Well I have two parent mint plants and both of them lost all of their leaves and sprouted up about 50 new sprouts that are growing great, but the original parent plants still don't have leaves. Should I dig them up or give them time?


Mint is generally a herbaceous perennial, so it loses its leaves and dies back every winter, then new shoots sprout from the roots in spring. With mine, I cut the dead stems back to just above soil level as part of my normal garden clean-up going into winter, and that's what I recommend you do.

Don't dig up the dead stalks because mint spreads by sending up new shoots from its roots, and those roots are still alive and part of your baby plants.

Your two original plants might regrow from their bases, but with fifty baby plants, I don't think you'll be lacking for mint this year either way. (And I hope for your sake that you have them in a container, otherwise at that rate of growth, you'll have over 1200 plants next year and 31,000 the year after!)


Mint has a tendency to stop growing in containers after a couple of years, so that might be why the parent plants aren't doing anything. The cause of the problem is twofold - they like a nice, deep rootrun, up to 18 inches, and they like to spread far and wide. If the original plant reaches a block on the length of its roots, the offshoots take over and carry on growing until they reach root limit too. In containers, its often best to tip them out, split what's there and repot separately, as you would with any other herbaceous perennial plant. You may need to discard the older, central parts, again, as is normal with herbaceous perennials. Best done in Spring.

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