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Does Mint Trump Everything?

Posted by shaolin z5 NY (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 12, 06 at 11:05

Okay. Believe me, I'm not naive - I know what mint can do. The one patch I have is in the middle of my lawn where it can be controlled by the mower. But we just put in a new fence (4 foot picket in the front and 6 foot stockade in the back) and I have this HUUUUGE space in front of the stockade that's just crying out for a nice big bed and I started to imagine how good it would smell if there was a large patch of chocolate mint in part of it. So I thought, what if I planted a whole bed of thugs? Chocolate mint, gooseneck loosestrife, Six Hills Giant Nepeta, bee balm, obedient plant... Maybe a honeysuckle climbing the fence? Do you think the mint would still crowd everything out? I need suggestions from anyone who has ever actually, purposefully planted uncontained mint and ended up with a bed of more than just mint, and anyone who swears that they know of plants that could hold their own with mint. The area gets about 6 hours of afternoon sun, it's backed up by a stockade fence.

I'm also considering the idea of growing chocolate mint as a ground cover - putting a shrub border and underplanting with mint. Anyone tried that? Or how about a mint lawn?

This is cross posted to the perennials and cottage garden forums because I'm hoping for wide range of responses.

Thanks in advance!

-Maia


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

WHile mint will go anywhere with abandon, I haven't found that it really impedes the growth of anything.... just looks ugly poking up in the middle of some other plant. I go through these beds a couple times a year with the weedwacker and chop the mint down to the ground.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

If you're looking for thugs that can easily compete with mint and you don't might some height, valerian will grow 6 foot at the back of your fence and provide great white cut flower heads. So far this year, the feverfew at 3 foot is holding it's own against the spearmint that's growing around it. If you want mostly green with very small flowers, horseradish will way out compete mint once it gets going. I'll know soon enough if sorrel will stand up to it since the mint is heading that way.

Another thing you can do is play with the timing. My daffodils, tulips and violets are up and done before the mint gets going and the daylilies are tall enough by that time that the mint doesn't overrun them ... they weren't originally interplanted but the mint took a notion to wandering in that direction and they all seem happy.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I put chocolate mint in 2 years ago. Biggest mistake I ever made! While it smells SO good, it is SO hard to get rid of. Now, I will only plant in containers. The trade-off is well worth it to me.

Chris


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

Thanks for all the advice! Good to hear differing opinions. I'll let you guys know how it goes as I plant.

-Maia


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I LOVE mint and have several 18" containers with different varieties, chocolate being one of them. They can be as invasive as they want, 'cause I've got them contained! :-)

I have a lime mint plant in a very large pot that has grown very bushy and I can imagine if planted in the ground would become lush and fill an area. It's already lush and full as it is, and I love the way it looks.

Also, for a low ground cover, something nice is Corsican mint. Very bright green, tiny tiny leaves, ground moss like growth, dense and when walked upon releases the wonderful smell of mint. It need not be walked on, it's nice on its own. I have it planted around my lavendar. It's a nice backdrop to the purple.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

A thug garden sounds like a great idea. I squished so many things in a spot next to my house, the mint is actually receeding. It's got a juniper bush,mint, strawberries, daylillies and MANY MANY weeds, I am sorry to admit.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

PLEASE HELP!!! OK, NOW THAT I HAVE PLANTED AN UNCONTAINED MINT BED, HOW DO I GET RID OF IT?? ANY AND ALL SUGGESTIONS PLEASE, WOULD WELCOME ANY ORGANIC OR HOMEMADE FIXES TO MY DILEMMA. THANK YOU AND TAKE CARE


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I've discovered that overwatering mint kills it, or at least makes it go dormant for a year. Or that's what seemed to happen to me.

My mint is growing along with strawberries, nasturiums, spearmint, tulips, some unidentified blue wildflower-like thing, and two columbine plants (the last being an unexpected and not-very-wanted gift from a friend). It seems to be doing fine and so is everything else (I'm not so sure about the columbine, but I'm not familiar with their growing cycle).

If you plant a thug bed, make dang sure that you have a good barrier around **every** part of it to keep it contained. And it might be a good idea to consider what you'll have to do to get rid of it, if you change your mind a few years down the road.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I am letting several mints spread with abandon.

The chocolate mint looks weedy but I love the smell.
I adore the look of Curly mint mint but it is not spreading as well as I would like.

I have others but cannot remember their names. None of them has caused me any major problem but that is probably because I love them all and enjoy mowing over them.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

We bought a house years ago that once had a very large garden. Some mint was still growing in the grass down near the woods, in the shady area. It did not bother us, there was such a large yard. I gave off a great scent when mowed.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

The only other "Thug" that I can think of that will take over mint is Missouri Primrose. I started with one small start 3 years ago and it literally took over a whole garden. This spring I pulled out as much as I could and even used a pitch fork to pull up the roots. I'm sure it will return next year! But will keep it check from now on. The mint is making a wonderful comeback! Hooray!, because it's that time of year when I need mint for Teas and Mojitos and Jelly for grilled Lamb.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I have an interesting corner that could be described as a "thug garden," which is such a wonderful term. My hope was to create a wild raspberry patch. However, a volunteer mint has crept in, and the two are locked in a Darwinian life/death struggle, though neither seems to have the upper hand just yet.

Here's a link to a post where I have a photo of the mint. Gurly, does this look like your curley mint? That's my current best guess about what it is.

> http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/herbs/msg061409498282.html?6

--Jonathan


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I have done something with chocolate mint, heh heh. We are on what used to be a prairie, and we tend to burn things ... and we burned off the chocolate mint, and it took a long time to come back. It REALLY did not like being burnt off. It took like 3x as long to come back in a place where we *like* it, LOL.

So if you can burn and you want to, you can offend/hurt chocolate mint if you desire.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

We just moved into a house with a huge round bed in front. It is completely run over by grass & some sort of mint that is green on top of the leaf and purple underneath. What is it? Also, I saw the house last year and it had coneflowers in that same bed.. I have 3 different kinds of coneflower -type stalks, and can't tell which are weeds and which is the coneflowers? any suggestions?


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

  • Posted by lali z9, Sunset z18, CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 3, 09 at 2:31

busyb813,

I believe that "green on top of the leaf and purple underneath" mint is purple perilla (aka asian mint). I'm actually interested in planting it in my herb garden, but after all the stories of mint taking over, I think I'm going to leave it in a pot.

lali


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post a photo of the plant(s) in question for best identification help from us.

FataMorgana


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I actually planted chocolate mint on the hill behind my house last year. There was nothing but Ivy, fruit trees and ground cover around it and I didn't care if it spread. It did spread but as the Ivy and periwinkle took over the area, it almost choked out the mint. I had to go up there and remove the periwinkle and Ivy from around the mint to let what little is left of it survive.

It makes me think that maybe an invasive groundcover may be able to get rid of or at least control the mint, but the periwinkle seems much harder to get rid of. It must have self seeded from prior years cause it wasn't there when I moved in.

When the mint was spreading really well, it would give off a wonderful sent when the dogs ran through it up there. I really like having it, even if it does spread.

Ania


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I actually planted chocolate mint on the hill behind my house last year. There was nothing but Ivy, fruit trees and ground cover around it and I didn't care if it spread. It did spread but as the Ivy and periwinkle took over the area, it almost choked out the mint. I had to go up there and remove the periwinkle and Ivy from around the mint to let what little is left of it survive.

It makes me think that maybe an invasive groundcover may be able to get rid of or at least control the mint, but the periwinkle seems much harder to get rid of. It must have self seeded from prior years cause it wasn't there when I moved in.

When the mint was spreading really well, it would give off a wonderful sent when the dogs ran through it up there. I really like having it, even if it does spread.

Ania


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I have a dry-shade area under a Californian pepper tree that needs some growth. I've heard that mint can tolerate dry shade and i want to try it. The problem is, my dogs often run through the area to chase birds. Will the mint stand up to that as well or should I give up on planting anything there?


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

It might be OK if you water it while it is establishing itself. I tried some mint in dry shade without this simple precaution and it died out rather quickly. Just try a few plants to begin with. Possibly you could use some of the water-retentive substance they sell in garden shops to give it an initial boost.

Established mint should not be bothered that much by dogs running through it. It can be a fairly tough plant once it gets going.

As for things that trump mint, my vote is for Yellow Archangel. (It will also trump English ivy, in case anyone is interested.)


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I have 3 small dogs that run through my mint all day long. Not only that, but one of the dogs seems to like to have a nibble at it after he finishes his dinner every day. The mint is not bothered by it and mine is chocolate mint which is supposed to be a more sensitive variety.

Ania


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything? - and recipe question

Here's a lesson learned the hard way: do NOT try to get rid of mint by tilling. OY!!!!!

I read a mint/limeade recipe not too long ago that sounded really good. Now that the mint is up high enough to harvest, do you think I can find the stupid recipe?!? I remember that you steeped the mint and strained it then used the mint water with lime juice, but can't remember proportions, nor whether the sugar was boiled with the mint or stirred in with the lime juice. Anyone have a recipe?

Thanks
Edie


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

Ania: Thanks for the great advice. I'm going to get some cuttings and see if i can make them grow there.
I also appear to have a squirrel that moved into the neighborhood and i heard spearmint oil is good for keeping them away (he keeps eating my cucumber leaves) does anyone know if a spearmint plant will work in the same way?


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

ediej: is this the recipe you're looking for?

Here is a link that might be useful: Mint Limeade - MyRecipes.com


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I do a quickie version of mint limeade using limeade concentrate that I throw into the blender with a good, tall stalk of spearmint. Like no-alcohol mojitos. Love it.

Never used a recipe for lemonade or limeade, myself-- details like when to add the sugar don't seem to matter much. You just have to stir a little more if you add sugar instead of simple syrup. But if you make a simple syrup with the mint, you can store the extra in the fridge for a while.

Everyone has different tastes-- some like it sweeter or more sour, stronger or weaker. Just start with some of your juice and add a little of this and a little of that till it tastes good to you. It's hard to mess it up.

I have a massive crop of banana mint right now-- banana mint limeade, anyone?


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

If anyone wants to get rid of any spearmint, chocolate or banana mint I would gladly pay for postage! I love mints! :)


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

Growing a thug garden sounds like an interesting experiement. I'd love to see how that turns out!

I think it may be too hot and/or dry around here for mint to be very invasive. The only mint patches I see are in shady spots, spots around water spigots, etc.

I don't think I'd mind having a mint lawn at all, but I seriously doubt the mint could win against the Bermuda grass.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I love my spearmint patch.. friends (so far) enjoy the 'extras' I dig up and pass along. Can't believe I've never seen seeds for any of the other mints mentioned here.. especially chocolate.. nor any starts in any nurseries... Sorry for the dumb question.. where can I find seeds (or starter plants)?

My dog and I anxiously await your response!

Deb.


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

Chocolate mint cannot be grown from seeds. It is a type of peppermint, which is a sterile hybrid. Most mint seed offered by seed companies is spearmint-even those labeled as peppermint. Spearmint is extremely variable and when grown from seed is usually inferior to the named mints which have to be propagated asexually (from cuttings or division).

There are lots of mail order nurseries that sell mint. There are tons of posts on the herb forum dealing with growing mint-try searching the forum.

F. DeBaggio


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RE: Does Mint Trump Everything?

I have successfully grown mint close to a tall stockade-type fence in two different yards in this zone. The fence limits the hours of direct sun, thereby inhibiting the mint from spreading too much. As long as there is rain, the mint lives and grows without really taking over. Then again, I am not lawn proud, and if it spreads a bit into the lawn, the mower takes care of it along with the other invasive lawn plants. And the dog can run through it without doing much damage. Good luck with your mint venture!


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