them to spread in gardens. Many gardeners routinely cut these so the plant doesn’t spread.

Empty the mint from their pots so you can see the roots trailing around the plant.

The runners and shoots you see will eventually come up to give you fresh mint leaves.

However, this can’t be done easily if the plant is kept outside.

Alan suggested “cramming” the two mint plants into one larger pot – it can be terracotta or plastic – with some compost.

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The same technique can be used with clumps of mint dug up from the garden.

Ensure the clumps are filled around them with compost and make sure that at the top of the pot, you’ve left half an inch to an inch gap to allow for watering.

Over the winter months, the pot can’t be put outside but should be placed in a space where temperatures remain above freezing.

Alan explained: “What you’re going to do with this is to sit it not outside but in a porch [or] in a cool conservatory.

“It doesn’t need tropical heat it needs to be just above frost [level].”

Alan suggested rooms with temperatures of around 50F or 10C to keep the plant going through winter.

The gardening expert added: “These shoots will start to grow and then right the way through the winter – you can even do it on a windowsill indoors if you want – you can chop these shoots off.

“Because it’s warmer indoors, they won’t stay dormant as they are in winter and you get mint almost for free.”

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs at 9.30am on ITV.

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