how to grow mint from cuttings

How to Grow Mint From Cuttings [Growing Mint in Pots]

Mint is a fabulous herb to have in your garden.  Mint is versatile and hardy.  We love mint on fresh new potatoes, in a gorgeous cup of hot mint tea or a decadent homemade mint and dark chocolate ice cream.  Mint is one of those herbs that if you grow it at home yourself you’ll use more and more of it.  And Mint is incredibly easy to grow.  There’s no need to go to the time and hassle of growing it from seed (although you can seriously extend your mint variety repertoire if you do), but for simplicity, speed and to save money, we’ve found that its easiest to grow mint from cuttings.  We’ll share how to take mint cuttings, how to propagate mint from cuttings, how to plant mint cuttings, and the all important how long it takes to grow mint from cuttings.


Why Grow Mint from Cuttings

Mint is one of those herbs that is seriously easy to grow.  And it’s also hard to kill.  It’s one of the quickest and easiest herbs to grow from cuttings. Opting to grow mint from cuttings rather than from seed it one of our hacks on growing herbs and vegetables quickly.  We firmly believe that if you can get quick success with your herb and vegetable growing then it will motivate you to do more, so we’re all about quick, easy and effective, while not spending a fortune. 

Many people grow mint, so its relatively easy to find someone you can take a cutting from.  If not, why not pick up a cheap mint plant from the supermarket, pot it and when its established take a cutting.  Or try rooting from some cut mint that you buy.

How to Grow Mint from a Cutting

When you start in growing mint from cuttings the first thing that you need to do is take the cutting.  There are two ways in which you can do this:

  • Taking a cutting of the mint stems
  • Taking a cutting of the mint roots

The most common and easiest way to grow mint from cuttings is by taking mint cuttings from the mint stems.  This is best done in the spring, but I’m writing this in November and its only two weeks since I took a cutting that is currently rooting in a glass of water in the windowsill of my kitchen.  (it’s sitting alongside the basil that I’ve grown from cuttings too)  The window sill sadly doesn’t get direct sunlight, but it is warm and there is good airflow.

mint roots in water

Once you’ve taken a cutting you can choose to root your mint cutting in either water or soil. We’ll cover how to do both further on.

How to Take Cuttings from Mint

Whether you’re going to root your mint in water or soil the method of taking the cutting from the mint stems is the same.

  1. Cut the mint stem just below where a leaf grows on the mint plant. This is known as a node. 
  2. Remove ALL apart from the top leaves. (You want this cut part of the plant to focus only on growing roots not on keeping unnecessary leaves alive!)
  3. Prepare your water or soil as below

How to Prepare Mint Cuttings for Propagation

Selecting the right stems for propagation and rooting is key when it comes to mint.  You need to go for a healthy young stem, not a woody one.

If you have a choice between a stem that has damaged or diseased leaves, always go for the healthiest looking leaf and stem combination to give you new plant the best start in life.  You’ll want to remove any diseased or damaged leaves and stems from the plant at the same time.

grown mint from cuttings

Can’t find any mint for cuttings?  Buy mint seeds instead

If you can’t get your hands on a mint plant to take a cutting from, then this is a great opportunity to try growing different varieties heres some of our favourite mint seed varieties to try.

How to Root Mint Cuttings

When it comes to strting mint from cuttings there are two ways of rooting mint cuttings. You can root your mint in water, or you can root your mint cutting directly into soil or compost. We’ll explain below

How to Root Mint in Water

  1. Fill a jar or glass with 5-10 centimetres of water and place in an area out of direct sunlight.
  2. Place your mint stem cutting in here and leave it.
  3. You can put multiple stems in the same glass, but be aware that there is potential when it starts rooting that the roots will mesh together. Separating them can cause damage to the newly forming rootball.
  4. Top up the water if needed, if the water starts to go cloudy then replace it. (I rarely replace the water)
  5. Roots will start to appear in about one week.
  6. Usually, I leave the rooting mint for about 14-18 days so that it grows a decent root growth before planting it. The better and more developed the root system, the better chance the new mint plant has of success.
  7. Plant in a small pot, with some room for growth, in soil or compost that’s moist.
  8. Repot when the mint plant starts to grow.

How to Root Mint in Soil or Compost

When it comes to growing mint from cuttings in soil the process is quite similar.

  1. Take a few of your mint cuttings and place into a small pot.
  2. The soil or compost should be moist and in good condition. For this reason, I’d always try and use some new compost to give the mint the best possible start in life (read my guide to the best compost for vegetables here). 
  3. Keep the newly planted mint plants out of direct sunlight but in a warm area for 10 days or so until it starts to adjust to the compost. As you visibly see it grow then you can replant in a larger pot.

Keep the soil moist especially when the plant is young, but do NOT water it too much.  Soggy soil can lead to fungus gnats.  Once the plant is established, if you’re keeping it in a pot and inside, water from the bottom (i.e. stand it in a tray), then the roots will only draw up what they need and your soil won’t go soggy and you’ll hopefully keep the gnats at bay!

Care of Mint While Your Mint is Rooting

While your mint is growing those roots you’ll want to keep an eye on it – make sure that there is enough water, but that the leaves at the top that you’ve left on do NOT go into the water (as they will potentially rot).  If the water starts to turn cloudy, then replace it.  Keep the glass or jar with your rooting mint in a warm place, but out of direct sunlight.  Keep a good airflow.

How to Plant Mint from Cuttings

PLanting mint cuttings is easy. You can plant mint directly from cuttings – make sure it’s a decent fresh compost (so there are no nasties left in it from whatever might have been planted in there in the past) and be sure to follow the direction about where to best locate your mint plant for the best results.

If you’re rooting your mint cutting in water before planting make sure that you’ve got a decent root before planting it in a small pot with compost. We prefer to root out mint in water first, to get a good root structure going.

grown mint from cuttings

Taking a Root Cutting of Mint

If you’re taking cuttings of mint in the autumn then you’ll need to follow this process

  1. Expose the thicker roots around the edge of the plant.
  2. Cut off long pieces for cuttings.
  3. Cut these long thicker parts of the roots into a length of 3-4 centimetres long
  4. Fill either a plant pot or a seed tray with half compost and half grit (you want good drainage of this) and lie your root cuttings in it. Cover with compost and water.

FAQs on Growing Mint from Cuttings

Got questions about growing mint from cuttings? Or want to know how to grow mint from cuttings and we haven’t answered your questions?  Check out our frequently asked questions about growing mint below, or ask us yours in the comments.

What’s the easiest way to grow mint?

The quickest and easiest way to grow mint is by taking a cutting from a good, established healthy plant. 

Can I grow mint from a cutting?

Yes. Mint is one of the easiest herbs to propagate from cuttings.  It’s quick – you’ll see new roots from about a week after cutting.

Can I grow mint from seed?

Yes.  Mint can be grown easily from seed.  If you’re specific about the type of mint that you want to grow (and there are lots), then you might want to grow it from seed.  Mint takes 10-15 days to germinate from seed.  Perhaps another 14 days to grow large enough to repot into a small pot and then your growing conditions will dictate how long it will be before you can harvest the mint leaves.

What’s the best type of mint to grow?

The answer to this is that it depends.  If you’re starting with nothing, I’d say that the best type of mint to grow is that which you can get a cutting from, so you might be a little limited.  Peppermint and Spearmint are the most common varieties of mint to grow.    Then there’s chocolate mint, pennyroyal, ginger mint, apple mint.  I could do on, but I’m not going to.  Start simple and then once you’ve had success, expand out.  For the mint connoisseurs, here’s more on the different types of mint to grow

What’s the best place to plant mint?

Mint tends to be a very vigorous herb.  It takes over wherever you plant it, that’s why we always recommend that you grow your mint in pots – unless you’ve got a specific area of the garden where you don’t mind it taking over.     We ALWAYS plant our mint in pots – it makes it easier to control and its easier to take with us too!

Equally, if you’re growing different varieties of mint, then its best to keep the segregated.   They will, otherwise, mix and you’ll end up with a mixed flavour. Want to grow other herbs in pots? Try coriander and basil

What is rooting mint?

Rooting mint is the process that mint stems go through to generate new roots and become a new plant.  You can root mint in either water or compost.

How long does mint take to root?

It takes 10-14 days to root mint. 

Why are my mint cuttings not rooting?

If your mint cuttings are not rooting then there are a few things to look at.

  • Is the cutting getting enough water?
  • Your mint will need light, but direct sunlight might be too strong for it
  • If you have rooted your mint cutting in soil have you waterlogged your soil?
  • Is the soil old without much to give your mint?
  • Have you given it enough time? You can wait up to 2 weeks to see roots start to form – its normally a lot quicker than this, but don’t give up too early!

How long does mint take to grow?

From seed to maturity, mint can take around 90 days. If you’re growing mint from a cutting then this is shortened, but you’ll want to allow the time for the mint to gain some maturity before cropping it.

When should I take mint cuttings?

Growing mint from cuttings works best by taking the stem cuttings from fresh growth – and spring and early summer is always the best time for fresh growth.  If you are planning on taking cuttings in the autumn you can also take root cuttings.

Can I use tap water to root my mint?

Yes.  We generally use tap water to root mint.  However, we tend to have more success when using rainwater.  If you have a method of trapping rainwater then we’d suggest that you use this when rooting herbs such as mint.

What recipes do we use mint in?

Here’s some of our favourite recipes that we specfically grow mint for

Final Words on How to Grow Mint from Cuttings

Mint is a great herb for beginner gardeners.  You can grow mint on a window sill or in a garden.  It’s a very versatile herb that can be grown in pots or soil.  Taking cuttings from mint is easy and the herb is very forgiving and a vigorous grower, so it’s easy and quick to see results.  Check out some of the other REALLY easy herbs to grow here.  Adding to that, mint is a herb that many people grow, so it’s easy to find – check with friends, family and neighbours, you’re bound to find someone who has a plant that you can take a cutting from.  However, if you can’t, mint is also cheap to buy as a plant or cut herb that you can root from at the supermarkets.  Get started today and grow mint from cuttings – your kitchen and tastebuds will love you for it.

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