Why Chocolate mint is invasive | The story of an upright mint plant

Chocolate mint is a beautiful fast growing mint plant that grows upright and straight but can become invasive. This mint plant will grow quickly into a large plant and will grow multiple stems from a single plant. While this mint will slowly spread, it is not as invasive as the regular mint but will still spread and slowly invade the nearby space.

My chocolate mint plant has grown from a 3-4 inch seedling to a 10 inch plant in around 2 months.

The best way to grow any mint plant is to grow it in a contained pot or in an area of garden that you can allow to grow full of mint. This could be a raised garden bed or a garden bed in the ground surrounded by pavers.

I have planted both chocolate mint and regular green mint. The chocolate mint is less invasive than the regular mint. This has grown as a compact plant that can be kept contained by pruning it regularly. This plant is around 10 inches across and has been growing for around 2 months.

How chocolate mint spreads

Chocolate mint spreads through underground rhizomes. Roots will spread under the ground and from each root node a new plant can grow. Mint will go dormant over winter and the top stems and leaves will die back and the roots will stay protected under the ground.

The roots will then sprout new stems up from the ground as well as sprouting new leaves from any healthy stems still left above the ground.

Mint can then quickly grow and spread and invade nearby soil areas and grow large and strong. I have found that regular, green mint is quick to spread while chocolate mint is less invasive. Chocolate mint will still spread but it seems like it is not as quick to do so.

I have planted chocolate mint and regular mint together in a garden bed. The regular mint is growing over 3 feet by 1.5 feet deep while my new chocolate mint has only grown to 10 inches wide.

New chocolate mint plants will start small in their first year but by their second and third year they will likely to expand.

How stop chocolate mint from becoming invasive

Chocolate mint can be kept contained and you can stop it from invading nearby spaces in a few different ways. While chocolate mint can be less invasive than regular mint it can still spread. Here are my top tips for keeping chocolate mint contained.

Plant chocolate mint in pots

Chocolate mint will thrive in a pot with good quality potting soil. Choose a pot that is 2-3 inches wider than the chocolate mint plant. Get some good quality potting soil, organic if you can and plant your new mint plant in a clean pot.

Mint thrives in pots and loves a bright sunny spot. If you live in a very hot climate, mint will love some afternoon shade but is very hardy and will tolerate most positions. This could be sun, shade or a mix of both.

Chocolate mint cuttings ready to plant out in pots or in a garden bed.

Create an in ground garden bed that is contained

Planting chocolate mint in the ground in a garden bed is fine if the garden bed is separated from other areas. While chocolate mint could invade other areas if the garden bed is not separated, a small bed surrounded by pavers is a great place to grow a chocolate mint plant.

I have a space that gets a lot of shade in front of my house. I have grown mint in a shallow garden bed, surrounded by pavers. After laying a few mint roots in the soil during winter, it is now covered by mint.

My regular mint plant has now been joined by a new chocolate mint which is growing tall and proud by my front door. This mint plant will spread eventually but as it is surrounded by 4 sides of my front door, a solid path and concrete this is as far as it can go.

I actually like to take advantage of the spreading and invasive nature of mint and use it to fill a difficult space with green, lush leaves.

Use a raised garden bed

Raised garden beds can be the perfect place to plant your chocolate mint plant. The best advice is to dedicate a whole garden bed to mint as you can expect that it will slowly take over.

Another option is to plant chocolate mint with annual herbs like parsley and basil. By the end of the warm summer season the basil and parsley can be removed and the garden bed can remain to house the invasive mint.

Remember that you will always be finding root runners of any mint plant grown in a garden bed so make sure you plan on keeping this as you mint bed for a long time.

How to take cuttings from chocolate mint

One of the benefits of the invasive nature of chocolate mint is that it is easy to grow from cuttings. I bought a new, small mint plant and within a month I could take multiple cuttings to create new plants.

Cut 5 inch pieces of the chocolate mint stems off the plant using some sharp secateurs.  Place these stems in clean water in a jar or glass by your kitchen window. Within a few weeks the stems will sprout roots and within around 3 weeks they can be planted in the ground or in a pot.

Water the mint plants regularly after planting them out. You will have new mint plants quickly and great presents to give away to friends. This works best in spring or early summer when the mint plant is in its growth phase.

Why chocolate is mint invasive | Summary

Chocolate mint can become invasive as it can spread to grow new plants on root nodes. When you plant mint in garden beds you can expect that within a year it could spread to fill the whole space. Mint is an easy to grow herb that will grow well in pots, raised beds or contained beds to keep it in one space.