There is nothing like fresh mint. But add it your garden beds and wish you died 1000 deaths before trying to get rid of it. Mint spreads faster than butter. Before you know it your whole garden bed has been taken over unless you know how to keep it in check. Learn the right way, not the wrong way how to plant mint. You will thank me later.
All Begins Innocently.
Mint is quite demur at first. It doesn’t spread much the first year. By the second year, it starts to warm up and spreads about 18 inches. See the picture below of my chocolate mint. Last year it was merely a three legged plant.
I know how any mint related plant can spread. I made my first mistake planting innocent oregano in a bed. Oregano is part of the mint family. It took literally five years to get rid of it in this bed. I am still fighting it as it crept into the pathways as well.
Oh by the way, some mints play better with others. Lemon balm, catmint and catnip don’t spread as quickly but I still wouldn’t suggest putting it in a vegetable garden bed. My not so invasive mint is in my surrounding plant beds.
In fact, I planted lemon balm and pineapple mint together. The pineapple mint was just beating on the lemon balm like it was its younger brother.
How to Plant Mint
If you don’t have a dedicated bed just for mint, then you will have to contain it. Mint always wins and is quite a thug. Oh, but a beautifully smelling thug so you don’t want to pull it all out. (Your second mistake.)
Years ago, I read how to plant mint to keep it contained. I was only told half of the truth. Or perhaps, I didn’t keep the lip of the container above ground. In any event, simply planting it in a container in the ground will NOT contain it unless you are very vigilant in pulling it out.
The mint will leave you thank you notes as it gallops it way across your beds.
You want to prevent the mint from touching the ground. It roots and keeps on spreading. It spreads by runners.
Here are four ways to keep your sanity and enjoy mint:
#1 Grow it in Container
Simply grow it in a nice size container. Realize since its nature is to spread you will need to either re-pot each year to a bigger container or simply pull some out so that the roots don’t strangle the plant. You will be thinning the plant and rejuvenating it.
If you want the mint to survive, you will need to bring it into the house. Place it by a east or south facing window. Don’t forget to water it. Mint likes to stay moist but not soggy. In addition, mist it or put it on top of pebbles with water underneath to create humidity.
Turn it every week so the plant receives equal sunlight.
#2 Plant it in a Container in the Ground
Most mint are perennials so the plants comes back ever year. (Be sure to check your variety before you plant.)
My second attempt at planting mint was in a container in the ground. I thought I would contain it but it still spread.
Leave the lip of the pot about 2 inches above the ground.
I have heard mixed results about planting mint in plastic or clay pots. Some people say that the mint will shatter the clay pot. I bet they didn’t thin their plants.
What should you do with the mint you pulled out? You can use the pulled out mint to create new pots of mint or simply use it in your favorite dish or drink.
#3 Plant Mint in a Raised Bed
Planting it in a raised bed will NOT prevent it from running. As I mentioned above, my oregano jumped ship and started to grow alongside the raised bed.
You can plant mint in a raised bed but be sure to contain it by using weed barrier fabric around the bed. Note, you need to thin the plants in the bed since the garden bed is one big container.
Alternatively, simply pull it out when it comes out of the bed. Mint with runners are easy to pull out. Lemon Balm is not as easy since it grows more like a plant with a single nice size root.
#4 Plant Mint in Its Own Bed
You can spit caution to the wind and plant the mint in its own soil bed. It makes excellent ground cover but it will bully other plants. Mint even bullies comfrey which is a thug in its own right. (Comfrey smothers plants underneath it.)
My mint grows out of my prepared beds into the lawn. We just mow it or pull it.
To learn about other plant thugs in your garden, read HERE. Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.
Join the Conversation
How do you plant mint?