This is just a general question.

I have mint plant that I have bought from the store. However, some of the mint plants in the same pot looks different. Their stems are red and leaves are very small the stems look ore strong than others.

Can anyone please explain?

Here is the image.

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  • Can we have a photo of the whole plant and its pot please, and not just the long stems? And are you growing it indoors or outside? I have to say it doesn't look like mint - what was it sold as, precisely?
    – Bamboo
    Jun 14, 2018 at 13:34
  • They're probably flower spikes Jun 14, 2018 at 13:43
  • @DavidLiamClayton - I know my vision is failing, but I'm having trouble detecting square stems.... can you see any?
    – Bamboo
    Jun 14, 2018 at 14:05
  • @bamboo what, apart from the fact that you can't see in the photograph whether this plant has square stems, makes you think it's not mint? Assuming the owner has a vaguely working sense of smell I'm sure she or he can identify it without any risk of confusion whatsoever. Jun 14, 2018 at 16:23
  • Growth habit - which is why I asked where its being grown - in poor light conditions, it would look etiolated, like this. And if it is in poor light, that would explain its desperation to flower, in a bid for freedom or to reproduce
    – Bamboo
    Jun 14, 2018 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


You’ll find that mint has been hybridised over and over again throughout the years.

Many subspecies, variations, hybrids and cultivars have appeared and through these processes, mints have retained some of the original DNA from the parent plant.

Red stemmed mint is a hybrid, the result of crossing Mentha arvensis and Mentha Spicata

Even if you’re mint is neither, it still carries cells from the red stemmed mint.


I’ve seen some very interesting responses to this question…

The two types of stems on your plant have different purposes. The green, typical-looking growth mainly plays a photosynthetic role. The red stem is a stolon, aka a runner. Unlike vegetative growth, runners sprawl and make contact with the ground in order to put down additional roots. If your plant was in a forest, for example, the runner could make contact with humid soil and send down roots from each of its nodes (where you see small leaves). These runners allow mint plants to clone themselves and establish a wider base for drawing up nutrients, water, etc.

TLDR: It’s a specialized stem that puts down roots

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