With its great varieties, mint has to be the most popular herb in gardening. You can think of all the different mint types as the “Kardashians” of herbs.
Whether or not you’re too serious about gardening, you should have at least one kind of mint growing in your herb garden. Why? Simply because all mints are aromatic, beautiful, and incredibly beneficial.
You should also learn how to propagate mint. If you do, you’ll never have to buy mint plants from the nursery anymore.
In fact, propagating herbs is a skill that you should acquire sooner rather than later. It’s the secret behind preserving herb collections and expanding them.
I think propagating mint is a good way to start, although you first need to learn a few important things.
Propagating Mint from Seeds
Starting mint from seeds isn’t the best idea. Many different mint species produce nonviable seeds that cannot germinate. Others produce viable seeds that may have a low germination rate or produce plants with highly variable characteristics.
Nonetheless, propagating mint from seeds isn’t impossible. When I was a child, my parents and I used to grow spearmint from seeds all the time.
If you’re eager to grow your herbs from seeds, go ahead and propagate your mint plants that way. Bear in mind, though, that you won’t find seeds for all mint varieties because some of them are sterile.
Here are the tips you need to know about mint seed propagation:
When do you start mint seeds?
In case you’re depending on natural and unregulated conditions to grow herbs, you definitely need to start your mint seeds indoors at the end of winter.
If you use grow lamps as I do, you can start your seeds whenever you want as long as you’re regulating all other controlling factors.
What do you need to start mint seeds?
You need viable seeds that have a relatively high germination rate. Be sure to purchase those that have many positive reviews online.
You also need small containers or pots that allow you to easily transfer the seedlings later on.
Most importantly, you need a medium for growing the seeds. A germination soilless mix or a rich, well-drained soil would do the job.
Finally, you can also benefit from having some plastic wrap.
How do you start mint seeds?
- Moisten the soil or mix before you use it to fill the containers up to the brim
- Sow three seeds on top of each container
- Immerse the seeds 1/3 inch (0.84 cm) in the soil
- Cover the containers with plastic wrap to accelerate germination
- Remove the plastic wrap for a few hours to allow the seeds to breathe
Germination will probably take place after two weeks.
Seeds growing conditions:
- Light: Avoid direct sunlight. Expose seeds to some indirect sunlight or artificial light.
- Temperature: A room temperature of 68°F (20°C) is ideal.
- Water: The soil should stay moist all the time. Make sure to be gentle during watering.
Once the seeds sprout, transfer the seedlings to wider containers and expose them to direct sunlight or use grow lamps to make sure they’re getting 12 hours of light every day. Also water them gently once or twice daily.
Propagating Mint from Cuttings
The best way to propagate mint is from cuttings. Different mint varieties can be propagated either from the stem or the root.
If you ever read an article or a book about companion planting, which is the process of growing different plants together, you’ll know that mint is invasive and shouldn’t be grown with most other plants.
That explains why mint can be successfully and easily grown by vegetative propagation. In natural conditions, mint can send its roots underground to grow in different places around the garden.
Herb growers depend on all of that to reproduce mint plants that don’t produce viable seeds, such as peppermint.
Let me show you how you can do that too:
How do you propagate mint from stem cuttings?
First of all, whether you are growing mint from a stem or a root, it’s obvious that you need a grown mint plant to start with. It can be yours, a friend’s, a neighbor’s, or a relative’s plant.
Once you find your volunteer mint, here’s what you should do:
- Search for a stem that is 4 to 6 inches (around 10–15 cm) long and doesn’t have flowers at the top
- Cut the stem just below the point where the last leaves at the bottom grow
- Remove all the leaves at the bottom and keep only the one set of leaves growing at the top
- Transfer the cutting to a glass of water and leave it in a sunny and well-ventilated place
Your cutting would start to gradually develop a root system. After nearly two weeks, it would be ready to be transferred to a pot that contains light and rich, well-drained soil.
Remember to use clean, high-quality pruners while taking cuttings because you need to avoid wounds and tears in your plants. Otherwise, pests and diseases would devour the stems from both the inside and the outside.
You can also plant your cutting directly in the soil:
- Dip the stem base in a rooting hormone
You can find rooting hormone gel or powder on Amazon.
- Make a small hole in the soil with your finger
- Insert the stem’s base into the hole
- Gently push the soil around the cutting
Keep the soil moist and the cuttings away from direct sunlight until they start growing new leaves.
How do you propagate mint from root cuttings?
Mint root propagation is somewhat similar to stem propagation. Here’s how you can do it:
- Dig up the root of your mint plant
- Choose the root extensions that measure at least 6 inches (15 cm) long and cut them off
- Bring a wide container that allows the mint to spread and grow smoothly
- Dig a hole in the container and place the cutting in it horizontally
Water the root cuttings frequently to always keep the soil moist.
After about a month, the cuttings will start to grow new stems and leaves.
It’s important to note that in this case mint will become very invasive and should be planted alone in the container.
Conclusion: What Method Should You Use?
Now that you have learned three different ways of mint propagation, you may be a little confused about which one to choose.
Remember that in the case of mint it’s always better to propagate the plant from cuttings.
Stem cuttings are the easiest to take and need less time to propagate than root cuttings do.
Root propagation is always best when you want to “divide” an old mint plant or one that has already blossomed.
Don’t forget to let me know about your thoughts in the comments below!