growing mint, the easy way

There's nothing like having fresh mint on hand to add a little life to boiled potatoes, freshness to salads and colour to desserts. It's one of my favourite herbs and one I would hate to do without. You can grow it from seed, from little seedlings or from cuttings as I like to do. My only word of caution is that mint has a tendency to take over your whole garden, so plant it in it's own little garden bed or confine it to a large pot! You'll thank me for that one, seriously.

It's very easy to grow mint from cuttings and if you happen to have a friend or family member with a thriving mint plant, you can just pick a few stems to start yourself off. Or when you buy your next bunch of mint from the vege store, reserve a few stems to sprout and use.

All you need to do is choose a couple of healthy stems, cut the ends off cleanly to make sure water can be absorbed easily. Place the stem/s into a glass jar filled with water and place in a sunny spot, either on your windowsill or out in the full sun in your garden. Leave for 6-14 days, making sure the water is topped up as needed until you start to see little roots shoot out the bottom of the stem. In warm weather this can take a matter of days, or in cooler weather it may take up to 2 weeks.

Plant out into a large pot filled with good quality potting mix or into a (contained) garden bed. Water regularly and pick the tips often to encourage new growth.

I'll be back in a few days with a scrummy chocolate cookie recipe xx

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  • EA-The Spicy RD
    November 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Great idea! Smehow I never thought to sprout mint in a jar. I needed some the other day, but has none….Think I'm going to give this a try 🙂

  • Kristen @
    November 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Ooh, lovely! Which variety of mint is that? This is also really helpful for those mint cultivars that are sterile (like peppermint)!

    • emma
      January 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      I think my main mint plant is spearmint (the one in the photo). I have a couple of different types including a smaller rounder shaped leaf one (apple mint?)and Vietnamese mint (not really a mint, but still called one?!).

  • hungryandfrozen
    November 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I love mint so much, definitely one of my favourite herbs. I love how it looks like it's growing little legs in the jar 🙂 Very good advice here!

  • Cass @foodmyfriend
    November 10, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I like the idea of your scrummy cookie idea 🙂 Bring it on. I have a black thumb and can't even grow mint ;(

  • Siobhan
    November 10, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I love this idea, thank you! I think I must have had some mint in my compost because when I went out there the other day I had a huge mint plant growing out of a hidden corner. Don't fancy compost-flavoured mint so will use this idea instead. 🙂

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)
    November 10, 2011 at 10:00 am

    What a fantastic idea!!!! I never knew you could grow mint from cuttings. I am so going to try this! Thanks 😀

  • The InTolerant Chef
    November 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

    My mint has gone feral in my garden, but it's so pretty and yummy that I don't really mind. No wonder it goes wild, when it propagates so easily just in plain water!

  • Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free
    November 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Beautiful idea! Mint is so refreshing, even just to look at. Peppermint is my favorite. Do you notice the different flavors cross-pollinate and their flavors get mixed up in the seedlings?

    • emma
      January 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      I haven't noticed any cross pollination so far…

  • Lily
    November 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I've had so much trouble growing mint in Perth, always tried to take over the whole garden back in NZ, but here it is a struggle. My current plant is getting attacked by little green caterpillars, which I dutifully try and pick off and squash every morning. Any advice?

    • emma
      January 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Your mint plants might just need more water than they are getting? It's so much hotter here. And might be a good idea to trim it back often (that's what my mother-in-law recommends). Yes we are struggling with the green caterpillars more here too, back in NZ it's usually just our winter crops that get eaten by them, but here they are eating everything! Mint, broad beans and even tomatoes! Sorry got no advice other than what you are doing picking them off and squishing, that's what we do, well that's what Si does. I leave that job for him 😉

  • Hannah
    November 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Great idea! My Grandma made the mistake of planting it in her front yard and not containing it to it's own pot, and it totally took over LOL. The one nice thing is we always have fresh mint on hand! 🙂

    • emma
      January 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Yeah not the worst thing that could happen 🙂 I can never have too much mint!

  • Kris
    November 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    The other benefit of having lots of mint around is that flies hate it. Put it in a pot inside your house as a fly repellent and they will quickly make themselves scarce!

    • emma
      January 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      oooh really?! Wow, will have to try that one out for sure! There's so many flies in Australia! Lucky all our doors have fly-screens.

  • Sam
    November 11, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Having just moved house and unable to take my huge pot of mint, I transplanted a few stems including the roots straight into a garden bed in our new place. Now going gangbusters! 🙂

  • leaf (the indolent cook)
    November 11, 2011 at 3:01 am

    I've just been working on an article on mint, amongst other subjects… they're so handy to have around, and so easy to grow! I might transfer some of my mint to my boyfriend's place using this method. 🙂

  • Madeleine @ NZ Ecochick
    November 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for this. I was wondering how to grow it. Mine in pots aren't so happy now I know why! Will do this today.

  • Mairi@Toast
    November 27, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Beautiful mint! I wouldn't be without it 🙂

  • Anja
    January 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I have been searching high and low in Dubai to get mint plants or seeds. But couldn't find any. Thanks for this post, will get some cut mint from the supermarket and try it this way. Btw, love the first picture with the photographer's feet.

    • emma
      January 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Haha those would be my gorgeous hobbit feet 😉 Good luck with your mint. Keep it well trimmed and it should grow forever.

  • Anja
    January 20, 2012 at 3:29 am

    It's sprouting!!!! After just 3 days on my kitchen counter. Gotta love Dubai for the warm and sunny weather. Emma, you are a star! How big should the roots become before I put them into to soil? As much as in one of these pictures above?

    • emma
      January 20, 2012 at 6:26 am

      Awesome! Yeah Perth weather at the moment has things sprouting in mere days too 🙂 You can plant once they are as long as ones above, or feel free to leave a few more days to grow longer, good luck! xx

  • Marina
    September 29, 2012 at 6:29 am


    Thank you so much for this article!! I spent weeks looking for mint plants or seeds to grow them from and then thanks to your info I tried it with the mint cutting. My only problem is its been over two weeks. I've got a really tiny root and that's it. Its been growing new leaves but no more root. Should I wait or should I plant it in soil?

    • emma
      September 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Hrrm, you should have way more roots by now. If it's cold where you live though these things can take time. Make sure it's in full-sunlight all day and I'd wait longer until there are a few good big roots before planting out.

  • Muskan Younus
    April 13, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    im doing this for my science fair project and it isnt working and it hasent grown a bit and its due in two days i started on the sixth

    • emma
      April 14, 2014 at 1:16 am

      Oh no! Have you made sure it's out in the sunlight? It won't shoot roots unless there's light. In cooler weather it takes longer to shoot. Sometimes in summer it shoots in a matter of days, but this one in the photos above took 10 days. Fingers crossed it shoots in time!