Ina Garten’s Giant Pot of Fresh Mint Is the Most Genius (and Foolproof) Summertime Container Garden
Forget the flowers.
Mint will take over if you let it. Throw it in a pot with a few other herbs and soon it has absolutely swallowed all your pretty little thyme and delicate cilantro—not that Ina would ever dream of planting that particular, latter-mentioned herb. Mint roots grow horizontally, meaning they choke out their fellow flora from the ground up. Giving your mint plant its very own space to sprawl just makes sense and, as Ina proved on her Barefoot Contessa site, also makes for one stunning outdoor container garden.
It comes as no surprise that the object of our current horticultural obsession is Ina's large, cement planter absolutely spilling with fresh mint. She describes it as "the biggest pot of fresh mint you've ever seen." We confirm. While Ina assuredly has the golden touch when it comes to all things food and flower, you too can achieve Barefoot Contessa-level pots with a few key tips.
The first is to cluster mint together. If you're going with a large Ina-inspired pot, don't start with one lonely plant. You'll want a few, spaced about 18 inches apart so they grow together. This results in a better flavor and also reduces the likelihood that the mint will get leggy. Most mint varieties also do well in sunny spots, so give them at least 6 hours a day for best results.
Another quick tip is to prune often and certainly whenever you see a flower bud appear. Beyond that, cutting your entire plant down to one inch above the dirt a couple times per growing season results in a fresh harvest of flavor for recipes like Ina's Couscous with Mint and Peas or our classic Mint Julep recipe. They're fast growers and will quickly rebound with full and lush new growth.
Mint takes a lot of water, so be sure to keep your container well hydrated. Now all you need to do is find an Ina-inspired container and get growing.