I probably should have done this a few weeks ago, when the spring weather, but I finally got around to pruning my two mint plants.
I have two mint plants growing in pots, a heirloom mint and one that is more of a spearmint, and since I got them in May, they have exploded with growth.
Why is it necessary to prune mint plants you ask? Well there are a few reasons. For one, pruning mint encourages bushy growth, rather than a lot of stems. It also stops the mint from going to seed and prolongs the leaf growing season. Another reason to prune mint is to remove the dead woody stems which develop over time as some parts of the plant die off and others form shoots.
When growing mint in a pot pruning can also serve another purpose. Mint is quite a prolific and invasive plant, spreading by putting out runners to start new plants and shooting from the main plant. To accomplish this feat, mint plants have a pretty epic root system, which means that they can become pot bound and unhappy quite quickly. By pruning the mint, you can divert its energy into regrowing the main plant rather than root development. This can increase the amount of time you can leave your mint in a pot, but it will still need repotting eventually.
I had one more reason for pruning my mint which you can see in the photo below.
In this pot, there is something that doesn’t belong. An invader. With a really strong root system! Pruning the mint back allowed me to remove the weed roots and all.
When it comes to actually pruning the mint, my technique can be described in three words: hack it off. I pruned both plants right back to ground level.
This may seem a bit extreme, but I can almost guarantee, with just a tiny bit of hope that the plant will regrow better than new! Pruning in this fashion also gives me a really good selection of cuttings to propagate new mint plants with, but I’ll post about that later.
Once you’ve cut back your mint, you are will probably have way more than you can use before it spoils in the fridge, even if you do use some fir propagation. What to do with all of this left ofer mint? Freeze it of course!
I’m reading My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.