The Q&A Archives: Mint As A Ground Cover

Question: I have an area with clay soil, moderate shade,and a habit of flooding during heavy rain. (The water runs off as soon as the rain ends) Nothing grows there except a few weeds, and it is mostly bare soil. It has been suggested that mint would make a good ground cover provided I dont mind its tendency to spread. Do you agree, and if so, which of the various mints? Can mint take mowing? Can mint be started from seed?

Answer: Mint tends to colonize an area rapidly by runners (and possibly also by seed) unless it is contained, so in that sense yes, it will cover the area. It will also withstand occasional mowing. I would caution you to be sure you want such an aggressive plant as a groundcover. The standard mints such as peppermint and spearmint would all be fine, some of the specialty mints aimed at collectors seem to be a bit less hardy; be sure the stock you start with is free of rust. Mint can be started from seed and for this purpose that should be adequate. In some cases mints will "cross" so if you require a specific mint I would suggest you start from a plant or plants which you have taste-tested to be sure it is a "good" strain.

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