Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Re-potting Mint

Gosh, is it that time of year already? I re-pot my Mint every year to keep it vigorous. It is a plant that grows very rapidly and unless you confine it in pots it is very likely to take over your whole garden. Its productive time is during the Summer months, and by Autumn it dies down and hibernates for a while. Because of the huge amount of root growth it makes, a Mint plant is not going to be happy in a pot unless it is re-potted into fresh compost at intervals of at most a year.

This is what mine looked like until last weekend:


The Mint plant's roots tend to grow outwards, towards the edge of the pot. The older part of the plant, in the centre, becomes tough and woody.


This is my procedure for re-potting Mint.

Stage 1: Tip the plants out of their pots. You will see straight away the truth of what I was saying about the Mint producing lots of roots:


In this next close-up photo you can see how the horizontally-growing roots put up new shoots at the edge of the pot:


Stage 2: Using an old kitchen knife I cut some "chunks" [root cuttings] off the plant, each with a good amount of fat white root and preferably one or two new young shoots. I use perhaps 5% of the plant:


Stage 3: Half-fill the pots with fresh compost (I always add a layer of stones at the bottom, to aid drainage), and put in a couple of the chunks of plant:


Stage 4: Cover the root cuttings with another layer of compost, leaving any new shoots sticking up above the surface, and water-in:


That's it - job done!


The other 95% of the old plants is placed in a plastic sack for later disposal at the Council tip. Never put the old plants in your compost bin - they would simply take over. Of course, if you are really keen, you could pot-up dozens of little Mint plants into suitable containers and grow them on for selling at a Church Fete or something. The success rate for establishing Mint from root-cuttings is practically 100%, and lots of people would buy a decent young Mint plant for a £1. It's not for nothing that making money is called "minting"!

In a few weeks' time these new Mint plants of mine will be putting up strong new shoots and by about May I should be able to harvest from them. The re-potting task is a mucky one (especially on a cold day), but it is certainly worthwhile.

13 comments:

  1. I've only repotted one of my mint plants since I've moved here. I ought to do it, but so far they seem fine. They do have very large pots though. I figure I'll do the chore when they start getting less vigorous. I ought to do it when they defrost as it is a better time.

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  2. My old allotment was covered in mint. Someone obviously thought it would be ok to grow it in the ground, and it took over. After seeing just how far it spread, it's something I'll never make a mistake with, it's so hard to eradicate once it's settled in.

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  3. This is great Mark!Thanks for sharing this info.

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  4. Nice how-to and you are right, those roots look vigorous!

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  5. We have a mint bed on the plot that needs sorting and a tub in the garden to repot.Last year we made up jars of mint sauce to last over autumn.winter.

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  6. I had a severely overgrown one last year which couldn't be saved. My fault as I hadn't treated it as well as you do yours. I shall be treating the new ones with care & attention in the future.

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  7. I have four kinds of mint - kept in checked to varying degrees (depending on flavour I suppose) by the larvae of mint moths. (They seem to like chocolate mint best.)

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  8. Shamefully, I've never given a second thought to repotting any of my mint plants. They're all growing in tubs, some of which are sunk into the ground. One produces a wonderful 2 ft wide ball of mint leaves but I'm replanting my herb bed so have lifted the pot for now. I don't want to lose the wonderful shape but I guess now would be the time to rejuvenate it! I like the idea of potting on lots of little plants for a fund raising sale - good idea!!

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  9. I've never thought of repotting mint but will look at doing that asap so they get the full benefit now that (hopefully) spring is on the way.

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  10. Thanks for this Mark!! This will be my first year growing mint, so its good to know in advance about the vigorous roots and how to re-pot later on.

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  11. Thanks for this, really helpful. I have repotted my mint plants from time to time (but only when it's started looking really miserable!) I hadn't thought about cutting up chunks of root like that - I'll definitely give this a go...

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  12. great how to, I will start using this strategy.

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  13. I hadn't thought of doing this before, thank you for the very useful information. I planted our mint in the front garden at our last house and spread into every bed. At our new house the mint is contained to a large brick bed and the roots were so bound up I could barely take any out to re-pot!

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