Do you grow mint? Mint is filled with a love and hate by many gardeners. They love to smell it, add it to tea and use it in cooking, but hate growing it, due to it’s reputation for being invasive.
However, store-bought mint is pricey and doesn’t smell as bright and fresh as home grown mint.
I discovered an easy way to propagate mint from cuttings. If you’re uncomfortable planting mint in the garden, don’t despair. It may be grown in a pot. However, I have a couple tricks for growing it directly in the garden too.
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A few years ago, I discovered the easiest way to expand my herb garden. It happened by accident.
I had always dreamed of a large mint garden. Fresh mint leaves have a delicious scent and flavour and they’re also good for you! If you’re stomach is feeling sore, add a few mint leaves to your hot or cold water. It will help to sooth your stomach and will aid in digestion.
When we finally moved to the country, I planned to make my mint garden dream a reality. I just needed to find the right location.
Contrary to what I’d heard about mint being invasive and a bad idea to plant directly into the ground, I decided to do it anyway and didn’t mind it taking over a designated area.
In choosing the right location for my mint garden, I selected a spot that was easy to control. I figured, if the mint grew outside of the garden bed, we could contain it by mowing the grass around the perimeter.
The garden I chose, was under a maple tree. Since maple trees have wide spreading roots, like other trees, planting a garden underneath them is difficult. However, mint has no problem growing under these conditions. It spreads by runners, which are shallow spreading roots, that grow directly under the soil line. As they grow, they produce shoots that emerge from the soil and sprout leaves.
If you don’t have the space to plant directly under a tree or in a garden, you may choose to contain their roots.
Here are four options when deciding where to plant mint:
- If you don’t mind the plant spreading, then feel free to plant it in the ground.
- If you are concerned with the plant becoming invasive, a good option is to plant your mint in a pot and keep it on your porch or deck.
- The third option is to plant your mint in a non-crack plastic container and sink that container into the ground, leaving several inches above the soil line. If the plant begins to develop runners above the soil, they are easy to cut and remove.
- A fourth option is to install plastic edging around your garden bed, or around the plant as a makeshift pot and sink that edging several inches into the soil. This will help to contain your mint plant in a designated area.
When I decided to create a “mint garden” under the maple tree, I realized that this garden would be quite pricey to fill with nursery-bought plants. Alternatively, if I only planted a few plants, it would take several years for those plants to spread and fill in the area. This is where my discovery changed all that!
Creating more plants from cuttings, was the cheapest and easiest solution.
How to Root Mint from Cuttings
When harvesting mint, look for new stems and young growth. Newly developed stems have softwood. Later in the season, the stems will harden and transition from semi-hardwood to hardwood in texture. Hardwood stems resemble tough sticks, while softwood is green in colour and soft and pliable. Softwood stems develop roots in a short period of time. As the wood ages and hardens, it takes much longer for it to develop roots and rooting in water may not always be successful. Other means would need to be followed, in order to encourage root production.
Upon harvesting your mint, cut your stems about 2 inches above the soil line and remove all lower leaves. Then bring your mint stems into the house and place them in a glass of water, to stay fresh. This is where I discovered how easy it is to root mint from cuttings.
I prefer to store my harvested mint in water, than in the fridge. Not only does seeing the mint make me happy, but I enjoy the easy convenience of being able to pick a leaf or two, whenever I need one.
If you’re a heavy mint user, you will probably use up your mint leaves fairly quickly. In that case, pick a larger bunch. If you don’t use very many, a small bunch will be sufficient. After about a week in the water, you will notice that the bottoms of those stems will start to develop tiny roots. The longer the stems remain in the water, the more roots they will produce.
The mint will root in a glass of water or vase, so use them as you need them and don’t worry about the length of time that it will take. However, if you’d like to speed up the rooting process, you may cut shorter stems and cover the glass of water with a clear plastic bag. Then place the covered glass in a bright location, out of direct sunlight. The bag will create a greenhouse environment for the mint stems and they will root much faster. Just be sure to check your mint every day or other day for rooting, or any problems that may occur. Also, change your water, at least once a week.
After the stems have developed a few roots, plant them out in one of the 4 locations mentioned above.
Today, I have a lovely and lush mint garden under my maple tree. It only took a few years and the entire bed is filled with happily growing mint. There are almost no weeds in that garden and the mint hasn’t spread outside of the bed, due to regular grass cutting. I really enjoy the freedom of picking fresh mint when I need it. It’s also been a lovely take away gift for friends and visitors.
If you try this method, you won’t believe how easy it is propagate mint from cuttings! All you really need is a glass of water.
You can use this method to root other herbs. Consider an herb exchange with your friends or neighbours. If they have an herb you’d like and you have one they don’t have, you can take cuttings for propagation and trade. This is an easy and inexpensive way to expand your herb gardens.