I got a pretty good chuckle out of this reader question, because anyone who has ever grown mint knows that there is a love/hate relationship with the stuff. It is crazy invasive and spreads like wildfire–but drop a couple of those leaves in your summer lemonade and all is forgiven. Sharla writes,
Mavis, I planted mint in my garden last year, and now this year it is taking over! Seriously, it is popping up everywhere–like across the other side of the yard. I am afraid I am going to get calls from the neighbors soon, blaming me for the infestation. I just wanted a small “mojito garden” and I got myself a big fat headache. Any suggestions on taming the beast?
Mint totally is like a weed–a very tasty weed. I am pretty sure it could survive a nuclear attack. You’ve got a couple of options. I’ll lead with my LEAST favorite: chemical assault. You could use a vegetation killer spray, but honestly, I don’t let that stuff anywhere near my garden. It would be the fastest way to deal with the issue, but also it comes with lasting repercussions that aren’t worth it, in my opinion. You could also use more natural plant killers like vinegar or other organic weed killers, but you’ll need repeat applications to really do any good.
Next, you could suffocate the stuff. Lay down garbage bags over the top of it in and then lay dirt over the top of the bags. The lack of air and light will snuff them out. Sadly, it will also snuff out any grass or other living plants that are in the line of fire.
Finally, you could embrace your new calling as a permanent mint-puller. It means you’ll have to slide on a pair of gardening gloves and pull those suckers out by the roots with reckless abadonment. This is probably the biggest time commitment–and it will likely take a few years to eradicate it all, but it involves zero chemicals and allows neighboring plants the opportunity to continue living.
Once you do finally “tame the beast”, don’t give up on your mojito garden all together. Instead, plant mint in containers only. This will ensure it stays right where you want it.
Any of you had success in undoing a mint garden gone wrong?
Sorry, but it’s funny to me. I just assumed everyone knew about the invasiveness of mint.My great grandmother, and grandmother gre mint in ots only. My mother refused to grow it, not liking pots. I grew up knowing the only way you can safely grow it, is to keep it in a pot, in the house so there would be not extra mint, and nothing else. My youngest granddaughters, 10 & 12 know this, and choose not to tempt Murphy, by trying to grow it, although they are trying plenty of other things.someone really should write a comprehensive book on all the plants that cause this and other roblems for the unsuspecting gardener.
I planted mine on purpose to help eradicate the weeds I cannot stand! I am okay with it taking over. At least for now. 😉 We made some mint wine with it. And I plan to harvest enough next year so I won’t have to buy mint tea for the entire year.
MINT WINE?! wow. I want to try that!
Melissa P says
The first house my husband and I lived in had mint all over the backyard. It smelled so good when we cut the grass! But we never did get it confined where we wanted it, though I did make lots of mint jelly those years.
I planted mine in a container, and it jumped out and is not growing in the rock garden… so far the rocks look like they are containing it… Just wanted to let you know to be careful the size of container and to make sure you keep it trimmed. Good Luck!
Mine IS in a container and it’s still spreading all over my yard. Oregano is the same way.
Kissiah Aiken says
I planted mint so it would take over because I’m not fond of grass in the yard or mowing a lot. We garden in raised beds, they are two feet off the ground. When your yard is covered with mint, even if you do mow, it smells awesome. Mint also repels bugs so mosquitoes and the like will tend to stay away. I also planted rosemary and lavender around the chicken coop and run to keep bugs away. Embrace the mint!
You can keep it contained in pots if you don’t let the flowers go to seed and keep any stems (and cuttings/leaves) off the ground.
Mint spreading is BAD? Not in MY garden! I have six kinds of mint and I love them all. I also have lots of other “mint family” members, all of whom are welcome here.
This made me chuckle. Mint is like the herpes of the garden world. We have pulled ours out twice this year. We transplanted into pots and gave plants to everyone I know. I still have a few patches popping up, but it is more containable than the first assault.
Oh my gosh! You’ll probably never get rid of it all, and everytime you get a little lazy about your war on mint it will come back with a vengence. No good advice here, but lots of sympathy!
Eat it! I’d harvest it into submission 🙂 Finely chopped on watermelon, with lamb, in the water when you boil potatoes and/or chopped and sprinkled on top with butter. Mint chocolate ice cream, minted yoghurt dips like raeta or tzatziki, in salads, especially with feta. You can make mint syrup or mint and apple jelly or English mint sauce or candied mint leaves, and of course drink mint tea and mojitos.
Here’s a link to some other ideas https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/26/18-recipes-for-leftover-mint