Mint is incredibly easy to grow from cuttings and incredibly easy to grow in pots.
That’s great news if you’re starting to grow your own on a budget and if you’re gardening in a small space or even a kitchen or balcony.
As it means you can grow mint – and regrow mint – from free cuttings and always find space for a bumper crop for cooking and all sorts of other natural remedies.
Growing mint from cuttings is also a great little plant life cycle activity for kids that helps them learn about plant propagation.
So in this post I am going to share everything you need to know about growing mint in pots from cuttings plus additional tips on growing mint by splitting plants and how to grow mint with kids as a plant life cycle activity.
The post covers:
- How to start mint from cuttings
- Transferring mint to pots
- Where to grow mint
- How to grow mint with other herbs
- How to grow mint from roots
- How to harvest mint
- How to prune mint
- Common mint pests & diseases
- How to use mint in home remedies
And then some extra tips on growing mint from cuttings as a plant life cycle activity for kids.
How To Grow Mint From Cuttings
To start growing mint from cuttings ask around amongst neighbours and friends to find anyone with a mint plant happy to offer a few cuttings.
Mint dies back outside in winter so unless a friend is growing mint indoors, mint cuttings will be available from May to early autumn.
In late autumn neighbours may be dividing plants to thin them out which will give you the chance to grow mint from roots (see section 6).
To start your mint from cuttings
- Cut 4 or 5 stems 2 or 3 inches long from the top of the plant
- Cut just below some leaves
- Remove bottom leaves
- Pop the cuttings in a jar of water in the kitchen
- Leave to root for about a fortnight but it doesn’t matter if longer – you want a nice healthy root system before planting
- There’s a big debate about whether you should change the water or not – some swear by changing it daily, others say don’t change at all because the oxygen emitted by the plants stops the root from rotting. We usually change it a couple of times.
Transferring Mint To Pots
Mint – in my view – should always be grown in pots. I learned the hard way it can be invasive and suffocate other herbs and plants.
So whether you’re growing your mint indoors or outdoors transfer the mint to a pot once you’ve got some good root growth in the water.
- Growing mint outdoors : an 8 to 10 inch / 20 – 25 cm pot will support a good mint crop for cooking and natural remedies for common ailments over the summer.
- Growing mint in a small space : if you’re gardening in a small space you can go for a narrower pot but choose a taller container to give the mint roots plenty of room.
- Growing mint as a companion plant : if you’ve a few cuttings to spare I would also pop some in smaller pots you can put near your vegetables to deter pests (see section 6 Growing Mint As A Companion Plant).
- Growing mint indoors : if you’re growing mint indoors it’s easier to split your mint cuttings between 2 or 3 smaller pots but the pots must have something to sit in, as you’ll water them lots.
To transfer your mint cuttings to the pot :
- Fill your pots with multi-purpose compost.
- Transfer your cuttings so firmly in the soil.
- Water the compost very well so it’s really nice and wet.
- Finally cut down your shoots to about an inch or so above the soil but make sure leaves are left on each shoot. This will encourage another growth spurt so they establish themselves very quickly.
Where To Grow Mint
Mint is a summer growing herb and it does like light but it doesn’t like too much heat or scorching sun. I grow my mint near my back door but move it into a cooler, shadier spot if the weather gets very hot.
So my best advice on where to grow mint outdoors is to:
- Give pots a little afternoon shade.
- Move into shadier spots if weather gets very hot.
- But don’t forget to move back as it cools.
And my tips on where to grow mint indoors are :
- Keep indoor pots away from hot windows.
- Rotate the pot so different parts of the plant get access to light to give you a nice evenly grown mint crop.
How To Water Mint Cuttings
As we saw starting our mint from cuttings, mint likes water, lots of it. You need to water it regularly and give it a real soaking so it’s capacious roots at the bottom of the pot are getting a good drink.
If you’re gardening with kids make them responsible for mint watering as they can give it a good old drenching without any damage.
If you’re going away for the summer, loan the plants – and their delicious leaves – to a neighbour in exchange for daily watering.
How To Grow Mint With Other Herbs
You may have seen pictures on Pinterest of lovely green mint growing lusciously in a herb garden with lavender and other herbs and be tempted to plant a wonderfully wild herb garden.
Don’t even think about it.
I tried and it doesn’t work.
The triffid like mint will in the summer suffocate everything from lavender and thyme to sage. And whilst the mint loves water many of our other herbs like very dry ground.
So do grow mint separately in pots from your other herbs.
Safely contained in its pot mint can actually be a very useful companion plant to protect your vegetables from common pests.
Growing Mint As A Companion Plant
Small pots of mint grown as companion plants in your vegetable garden can be a simple organic way to repel pests from :
How To Grow Mint From Roots
Mint roots grow voraciously – as you will see when you grow mint from cuttings – so within a few years you can divide your mint plant by its roots.
Regularly dividing mint plants can help to keep the mint plant healthy.
Divide your plants in autumn after the mint has been fully harvested and pruned down (see below). The mint roots can be quite easily separated but at this time of year you want there to be plenty of small vertical rootlets for each pot.
How To Harvest Mint
Harvest mint little and often as you want it. The more you harvest mint, the more it will grow.
So add mint to everything from your cooking to your favourite mojitos to mint play dough for your kids and do use it in simple natural remedies. I’ve got a big list for you below of all the ways you can use mint for common family ailments.
If you do want to preserve mint, harvest the mint just before it flowers which is typically in late summer, as this is when the fragrance and flavour is at its strongest.
How To Prune Mint
In early autumn when your mint has finally stopped producing new leaves prune your mint plants by harvesting any remaining leaves and cutting back all that seasons stem growth to soil level.
Common Mint Pests & Diseases
I’ve grown mint for 10 year or so and had very little problem – until last year!! – with pests but you do need to watch out for:
- Mint Rust : dusty orange, yellow or black pustules on your mint plant are a sign of mint rust. It can be treated by dividing the roots to keep just uninfected parts of the plant.
- Mint Leaf Beetles : holes in your mint leaves can be a sign of the mint leaf beetle. They’re handsome little creatures but quite easily spotted by their shiny shells and manually removed.
- Mint Moth Caterpillars : do keep your eyes for the mint moth caterpillar. They are small with a green belly and grey brown back and they can – as I discovered the hard way last year – decimate a pot of mint in days. Keep a look out for white eggs on the underside of leaves and manually remove them and any caterpillars on sight.
How To Use Mint In Home Remedies
Mint is a wonderful natural remedy for common ailments so if you’re growing mint in your garden or kitchen do remember you can use mint for:
- Herbal tea for natural headache relief
- Natural remedies for stomach ache & indigestion
- Blocked sinus congestion relief
- Natural UTI & bladder infection remedies
- Natural hair lice prevention
- And pregnancy nausea relief.
You can use the mint fresh in summer but there are simple tips here on how to dry mint for use in winter and early spring.
I do hope these tips help you grow a bumper mint crop to keep you going all summer long from your cuttings.
For more simple gardening advice for beginners do check out my other easy tips for growing your own food.
Growing Mint As A Plant Life Cycle Activity
Growing new plants is usually about planting seeds but the best way to grow a new mint plant is from clippings or cuttings, which makes it a brilliant plant life cycle activity for kids.
A simple mint growing experiment on the kitchen table or in the classroom can help children understand that plant propagation isn’t just about seeds.
By cutting a few stems of mint and watching them grow new roots in a jar of water children are able to see very visually:
- new roots appearing from the stem
- and then new leaf growth.
What they are witnessing is the phenomenal power of mint to propagate itself through asexual reproduction rather sexual reproduction combining pollen and an egg. The new mint plant is in effect a clone of the parent plant rather than a hybrid of two plants.
The advantage of asexual reproduction is very rapid propagation but at the price of long term genetic health from the merging of genes through pollination.
Not all plants can reproduce asexually through cuttings but others that can include:
- Other herbs such as sage, oregano, rosemary and lavender
- Wild flowers such as violets
- And even more cool willow cuttings that let you watch catkins burst into pollen
Growing mint from cuttings really is a brilliant little plant life cycle activity to help children see for themselves plant propagation via asexual reproduction.
For more super simple but powerful plant life cycle activities for kids check out these posts :