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

Waxy deposits on Magnolia fuscata from Ethel LA
June 18, 2013 - I have a 4yr old Magnolia Fascata (aka banana shrub)- I noticed that it has small oval shaped yellow waxy deposits on the branches.. I have also noticed small black ants on the branches. The unknown d...
view the full question and answer

Edibility of native and non-native wild onions
July 07, 2006 - I'd like to know if the seeds of the wild onions found in southeastern Pennsylvania (possibly called Allium ascalonicum) are edible at all- these are the seeds that grow on top of the stalk, after ...
view the full question and answer

Distribution of Non-Native Royal Empress Tree
August 23, 2007 - I was wondering if you could give me the statistics for the Royal Empress Tree in the Long Island area. I have two and have read numerous articles online regarding them being invasive through the root...
view the full question and answer

Thorns on non-native orange trees in Greenwell Springs, LA
April 26, 2009 - Navel orange tree has thorns, why is this?
view the full question and answer

Firecracker plants not growing in Ft. Worth
June 09, 2010 - I live in Fort Worth, TX and last fall planted several firecracker plants. It's now June and they're not growing. How can I tell if they are still alive?
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