Mint Containment

ripley141May 6, 2009

Hi, newbie gardener here. We moved to a home w a large veg/herb garden last summer. We now have a very manageable amount of mint. I want to transplant it into a container (with holes in the bottom) and bury the container in the garden to contain the mint before it invades.

What kind of container? Terra cotta?

How big a container?

Any tricks for digging up the mint roots and transplanting?

Will the mint survive the NJ winters if in a container buried in soil?

Thanks to all.

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leira(6 MA)

I did exactly this with my peppermint last year, and it worked quite well. However, I'm very glad that I dug it up sometime mid-season and re-potted it into a larger pot, because I think it was about to escape.

Last year I used a plastic pot, and it was fine. I suspect that a terra cotta pot might be better, however, so this Spring when I split the mint, I put half of it into a plastic pot, and half into terra cotta, and we'll see.

The size depends on how big your mint is now, and how much mint you want. It *will* spread during the season, and once it fills the pot, it will probably find a way to escape. Keep an eye on it.

You don't exactly need to be careful with transplanting mint, so I'd say just go for it, and even be harsh if you need to. It will almost certainly survive. If you have a good amount of mint now, you might consider potting up some and passing it off to a friend or a plant swap, since you'll have a lot more mint at the end of the season than you have now.

Mint will definitely survive a NJ Winter. Mine does fine here in MA, and I suspect your Winters are milder than ours are. It may die down completely and re-sprout from runners in the Spring, but it should come back. Mint is very, very hard to kill.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 12:08PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

If you go back to the title page for this forum and look at the bottom of the page there is a search utility. There are many-MANY threads on mint. According to some, this terrorist can escape nearly any prison and can survive virtually any attempts to kill it. (I joke. I like mint and planted it myself sans containment.)

Go for. Try to contain it. I doubt you'll kill it. It will fill any size pot you put it in. I would not, however, use terra cotta. Terra cotta does not winter well. It will crack and fall apart pretty rapidly. I'd go for a sturdy, flexible plastic pot for the longest survival north of the frost-line.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 4:14PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

In a former garden, I attempted to contain my mint by digging in vertical barriers 1 metre deep into the soil. ie a large bottomless pot of sorts. I made sure to keep it cut back so it wouldn't escape over the top.

It travelled underground across an expanse of lawn, under a paved area, and under a driveway wide enough for 2 cars, and appeared in my neighbour's yard beyond.

So much for the bottomless pot idea!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 5:21PM
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joannaw

I put my banana mint in a used plastic baby pool with holes poke din the bottom. It gives it room to spread and get big, but will hopefully stay contained-ish for a while. It's only been there a year, no escape yet. Might try plastic storage bins, too. Pots always seem too small to me if you want a healthy quantity of mint. (But I REALLY like mint!)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 7:29PM
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eibren(z6PA)

I picked up a large, stainless steel tub with a circular hole in the bottom about 12" wide at an auction some time ago for a pittance, and used that one summer to grow pineapple sage. The roots from that plant filled the entire tub, which is circular and roughly two feet in diameter, by the end of the summer. Mint can do the same thing.

Anyway, my point is, sometimes you can find really good containers for mints or other plants in odd places if you keep your eyes open. I still don't know what my tub was origionally; maybe some kind of kitchen or manufacturing equipment.

I suppose if you bricked up the bottom of something like that, you could get drainage and still have some containment.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 12:17AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

One of those big Tree/shrubs pots that are thrown away after planting a tree/shrub.

DO not fill the pot all the way, leave aboy 3-4 inches empty and same amount not buried. This will minimis the scaping chances of the prisoner. hehe

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 12:33AM
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edible

I wouldn't plant mint in my garden in any kind of container. It will not only grow over the top, but the roots will grow through the small drain hole on the bottom and it will be everywhere. I bought a large patio pot and keep it in there on the pavers and have successfully contained it in my garden, out front where I planted it 20 years ago - that is another story. Round up doesn't even get rid of it.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 8:59PM
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catman529(6b)

This year is my first time growing mint:


Peppermint in a ~6" deep container


Chocolate mint in a 5 gallon pot ~1.5 foot deep

I have a 3rd variety of peppermint that I will keep in an above-ground container this year.

At the end of the year, I'll probably unbury and divide the two sunken-container mints to keep them from escaping.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 10:11AM
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sweetmelon(7b Atl GA)

You guys scare me with your descriptions. I think our neighbors just planted mint right next to our garden. If even Roundup doesn't help, then what does? What about Roundup + a foot of mulch like wood chips? I mean, I like mint and will gladly make tea and put it in stews and such, but I need the other things to be able to grow too!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 2:45PM
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catman529(6b)

I got about 90% of the bermuda grass out of my garden. I pick out new shoots that emerge as soon as I see them.

You can probably do the same with mint - keep cutting, pulling, uprooting it before it invades your garden. Left unchecked, it will take over. A bamboo barrier might help, but I've heard horror stories of mint making long underground journeys, like creeping under an entire 2-car driveway.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 5:19PM
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shapiro(5a Ontario)

I just finished doing exactly what "Catman" above demonstrates in photos. We have a small bed near our kitchen for quick picking for the pot. I wanted spearmint there so planted it in a big black plastic pot with the bottom removed. Ripley, hope this works for you! Another alternative is to plant the mint in an area where it won't bother anything else. We put our big patch near the outdoor tap - it gets lots of extra water that way. But it is not in the way of our other plants.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 6:43PM
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granite(z6 NC)

I don't recommend the terra cotta pot in the ground, during the winter the cold will crack and splinter the clay and then the mint will escape.

I use very large plastic pots and leave the bottom IN. I let a few inches of the pot stick up above the ground to help prevent runners...you still have to watch carefully or they will run over the top and escape.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 9:47AM
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eibren(z6PA)

That's beautiful, Granite!

My garden is more a "survival of the fittest" type.

That looks really tranquil and well-behaved.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 3:58PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

"In a former garden, I attempted to contain my mint by digging in vertical barriers 1 metre deep into the soil. ie a large bottomless pot of sorts. I made sure to keep it cut back so it wouldn't escape over the top.
It travelled underground across an expanse of lawn, under a paved area, and under a driveway wide enough for 2 cars, and appeared in my neighbour's yard beyond.

So much for the bottomless pot idea! "

Wow...that's awesome, in a funny weird kind of way...lol! ;-)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 12:32PM
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irshmai(7)

I was thinking of burying an old utility sink (legs removed) and replanting my mint in that. I won't completely bury the sink and try to keep it trimmed. There is a hole in the bottom of the sink where the drain once was that will be useful for drainage, but I am afraid of the mint propagating through the hole. Is there a way I could cover it with a screen material? How small must the holes be so that mint cannot get through? what adhesive should I use?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 8:54PM
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leira(6 MA)

irshmai, I would worry that a single drain hole in the center, like in a sink, might not be enough drainage for a planter. Is the sink made out of a material that would let you drill more holes in it?

I'm guessing that screen would do the trick for you, but I haven't tried it myself. Thus far, I've been taking the approach of re-potting my mint now & again before it can escape through the drain holes.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 10:57AM
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