Propagating mint is a great way to get free plants that you can use in your garden, as fillers in containers, or to share with friends. In this post, I will show you how to grow mint from cuttings in water or soil, and give you tips for transplanting mint plants after propagation too.
How To Propagate Mint Plants
There are a couple different methods you can use for propagating mint, and they’re all really easy. These methods are propagation by seed, by division, or by rooting plant cuttings. In this post, I’m going to show you how to grow mint plants from cuttings rooted in either water or soil.
Oh, and you can follow these instruction for propagating all different types of mint plants too. I propagated a few of my favorite mint varieties in this post, including chocolate mint, my peppermint plant, and a variegated mint (I think it’s either ginger or pineapple mint).
How To Grow Mint From Cuttings
Growing mint from cuttings is super easy. In the right environment, it only takes a few days for the cuttings to start to develop roots of their own. Mint will grow roots out of the leaf nodes on the stems, and can be rooted in soil or water.
There is a tradeoff for each of these two methods for propagating mint though, so keep this in mind when deciding which one to use. Plants rooted in soil are much stronger, and there’s a lower risk of them dying from transplant shock when you pot them up. But it’s a bit more difficult to root cuttings with this method.
On the other hand, it’s much easier to root mint cuttings in water, but the plants tend to be weaker. When rooted in water, plants can be slower to recover from transplant shock, and have a higher risk of dying after being transplanted.
Taking Mint Cuttings To Propagate
The best time of year for propagating mint is during the late spring or early summer once the plant starts to grow taller, but before they have started flowering. Flowering takes a lot of energy, and a stem that hasn’t flowered yet will be able to put it’s energy into growing new roots instead of flowers.
Take cuttings that are 3-5 inches long so that there is plenty of area on the stem for roots to grow. Longer stems are easier to propagate than short ones since there will be more places for roots to grow.
Mint cuttings will start to wilt very quickly after removing them from the plant, and you definitely don’t want them to dry out before propagating them. So be sure to prepare the soil or your vase of water before taking cuttings. That way you can get them into the dirt or water quickly before they start wilting.
Preparing Mint Plant Stem Cuttings For Propagation
Before propagating the cuttings, remove 2-3 sets of leaves from the bottom of the stem. You can carefully pinch them off with your fingers, or use a sharp pair of pruners or bonsai shears so you won’t accidentally damage the stem.
Ideally, each stem will have 2-3 empty leaf nodes on it, but there should be at least one empty leaf node on each stem at minimum.
Propagating Mint From Cuttings In Water
Growing mint from cuttings in water is super easy. All you need to do is put them into a vase just like you would do with cut flowers. Make sure that none of the leaves are touching the water, because those will rot.
I like to use a glass vase so that it’s easy to see when the roots have developed, and to make sure the water level doesn’t get too low. I also like to make sure the vase I use is tall and narrow, rather than shallow and wide so that my cuttings will stay upright and won’t settle down into the water and rot.
For best results when rooting cuttings in water, allow each cutting to grow several roots that are thick and a few inches long before transplanting them into soil. The thicker the roots, the better they will be able to survive transplant. Although don’t keep your mint growing in water for too long or it can also worsen the risk of transplant shock.
Growing Mint From Cuttings In Soil
Mint plant propagation is a bit more difficult with this method, but it’s still pretty easy as long as you provide the right environment. In order to root mint cuttings in soil, the air needs to be very humid. It’s super easy to provide the perfect environment outside in the summer if you live in a humid climate like I do.
But, if you live in a dry climate, or you want to try rooting the cuttings inside the house, then I recommend using some kind of a propagation kit. You can buy a basic propagation chamber or you can try making your own DIY propagation box for rooting cuttings. Whichever you choose to use, adding bottom heat will help to speed things up too.
- Propagation soil (I mix my own using perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss – but you can use a seed starting mix instead)
- A pot or a propagation chamber
- Plant rooting hormone
- Sterile and sharp pruners or bonsai shears
- Heat mat (optional)
Step 1: Cover the cutting stem in rooting hormone – If you’ve never used it before, rooting hormone makes propagating cuttings in soil much easier. It speeds up the process, and helps to ensure your cuttings will grow a thick, healthy root system.
Step 2: Make a hole in the dirt – You can use your finger or a pencil to make a hole in the dirt where the cutting will go. Making a hole first helps to make sure you don’t damage the cutting or rub off the rooting hormone when sticking the stems into the soil.
Step 3: Put the cutting into the soil – Place the cut end into the hole, and gently press the soil around it to ensure sure that it comes in contact with the cutting
Step 4: Wet the soil – If you planted your cuttings in a pot, then water the soil until water starts coming out of the drainage holes. If you’re using a propagation box, then it’s easier to moisten the propagation medium before adding the cuttings. Otherwise you can gently pour water into the box, being careful not to displace the medium. Or simply give it a good misting with a plant sprayer.
You can put several cuttings into one large pot or your propagation chamber, but try to space them apart far enough so they don’t touch each other. This will ensure adequate airflow, and will help to prevent mold growth or rotting of the cuttings.
Keep your cuttings out of the sun until they start putting on new growth, and keep them evenly moist. You don’t want the soil to be soggy, but never allow it to dry out either. If it’s not very humid where you live, and you’re not using a propagation box, then misting the cuttings regularly helps to encourage rooting. You’ll know your cuttings are rooted once you see new leaves starting to grow.
How To Transplant Mint After Propagating
Once your the cuttings have developed a healthy root system, it’s time to pot them up into their own containers. If you’re planning to grow your mint plant in the garden, then you can simply use general potting soil to pot the cuttings up temporarily. Otherwise, if you plan to planting mint in pots for the long term, then I recommend using a high quality potting soil for container gardening (here’s my container potting soil recipe).
If you’re potting up cuttings that were rooted in water, they may droop after being transplanted into soil but they should recover within a few days. Just keep your new baby mint plant out of the sun and don’t fertilizer them until they recover.
After the plants have recovered from transplant shock, you can move them into the sun and start feeding them. There’s not a specific type of mint fertilizer, but I recommend using natural fertilizer for mint plants rather than chemicals. Start by giving them a weak dose of liquid fertilizer (fish emulsion and compost tea are great choices!) and slowly increase the dose over time.
Once they have become established in their pots, it’s safe to plant them into the garden. I recommend transplanting mint in the ground on a cloudy day or in the evening after the heat of the day has passed. Be sure to give them plenty of water after planting them into the garden.
Propagating mint is fun and easy, and it’s a great way to share your favorite mint plant varieties with friends, or give them as gifts! Mini mint plants also make excellent (and free!) fillers for summer containers. Once you know how to grow mint from a cutting, you’ll have plenty of plants to share.
If you want to learn even more about propagating your favorite plants, then my Plant Propagation Made Easy eBook is for you! It has all the details you need to in order to learn how to propagate any type of plant that you want. Download your copy today!
More About Plant Propagation
- Plant Propagation Supplies List
- What Is Plant Propagation (and how to get started)
- How To Propagate Lavender Plants From Cuttings
- How To Propagate Banana Plants
Share your tips for propagating mint plants in the comments section below.