Mint Is One of the Best and Easiest Plants to Propagate
The word propagate just means turning one plant into many more! Buy a single bunch of mint from the grocery store before following these simple steps, and that will be the last time you ever have to buy mint from the store. Seriously, you'll be set for life.
There's something about the smell of mint that feels a bit magical to me. And if the smell wasn't enough, there's definitely magic in our ability to produce thousands of copies of one plant through propagation.
So if you're ready, gather your supplies and let's perform some plant magic together.
Supplies needed to propagate mint:
- Organic mint from the grocery store or garden (I bought mine in a little bunch at the grocery store, but you can also ask a friend for some cuttings from their mature mint plants)
- A shallow cup or jar filled with fresh water
- A clean pair of pruners or some really sharp scissors
Once your mint cuttings have successfully rooted, you'll need a container or pot filled with a mix of potting soil and compost. This little planter should have at least one good drainage hole in the bottom to let water out, and then you can put a piece of weed barrier cloth or an unfolded coffee filter over that hole so that your soil doesn't wash out.
You'll also need a dibber (or a butter knife or chopstick if you don't have one) to make a nice big hole in your soil for planting your rooted cuttings.
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Step One to Propagate Mint
Select the best sprigs of mint to propagate
Once you've located an organic bunch of mint, it's time to pick the best stems that you want to turn into more plants. Go through your bunch of mint and pick some of the healthiest-looking sprigs. Look for the sprigs that have a lot of green leaves that look nice and fresh.
Step Two to Propagate Mint
Trim the bottom third of your mint plants
Once you have your freshest stems, you want to remove the lower leaves so the plant can focus on growing roots.
Take your sharp scissors and cut the stem a bit so that it’s not too tall. Be mindful to cut it right above a leaf node, where the leaves on the stem sprout out from. Also, cut it at a bit of an angle. What you’ll do next is just strip the bottom third of the leaves from the stem.
Your stem may look a little bare now, but don’t worry! Your mint will all grow back soon enough.
Step Three to Propagate Mint
Place your mint into a glass of fresh water
Fill your glass with some water and just pop your freshly trimmed sprigs in. You want to make sure the leaves are hanging out all nice and dry at the top. You definitely don’t want them to be in the water. And make sure the stem is nicely submerged since that’s where all the roots are going to shoot out from.
In a week or two, it'll be time to check on the progress of the roots. Say your favorite magician's phrase (Might I suggest "abracadabra" or "shazam"?) and perform the big reveal.
Ta-da! There should be roots waiting for you. Not just at the bottom but all along the stem! Magic!
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How to Plant Rooted Mint Stems
After at least 3 or 4 roots have formed, it's time to move your rooted plants into fresh compost mixed in with potting soil and start growing your newly propagated plants. Use a dibber or a chopstick to make a large hole in your soil before gently placing your roots into their future home. (Try to avoid disturbing the fragile roots during this process.) Give each baby mint plant a couple inches of space.
Make sure to give your plants a nice watering in as a housewarming present, and set the container in indirect or filtered light while you baby these plants for the next couple of weeks—give them time to adjust to life in soil instead of water.
Keep your new mint plants inside until there's no threat of frost, and then move them to a semi-shaded area outdoors or a sunny windowsill. Water your container regularly, and you'll have mint all summer long. The best part is, you can keep taking cuttings from your new plants and propagating them all over again.
I recommend growing mint away from other plants (meaning not in your raised beds) because she doesn't always play nicely with others. You'll see the way her roots grow that she likes to take up lots of space and will elbow her way past whatever roots are in her way to get that space. That's why she does better in her own pot or container. (Learn more about growing herbs in a container garden.)
And there you have it!
Fresh new mint plants for your garden or windowsill are really that easy. I’m so excited for you to grow this delicious (and magically fragrant!) herb in your space and have that freshly harvested taste all year long.
Thanks so much for bringing back the kitchen garden with me!
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