mint vs. lavender on hillside

scoot_or_die(6b)June 5, 2010

I have a small hillside next to my house that is a PitA to take care of. It's too steep to mow, and I hate weed-eating it. Right now the hillside is covered in grass, and the soil is a pretty poor clay with quite a few rocks. My original plan was to plant mint, and let it go crazy and take over the grass (I know it is invasive, that's partially why I want it, and I don't care if it takes over the rest of my yard too). However, I also like lavender, and was wondering what would happen if I planted them both? Would the mint choke out the lavender?

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nancyanne_2010(Z 8 / WA)

If the lavender is fairly good sized and established, it should be fine. I would plant the lavender and let it grow a bit before introducing the mint. also depends on what mint(s) you grow - all are invasive although some varieties are more aggressive than others. You could use lemon balm or anise hyssop instead of the mint. Both self seed although don't spread as aggressively.

If it were me, I would plant an herb garden there and enjoy all sorts of different herbs that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 6:54PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

On that note, I'd suggest some native wildflowers for the hill and plant your herbs where you can use and enjoy them. For a wild area in PA, I'd probably suggest things like: goldenrod, asters, bee balm, coneflowers, lupines (the wild ones are in bloom here now), compass plant, black-eyed-susan, and more. These all put on a great show for you and the pollinators.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 9:50AM
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scoot_or_die(6b)

I live in a very urban area just outside Pittsburgh (actually, my borough is between two Pittsburgh neighborhoods). I already have dedicated herb, wildflower, and vegetable beds, so I am just looking for something that I can plant on the hill and ignore. The reason I want to use lavender and/or spearmint, is that I already have established plants that I can take cuttings from. Budget is a big issue, but my time and labor are free, so I just want to propagate the plants I already have. Plus, the hillside, though relatively small, isn't very accessible for me to go harvest any flowers or herbs on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 12:09PM
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nancyanne_2010(Z 8 / WA)

Mint and lavender would be fine - I would maker sure the lavender is established before introducing the spearmint. You could also plant some butterfly host plants and let the butterfly caterpillars eat them down and use it for a butterfly garden. Seeds wouldn't be too expensive for that

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 2:50PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Mint and lavender do not prefer the same conditions. I can't imagine this being an optimal place for both plants.

I suggested a wild flower area since it seemed like a good fit - a steep slope that you wanted to plant and leave alone and get some enjoy out of. If you get the right mix of wildflowers, you will have a nice visual show of blooms all season long. Butterflies too. As a rule you get the most enjoyment out of culinary herbs like these when they are closer to your living spaces and have good access to use or smell them.

By the way, seeds collected and saved throughout the summer and winter-sown is no more expensive than propagating cuttings. It is mostly just your time and labor.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 8:25AM
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sheila65(z9 Sacramento, CA)

I would not plant mint. It is far to aggressive. One year you will find it someplace far, far from where you originally planted it! If you plant lavender, I would go with English lavender. It stays more upright. Some of the French lavenders like Provence and Grosso need to be pruned so they don't open up. I saw Bee Balm and Black Eyed Susan mentioned. You might also consider Cone Flower. There are so many beautiful new colors, not just purple, nowadays! Since you already are prepared to do cuttings, why not mosey over to the seed/plant exchange and see if anyone wants to trade for some of the suggested plants?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 2:50PM
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brhgm(z8b LA)

Depends on your climate. Mountain Mint, an American native grows great in your soil conditions. Lavender will work fine as long as it doesn't get wet. Lavender rarely survives the wet winters here. If you want a low grower, thyme will work.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:54AM
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ABQ_Bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

I'd go for mint. I've never had/seen a lavender act even remotely aggressive. Other "aggressives" to consider in addition to the various mints, that should work in your situation:

Oregano - I've found it MUCH more aggressive than mint.

Creeping Thymes, though not too aggressive, they eventually spread pretty well and keep down weeds.

Daylilies - almost as bad as oregano.

Houseleeks/Hens-N-Chicks. Again, not terribly aggressive, but eventually form very tight mats that weeds cannot penatrate. And there's lots of different kinds to try.

Shasta Daisy. They stink, but they look nice, and will spread very aggressively.

Wormwood - some of these self-seed very aggressively and have very grey, fern-like foliage.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 7:14PM
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bwal44_verizon_net

I have 5 rows of lavender on a raised septic mound. The grass is just ruining it. I cannot keep up qwith the week=ding. Is there a ground cover I could use on the paths between the rows of lavender?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 8:23PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I think a groundcover may not be any friendly to your lavender than the grass and you will still have some weeding to do. Perhaps pea gravel over a very breathable landscape fabric may work better for you and be nice looking.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 10:25PM
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