Tip for Growing Mint in Containers

Posted on Apr 12 2011 - 2:03am by Mike Lieberman

Mint is a pretty invasive plant. Just ask anyone who has ever grown it in their garden. It can take over pretty quickly. This is why most people recommend growing it solely in containers.

I’ve had my mint plant for a few months now. The leaves have remained pretty small. It’s not until I started my garden from scratch that I began paying more attention to it.

The roots of the plant have been spreading all through the container and without much room to grow. Since the soil line is about 2-3″ below the top of the container, they were growing within the container and not out of it.

I started to pull some of the roots out of the container and drape them over the side. In less than a week the mint plant started to produce bigger leaves.

When you plant mint in containers, I’d recommend keeping the soil line closer to the top of the container to allow it to grow or make sure that you place the newer roots over the lip of the container.

What other tips for growing mint in containers do you have?


  • http://wannabelocavore.wordpress.com Jecka

    I have no tips… however, I’m glad that I saw this post because I keep forgetting to start growing mint! Ah! I hope yours continue to grow larger leaves!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Mike-
    It’s Rhonda from Growing Herbs here!
    Mint family members will ‘strangle’ themselves in containers if they aren’t re-potted regularly into larger pots, or at least root pruned and re-potted. To get nice fat leaves again, you’ll probably want to pull the plant out of the pot, tease, pull or cut apart the roots and re-plant. You can safely take 1/3 off the roots and have the plant do beautifully.
    Clip back the top of the plant to encourage new growth, and all those extra root runners that you are draping over the pot can be planted to start more plants…then you can share with your neighbors!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Stop commenting and get on it πŸ˜‰

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for the tips. Don’t have any larger containers though. Hm…

  • Mavis

    I wish someone would of told me mint spreads… It has over taken an entire raised garden bed… Now I’m only left with 16 …

  • Anonymous

    Sorry! Guess I didn’t phrase that well- you can just loosen and cut back the
    roots and then put it back in the same tub :)

  • http://urbansacredgarden.com Jes

    Thanks for the tips Mike, I just potted some mint and this is good to know!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Ahh makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    At least you’ll have plenty of mint πŸ˜‰

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I wrote this with you in mind πŸ˜‰

  • Aliceannlincoln

    For mint, my best results for peppermint were in a wire hanging ball – Plant the mint into the top, and as it “runs”, poke the stemm into the ball all around. Once the ball is covered nicely, let it hang as vines. Just remember to clip it – a lot! I kept it at about 2 to 6 inches long, and had it for a couple of years (repot each year in freash soil; watered via an inserted glass watering ball). Someone stole it the third year.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I like it. The soil was contained within the wires?

  • Oemissions

    it’s not really the root you are draping over, right?
    it’s the stem you are draping over
    when u say pull up some of the roots, it sounds weird
    like pull up the roots usually makes one thing pull out the roots

  • Katherinekelley

    To keep mint with your other herbs in a bed and make it play nice, sink a container into the ground (but leave a bit of the lip above ground to prevent it hopping ship) and plant within the container. It helps to keep it corralled so it doesn’t choke out your other plants.

  • http://profiles.google.com/yestocharisse Charisse Ramos

    Great tip Mike! I must say that I’ve been a long-time reader and that you made me feel pretty darn good about growing a lil garden of my own! πŸ˜€

    Also thought you might be interested to know that I was stopping by Whole Foods today and they’re teaming up with Yes to Carrots by giving away grants to help schools build gardens! woohoooo for more gardens!

  • http://www.eattheyard.com Eattheyard

    When it starts to look a little mangy in a few months, trim it all back to the ground and it comes back like new.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    One day when I have land, I will certainly do that. Like it. Appreciate the tip.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Glad that you started to grow your own. What you growin these days?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Don’t ever call my mint mangy again…hahhaa. Will certainly do that. Appreciate the tip.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • SoftSoap

    Thanks for the warning. I just planed mint in the same container with Lavender and now I think I’ll move it before they start fighting with each other :).

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Glad I could be of help.

  • http://profiles.google.com/yestocharisse Charisse Ramos

    Yikes late on this reply! I’m trying my hand at tomatoes… (crossing fingers) and I’ve been maintaining my herb garden (mostly basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley and hopefully lavender soon!)

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Keep me updated.

  • Kitkat

    I’ve seen the roots break terra cotta and glazed pots, so use heavy duty plastic and (if your container is on the ground) ALWAYS have a saucer under the container since the roots will go thru the drainage holes and into the lawn!! Also, be prepared for bunnies to use it for nesting and to eat, so be prepared to share :) which is ok, because it does grow back (and then some!!)

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for the tips. The roots are growing into another container, so all good.

  • http://twitter.com/FrSeed2Stomach Andrea Dierna

    I heard about mint taking over in garden beds, so planted mine in a terra cotta pot last year. It needed CONSTANT watering and eventually the roots caused the container to crack. I’ve got 2 kinds of mint started this year, put them both in plastic pots this time. Thanks for the tips on the roots. I’ll plan to uproot and prune them back or re-pot in a larger pot. Need an idea for all that mint? Look up the southside cocktail recipe. Fresh muddled mint, gin, simple syrup, and lime juice. So refreshing for a mid-summer night!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Hahhaa. Nice! What kinds of mint you got growing?