En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-native mint invading flower beds in Kendallville IN

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 26, 2011

From: Kendallville, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Problem Plants
Title: Non-native mint invading flower beds in Kendallville IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

A few years back we were given two sprouts of something referred to as peppermint tea. We planted in our flower bed and now it has taken over. It seems to start slow in the spring but doesn't take long to over grow all the other plants in the mix. When we try to remove it the "runners" pull up fairly easy but go on forever it seems. Can you please give us any hints on how to remove this invasive species so we can enjoy our plants again?

ANSWER:

When we went looking online for a plant called "peppermint tea," what we got were recipes for, well, peppermint tea. So, we looked at a couple recipes to see what plant they used, although we already suspected we knew. From wikiHow, here is how to make Peppermint Tea from scratch. And, from Adago Teas, here is a discussion of Peppermint.

The mints are various species of the genus Mentha and, like most plants referred to as "herbs," are native to the Mediterranean Basin. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. As you pointed out, mints are very invasive because of their roots spreading. Sad to say, anything you spray on them to kill them will be more likely to kill your other plants. The mints are somewhat protected by their extensive underground root structure which the poisons cannot reach. By the same token, freezing winter weather will probably not eliminate them. Most herb gardeners recommend that mints be confined to pots and trimmed back fairly severely often.

Your best chance is to pull them out and keep pulling them out. Start as early in the Spring as you can, watching for those leaves to begin popping up and get them out, getting as much root each time as you can. Theoretically, with no leaves above ground to produce nutrition for the roots, the roots will eventually starve. Theoretically.

Advice we would give to any gardener is to thoroughly investigate any plant before it is purchased or planted. The best way to eliminate an invasive plant is to never plant it.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native Bradford pear in Austin
May 16, 2009 - Hi, I planted a Bradford Pear tree about five years ago, and half of it is not filling out with leaves very well. Then about a month I noticed leaves here or there curling brown and dying, and causin...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive rescue grass in meadow garden in Smithville TX
September 20, 2012 - Despite numerous efforts, a solid field of cool weather rescue grass keeps desired wildflower and grass seeds from successfully growing on my "vacant" lot in town. I plan to I put out a 6 ml plasti...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Crape Myrtle
August 07, 2006 - My local nursery saw the flower and said I have a crape myrtle...is this the common name or botanical name?
view the full question and answer

Care for a non-native Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
February 19, 2008 - I inherited a lilac bush when I bought my house. It grows in a bed right in front of the house but grows away from the house, not in a straight up and down manner. This winter we had a 12" snow fall ...
view the full question and answer

Can non-native Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in Round Rock, Texas?
July 01, 2014 - Can the Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in the Round Rock Texas area or is this area too hot for it?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center