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View Full Version : Cuttings of mint: prune before planting? When to plant?


emmaliminal
06-17-2008, 09:35 PM
Mods, I am a total neophyte in CS -- please shuttle this off to IMHO if appropriate.

So. I have two cutting-stalks of mint that came from a dear friend's garden, in a nice clear glass vase of water, and they're making rootlets. I wish to eventually grow these stalks in a suitably contained container of dirt (so they don't take over the county). It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to think that my friend and I have the same plants, so I hope not to kill them.

I don't have a lot of experience with mint and I have no experience growing things this far north (New England). I do have experience with other similar herbs, such as catnip, basil, thyme, etc., but down in Texas, and started by seed in dirt, not cuttings in water. There, I would routinely prune new shoots so as to make them branch out more and get all bushy instead of trying to rival bamboo, with much success.

The idea of herb-pruning as I understand it: the last leaf-cluster on the shoot makes a "I rock! You suck! Bow down before me! Quit now while you have the chance!" hormone which forces other leaflets below it on the stalk to not branch out; by trimming off the last leaf-cluster (or more) you give those lower-rung leaflets permission to go nuts.

Should I wait until I have my rootling stalks are all planted in dirt and comfy and secure before I prune them?

Also, how do I tell when they have enough root action to plant?

sinjin
06-18-2008, 12:19 AM
Hahahahahahahaah........mint. Just throw it out in the region you want it to grow and take over your garden. You don't have to do anything. You don't even have to plant it. And nothing you do in the future will ever get rid of it. :cool:

panache45
06-18-2008, 12:25 AM
The best way to guarantee a huge crop of mint is to try to kill it. Morning glories too.

Cub Mistress
06-18-2008, 07:08 AM
Just to be on the safe side, I'd plant the mint in dirt before pruning it. However, mint's will to live is so strong that you're unlikely to kill it if you prune it before planting. I put some mint in a hanging basket last season, and it sent a shoot all the way to the ground (4 feet or so) and rooted there. It was fascinating to watch.

How long are your rootlets? I just planted some basil cuttings when the rootlets were about 1/2 an inch long. They are doing fine, but I did take off most of the leaves when I planted them.

Hello Again
06-18-2008, 11:05 AM
Never plant mint loose in the garden! By all that is holy, grow it in a container! Mint proliferates like mad and is nigh impossible to eradicate. It chokes & kills other plants too.

MissMossie
06-18-2008, 11:08 AM
Hmmm...I was coming in to say that mint likes to pretend that its a weed. I'm glad that nobody has mentioned that yet.

Athena
06-18-2008, 11:10 AM
I can and do kill mint every year.

I plant it in a half-barrel on my deck in the spring. It never lasts through the winter.

I finally took the plunge this year and planted some in my backyard. I don't care if it takes over - all the more mojitos for me!

emmaliminal
06-18-2008, 11:45 AM
Several of you silly persons missed where I said this:...I wish to eventually grow these stalks in a suitably contained container of dirt (so they don't take over the county)...So all you menthaphobes out there can chill. :p

Cub Mistress, my rootlets are up to 3" long but are just strings with nubbins of side branchings. I guess I was expecting the nubbins to grow longer, but maybe I don't need to wait for that (if mint roots ever go branchy anyway, which maybe they don't).

Cub Mistress
06-18-2008, 12:03 PM
Several of you silly persons missed where I said this:So all you menthaphobes out there can chill. :p

Cub Mistress, my rootlets are up to 3" long but are just strings with nubbins of side branchings. I guess I was expecting the nubbins to grow longer, but maybe I don't need to wait for that (if mint roots ever go branchy anyway, which maybe they don't).

If you have 3 inch rootlets, go ahead and plant the mint. Just keep it a little shaded and quite moist while it gets acclimated to its new home. Then mulch with concrete blocks and stand back. I'm kidding about the concrete blocks (mostly.)

susan
06-18-2008, 12:05 PM
Plant one and see?

MissMossie
06-18-2008, 12:18 PM
So all you menthaphobes out there can chill. :p
Menthaphobes makes it sound like lots of mint is a bad thing. Just because it acts like a weed doesn't mean a mint covered yard (that *might* be a slight exaggeration) isn't thought fondly of. I'm of the same mind as Athena, more mint=more mojitos.

Ellen Cherry
06-18-2008, 12:26 PM
Ugh. The mint the former owners of my house planted is now taking over my LAWN. I found about four separate clumps of it at least 15 feet away from the original nest.

I mean, I like mint, I just don't want to live my life steeped in it. ;)

susan
06-18-2008, 01:13 PM
I have three kinds of mint planted in my yard. I pull them the hell up when I weed, which keeps the new stuff fresh and headed back. As long as it doesn't creep into the neighbor's yard, I don't really care. Now, those uncontrollable drifts of lemon balm that seeded out of its pot and took over my yard in New England are another matter.

lissener
06-18-2008, 02:02 PM
Sink a laundry tub in your ground, and then just wave a branch of mint over it. Then run.

Additional hint: the essential gardener's tool for a mint grower is the flamethrower.

Just as a general rule, treat mint the way you would kudzu or ebola.

phouka
06-18-2008, 02:09 PM
This past February, I planted two catnip and two lemon balm plants in my tiny 4'x16' plot in my church's community garden. Then I worried over them. Late frost! Bugs! Bunnies! Weeds!

Now I understand why my fellow gardeners would simply pat me on the head and smile. I cut that catnip back to 20% of its growth when it started to throttle the rosemary, lavender, and strawberries I put in. That was six weeks ago. It's fully recovered. And flowering. Which means seeds aren't far behind.

Right now, I'm thinking it and the lemon balm will be lucky if I pot them. Otherwise, I think I'll take off and nuke them from orbit.

Only way to be sure.