Making More Mint

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Mint has got to be one of the easiest plants to grow. Just plop it into some reasonably rich soil in a reasonably sunny spot and watch it take over. Evidence of its opportunistic habit probably lives in your garden right now. It certainly does in mine. The ‘Chocolate Mint’ I attempted to reign in by planting in a pot last year has busted loose spreading into the soil outside my community garden plot and into the plot next to it. Thankfully my neighbor doesn’t mind the invading plant and I am not short on friends willing to take fresh ‘Chocolate Mint’ off my hands. Everybody wins.

So while making even more mint may seem a bit ridiculous, I’ve got a project on the go that requires mint and lots of it. I could go out to the store and buy a couple of ready-to-go seedlings but since the timing isn’t critical I figured I’d save some money and make my own using the five or so varieties living at my community garden plot.

The process is easy. Simply cut a few stems about 4 or 5 inches long just below a node (the juncture on the stem where leaves are attached). Pluck off one or two sets of leaves, stick the stems in a small cup or jar of water and wait.

That’s it.

Most mint varieties will produce roots by this method in no time. Yes, you can go the soil route, rooting cuttings directly into potting soil or a vermiculite/perlite mix instead of water. Some say this is the best method for the health of the plants and while I would agree when it comes to most other plants, I couldn’t be bothered with the added hassle when reproducing easy-rooting plants like mint or basil.

Once roots have formed, pot up or plant the new plants in-ground and you’re done. You can add a little vermicompost to the hole if you want and of course water them in well to get things going.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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22 thoughts on “Making More Mint

  1. What is your project? I always have too much mint and would love some ideas of how to use more of it. (Mostly I just use in ice tea and for vietnemese spring rolls!)

  2. Thanks for the tip about the mint. My spearmint container is doing all right, but I’ve been tempted to branch out into other types. There aren’t too many varieties for sale in my neck of the woods, but now I know I can snitch a stem or two on my travels.

  3. I love growing mint, but only allow myself one new variety each year and keep them contained in a pot on the deck. The thing is, I have no idea how to use mint. What do I do with this year’s citrus mint, other than brush it and enjoy it’s scent whenever I pass by?

  4. My mother used to put wild mint leaves in the water when boiling small new potatoes fresh from the garden. You might find a recipie for mint jelly in old home preserving books.

  5. A bunch of wild mint was growing in the other section of our community garden. I dried it out and made some home made Tea with the dried leaves last summer. Add some fesh lemon its simular to Greek Tea. The dried mint will last a long time. Its also good to add it to Bean Soup.

  6. I need it for a growing project as opposed to a using/cooking project.

    You can make a non-alcoholic mojito using sparkling water that is a very refreshing summer drink. Mint lemonade. Mint tea or just a little bit added to water for flavor… regular water or sparkling water. There are lots of dishes that are good with mint.

    I also make a refreshing salt rub for my feet when they get dry… sea salt, mint, and an oil (olive, almond, etc) ground with a mortar and pestle.

    Teresa: I have heard of new potatoes boiled with dill as well!

    Donald: I dry a lot of mint. ‘Chocolate Mint’ is really good dried.

  7. In Egypt we use mint basically for one thing: making tea. We buy the mint and dry it at home in the sun. We then store it and use it for making tea by putting it into boiling water. Many also like to drink tea (black tea) with mint on it.

    I am an Egyptian living in Egypt.

  8. I have read that mint discourages cabbage moths. I haven’t tried it yet, but next time I grow cabbage I am going to have mint in some kind of pot buried in the ground near the cabbage plants.

    Will still need to keep a close eye on the mint to make sure it doesn’t drop seed, but then isn’t that the case no matter where you grow your mint?

  9. Jennifer from Seattle – you can try to plant your mint in the ground inside a coffee can that you have removed the bottom of using a can opener. This way you get some spread, but its not too extreme like you get if you just plop into the dirt. :)

  10. Chocolate mint smells more chocolately than it actually tastes but it has a very rich and crisp mint flavour. It smells just like peppermint patties.

  11. I think I’m the only person in history to kill my mint plant. I have not idea what happened but maybe in wasn’t meant to be.

  12. I planted chocolate mint in a window box on my second story balcony (about 16ft up) by the end of the summer, a couple of the vines that had crept down the balcony fence grew till they were touching the ground below! Thanks for the great tip, I’ll be giving some to my friends this year.

    I use chocolate mint in cafe su da (iced Vietnamese style chicory coffee)Basically, you mull some of the mint in the bottom of a glass, and pour a few tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk over it. Then, pour a few ounces of very strong hot coffee or espresso (preferably, add chicory to the grounds before you brew it)on top of that. Mix well, add LOTS of ice . It will melt a bit, and thin out the thick mixture to a perfect consistency. Yummm. I’m going to make one right now…

  13. chocolate peppermint! it’s my favorite. it tastes like a york peppermint patty. i crush it and sprinkle it on top of ice cream. i throw it in the blender when i’m making a smoothie. i also sprinkle it on top of fruit and sometimes throw it in a summer salad.

    tabbouleh is also useful for using up my spearmint.

  14. I tried the non-alcoholic mojito- dissolved about 1/4 cup of sugar in 2 cups boiling water & then seeped the mint leaves (about 2 tblsps) for 2 hours. Added freshly squeezed lime juice (6 limes) and a spritz of seltzer….it was goooooood!

  15. In Israel I think the biggest use for mint (which is “nana” in Hebrew) is in Limonana — mint lemonade. We also use it for tea, and mojitos. You can also try using it to season lamb, and you can puree it in yogurt with some honey.
    But the real headline here is that basil also roots easily in water. I have been trying to increase my supply by letting one plant flower and seed, and nothing! So as soon as I get home from work I will be putting some basil in some water. Thanks!

  16. I love basil so much. I was wondering, should I pick off the the flowers as they grow so that the plant keeps getting bigger? I think my Mother used to tell me that.
    If I were to do that, can I somehow get the blossoms to form another plant like someone said earlier, in water or by placing them in the soil as they are?

  17. Wendi: Yes definitely pick off the flowers. You can eat them too. Don’t try rooting the flowers. It’s better to root a piece that is leafy rather than budding.

  18. I really wanted to raise mint, so being new to it, I went to the nursery and picked out 3 different varieties, and kept them near the sunniest window of my apartment’s tiny kitchen. I tried watering them when they got dry and keeping them near the sun, but they soon began to dry up (I didn’t repot them when I got them). Also, I would snip off the ends of the 6 inch stalks for tea leaves, and soon those snipped ends whithered into dead sticks. The leaves fell off and died. What did I do wrong???!!! They were so healthy looking when I first got them…then I killed them somehow :(

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