mint question

imperfectly83(z5 PA)November 21, 2005

Hi there,

I'm a beginner so excuse the simplicity of this problem. I posted this on the propogation forum as well but no reply yet so I thought I'd try it here. My friend was kind enough to give me a cutting from her spearmint plant. I am trying to root it in water. I've been searching the forum for details and pretty much all i've come across is that mint is easy. This bodes well.

HOwever, being completely inexperienced, I want to check on how exactly to do this. Right now I've got the mint suspended in a jar of water, about 1 1/2 inches under the water, about 3 out of the water. It's only been a few days. There are six small but healthy-looking leaves on the cutting. I removed 2 closer to the water line. It's sitting in my south-east facing windowsill (where I also have parsley, aloe vera and garlic, all happily growing for a few months now). It's really cloudy around here, so it's hard to say how much sunlight it will get on average. I'm a little confused on that point too, since I've read some things saying that I should keep it out of direct sunlight, and some saying it absolutely needs to be in the light...

Is there anything else I need to do? Am I doing anything wrong? How long does it take to get roots? I've also read that when transplanting to soil I should keep it in the shade for a few weeks to help it transition.

Any advice would be much appreciated!!

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don't be afraid to ask newbie questions! :o) With mint... don't worry, it is so easy it'd root about anywhere. Though usually, the best would be indirect light, some shade, so that instead of putting it's energy into growing, it will put it's energy into rooting.
Now, I'd not put it out until spring, due to the fact that it, once rooted, will technically be a baby. Let it establish itself over winter in a sunny window, then gradually get it used to being outdoors when it has warmed up in spring.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 1:03PM
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Oh, ps, make sure a "joint" what I call where the leaves join the stem, is in the water... that's where the roots form in most plants.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 1:05PM
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imperfectly83(z5 PA)


I'll definitely keep the little mint inside overwinter. Just to clarify...when it grows roots should I put it in a pot with regular soil? Or leave it in the water? Or pot it with some other sort of material?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 4:28PM
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I've yet to see a horticultural textbook that actually recommends striking cuttings in water. It works with a lot of plants, but you usually end up with a weak plant because the cutting forms only the 'drinking' roots, not the 'eating' roots. When you transplant a water-struck cutting, it will often die because it hasn't got a good all-round set of roots, despite appearances, and it will go into a worse-than-usual transplant shock. Also, there is a very high risk of the stem simply rotting. So striking cuttings in soil (their natural growing medium) will give you better plants in the long term.

When taking a cutting, trim off the bottom sets of leaves, and chop off its head. For cuttings with larger leaves, chop the leaves all in half! The nodes where the leaves used to be are often the place where roots develop. You should always cut the stem on an angle - this gives more surface area for roots to develop, too. Then you should dip the cut end in some pure honey, or hormone rooting powder or gel, and put the cutting into soil, covering up those leaf nodes. Pat the soil gently around the cutting, water well, cover the cutting AND the pot with a makeshift tent of clear plastic, and leave in a fairly warm, well-lit place. Roots will develop in no time - well, a couple of weeks, anyway!

Don't be surprised if your cutting takes a long time to strike roots. Most plants become dormant in winter, and mint is one of them. You CAN mimic spring or summer conditions, and your cutting will respond, but it takes longer in winter for it to do so.

If you MUST use water for striking cuttings, make sure you change the water religiously every day.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 5:30PM
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I dunno Daisy... I am seeing more and more arguments about the "drinking" roots. I rooted a clerodendron in water, and left it there way too long, about a year ago, and it is doing fine in the ground. Personally, I like to root in perlite... but each to their own. I just figgered that mint is so easy, and for a beginner, not to confuse the issue, I can't see how mint will fail.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 9:16PM
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Oh yeah, there are plenty who would disagree with me! But you never, ever, see professional, commercial nurseries using the water method. You have to ask yourself why, don't you? If our new friend can get a plant started, whichever way s/he goes about it, we're all happy little vegemites, aren't we? The information we've all given is just a part of a learning curve for any beginner.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 9:56PM
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I've started a multitude of plants in water and have had good results when transplanting. I'm not a commercial grower and don't use their methods for a plant or two. The cutting in water routine doesn't work as well for woody stemmed plants, but will work great for mint. I also will put a bit of aluminum foil over the top of the glass the cutting is in, poke a hole in the foil and insert the plant into the water. This helps slow down evaporation of the water in the glass. Remove any leaves that fall below the water line, so rot doesn't occur. Once the roots have put on good growth, repot into soil. Then, once spring gets here, transplant into the garden. In the north, where you are, during winter, a southern facing window is fine for mint. You could also use an eastern facing window. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 7:31AM
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I have a friend who can stick cuttings in soil and they always root... for me, propagation is scary! :o) But I had great luck this year with salvias in perlite. I even tried this propagation gel... didn't work.... but I have gotten better at providing humidity, which is hard where I live... %15 humidity in the summer...
I took one of those liter bottles, cut it in half, put in drainage holes, and perlite, and rooted cuttings that way. that helps.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 11:20AM
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imperfectly83(z5 PA)

thanks for all the responses!

i'm not at all sure which way to try now...but have a lot of good sounding options to choose from. and whichever one i do, if it dies at least i know i have options next time :)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 12:40PM
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hi all .I started rooting mint cutting a week ago in water .I put a sprig of fresh mint in a cup of water and covered it with a transparent nylon bag to retain humidity and prevent direct sunlight as it is hot here in Egypt (up to 86 F )this days.when I checked the plant today i saw roots from almost all the nodes of the plant(submerged and not submerged parts ). What shall I do ?shall I remove leaves from all rooted nodes and bury it all or just bury the lower one or two nodes ?
another question : Is planting in peat moss only better or in sterilized garden soil as I don't have a lot of options regarding soil?

Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:10PM
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