Keeping Landscaping Mint Plants CONTAINED!

by Texas Homesteader ~

I love mint but although others have always warned me that it was invasive, I’ve never been able to get it to grow.  I’ve planted various kinds of mint over the years but none of them last over a few months.  Than my aunt shared her mint with me. I carefully planted it in an area of our landscaping that was notoriously hard to get anything to grow due to the fact that it faced west. The brutal Texas heat makes all but the scrappiest of plants succumb in this location. But c’mon, its mint – surely it will grow!  So I planted it and watched as it grew beautifully.

Keeping Mint Plants Contained In Landscaping - Come See How We're Enjoying Fresh Mint Without Worrying About It Going Wild in the beds. #TexasHomesteader

I loved the vibrant green growth even during the brutal heat of our typical Texas summer.  And it flowered all season long!  After it was established I never watered or fussed with it at all, yet it grew.   I used the leaves to make mint extract and a homemade minty toothpaste.  I used it to make a healthier mint chocolate chip ice cream alternative using frozen bananas.  And harvested, washed and steeped fresh leaves for mint tea were delightful when the weather turned cold. I absolutely loved it.

Mint Growers Beware!

But I was also nervous…  Although I’d planted mint several times before only to have it die, this mint was scrappy indeed!  Although I loved it, I’d heard horror stories about mint gone wild in flower beds.  So I put out an earnest plea to our TxH Facebook followers asking for advice:

Plant lovers – I need your help! Apparently when we built our home we planted it in the valley of death – I struggle to get any landscaping to live. The struggle is REAL, y’all! I’ve even boldly planted invasive mint over & over again just to have it succumb after a few weeks. I got tired of buying it repeatedly just to have it die so I asked family members to share & my aunt shared several tiny spouts of some very vigorously-growing mint.

I plunked ’em into a section of our ‘flower bed’ that is traditionally very rough since it faces the hot west and is backed by a rock surface of our home. But they did GREAT and I’ve enjoyed them immensely. Now that they’re established I need some hints on keeping them corralled in this one triangle-shaped area of our beds. They are bordered by the sidewalk on one side, a rock drain feature on one side (which they could grow under) and metal bed edging on the other side (which they could also grow under). So two of the three sides need some sort of barrier to them. Suggestions?

Elle Mental said: Good luck with that… about the only way I know how to keep mint contained is in a hanging basket, hung 6 feet off the ground. We have a mint bed, it started out as a herb bed, but we all know what happened to the rest of the herbs… now that it has escaped the confines of the bed and is in the grass we just keep it mowed with the rest of the grass. That seems to keep it from spreading with as much enthusiasm

Kathryn said: If you want to keep mints in their flower beds, you need a garden fence with deep runners around them. Dig a trench around the mint and either (1) fill with cement or (2) fill with bricks/gravel and line with plastic garden liner. I cannot say how deep, because i don’t know what mint you have got there. They send out underground runners, so even this is no guarantee.

Jerry said: Corralled,,,CORRALLED!!!! Are we talking mint here? NO WAY!!!…Roundup is the only deterrent and it doesn’t always work. Might try gasoline and a match!!! Around here it’s more robust than crabgrass…

Formatting A Plan To Contain The Mint

OK, consider me officially nervous.  I love my mint but I must make it play nice!  One of my least favorite chores ever is weeding.  I mean it now, I’d rather scrub toilets or clean hair out of the drain  Every.  Stinkin’.  Day.  than to be tasked with pulling weeds.  So the work I do now will be important later.

We decided to buy a 36-inch galvanized fire ring that was 18 inches deep, we buried all but about 3 inches of its depth.  Then we poured several bags of gravel along the bottom and sides and added back in the crappy clay soil we had previously dug out. I’ve heard that if you give robust mint plants less desirable soil they’ll still grow of course but have some of the wind let out of their sails.  So I didn’t amend the soil at all.  Then I replanted a few of the reserved sprigs and waited…

Keeping Mint Plants Contained In Landscaping - Come See How We're Enjoying Fresh Mint Without Worrying About It Going Wild in the beds. #TexasHomesteader

Prettifying The Mint Planting With Mulch

I left the area around the ring bare for a while so I could see and remove any mint sprigs that attempted to come back from missed roots.  Then I topped the soil with the heavy paper from a few empty cattle feed sacks and finally topped that paper with bark mulch I got for FREE from our county.

Soon the mint will fill in completely within this ring and I think it adds visual interest to the bed. The mint obviously grows effortlessly, blooms prolifically for the pollinators and looks just lovely!  (And now, contained)

Keeping Mint Plants Contained In Landscaping - Come See How We're Enjoying Fresh Mint Without Worrying About It Going Wild in the beds. #TexasHomesteader

~TxH~

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36 thoughts on “Keeping Landscaping Mint Plants CONTAINED!

  1. Mrs Shoes

    That looks darned pretty! I surely hope it works. I have only grown mint in containers, for the same concerns. It is such a lovely smell to have around though, that I can’t not have any.

    Reply
  2. ColleenB.

    Looks like your mint is thriving; mine as well. The 1st or 2nd year that I planted mint I had made / canned some mint jelly. Don’t know how you feel about people adding links but here are 21 ordinary ways on using mint. http://www.naturallivingideas.com/21-ways-to-use-mint/ . Some I knew and some where new to me. Have a great weekend Tammy We hope to start on my 16×24 ‘she’ shed soon :}

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Ugh, I was so afraid of that Justin. I just trimmed the mint back to make sure it didn’t lean over & root into the surrounding area – I really like the way it looks trimmed since the metal ring shows better. I chopped up the trimmings & tossed them into the hens nesting boxes so even then nothing gets wasted! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Janet Vinyard

    Interesting post with great ideas from author and readers! My peppermint is struggling this year because we’ve had so many 90+ days in a row this summer. My oregano has given up the ghost but my basil and lemon thyme are thriving. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Janet

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      My mint has always died Janet, which is why I asked my family for starts of theirs – I was tired of buying it over & over again just to have it die. This spearmint given to me by my aunt is very vigorous! I don’t water it no matter what the weather and it’s just happy to grow and bloom all summer long. The bees love it! ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Vickie

    I have some spearmint in a pot right next to our beehives. The bees absolutely maul the plant when it is in full bloom! I’m going to harvest some of them mint later after it finishes blooming for some winter tea. I just adore hot mint tea when I have the sniffles!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      That’s so interesting Vickie, my wheels are turning on how to get some mint out there by our hives and be able to trim the longer stems from time to time to keep the mint from getting loose in the pasture! Ours is always covered with the big yellow/black bumble bees but I’ve never seen our girls on it – guess they can’t compete with the big guys. Thinking cap: ON! ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Beth C

    That is just beautiful! I love the look you have there! I wish I could give you some of my trailing daisy. It spreads but isn’t quite as invasive as mint. 😉

    Reply
  6. Sandra

    The galvanized ring is a great idea for containing the mint ‘ s root system however there are seeds to consider too. In fact Lemon Balm mostly spreads by seed. The key is not to let them go to flower, hence produce seed heads. Take it from one who let her Lemon Balm flower. (Lol) Sandra

    Reply
  7. Charlene Dryman

    I wish catnip would grow as profusely as mint. Mine won’t even sprout. I would love to have a yard full of nothing but lavender, but they say it won’t grow here either. zone 9a, by Galveston, Tx

    Reply
  8. Emily

    I have always kept my mint in containers because I’m afraid it’ll take over my whole yard if I put it in a bed! You are brave 😉 But I think your galvanized ring solution is a great idea! Thanks for linking up with Merry Monday last week.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m hopeful this will give me the best of both worlds – beautiful mint with a decorative touch in my beds without extra weeding, etc. Fingers crossed! ~TMH~

      Reply
  9. Therese Bizabishaka

    I haven’t grown mint yet but when I do will put it in a pot. My oregano was very invasive and was very hard to get out of the garden bed.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I was excited to get my oregano started and it grew beautifully for almost two years, but another gripping drought killed it out. I planted more seeds this year – fingers crossed! ~TMH~

      Reply
  10. Katie

    So funny – I love having mint too but MAN is it invasive! I was thinking about just putting a small pot of it on my deck. Thanks for sharing this idea, good one! Found you at #homematters link party!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      This arrangement looks great in my landscaping Katie, and the mint has already rebounded and filled out the container. I’ll be harvesting my first of the year very soon – I absolutely love mint! ~TMH~

      Reply
  11. Sue

    My husband had an old cattle self watering tank that I claimed and painted and planted my mint in it.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      So glad you stopped by, Kate. I’m hopeful this technique will work, and I love the way it looks. I’ve had to dig out rogue mint starts from roots I apparently left when I dug it all up, but it’s certainly been manageable. I love my mint, and I look forward to harvesting lots of it very soon. ~TMH~

      Reply
  12. ColleenB.~Texas

    I keep my contained by planting mine in large container. Mint, like Lemon Balm spreads big time and have made a mistake by planting lemon balm in the ground and I thought I never would get rid of it. Even tho lemon balm doesn’t spread by runners under ground the way mint does it will spread and take over Everything. keeping lemon balm in tact from taking up too much of your garden, cut the plant back to a few inches tall several times during the growing season. This will keep the plant bushy and healthy-looking while preventing seeds from ripening. If you have a barrier that is buried 18-24inches, the mint will laugh at any barrier less than that — and it may leap over or tunnel under anyway. Growing mint in containers is probably the best way to keep these plants under control. ( Didn’t know if you excepted links here so sending you a link on planting mint in container and then bury it in the ground)

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Not sure where my reply to your comment went the other day Colleen, but I see it’s not listed here. Hummm… Just wanted to let you know that I did get your other link – thanks for sending. I’ve read before that it’s possible to contain mint in an open-bottom container like the one I used as long as it’s deeply buried and there’s still an exposed ridge around the top, fingers crossed that it works well since I really like the way this setup looks. Thanks for sharing the link and for your comment! ~TMH~

      Reply
      1. ColleenB.~Texas

        Wishing you all the best on your mint. Keep us informed on how your technique works. Enjoy your week and wishing you and all mother’s out there a very Happy Mother’s Day come Sunday

        Reply
  13. Linda

    Congratulations! That is pretty much the only way I have read to contain mint, is basically a container – which is what you sort of made there. Have a blessed weekend!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m still a little nervous Linda, because some have said that even this is no guarantee that the vigorous roots won’t grow down & out, but I’m hopeful… ~TMH~

      Reply

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