Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Misjudge of Character/I Was Fooled

Gail, from Clay and Limestone did a post on Pycnanthemum muticum, short toothed mountain mint this week, and said it can be a thug. I left a comment, referring to my other posts on mountain mints, saying they do not spread like other mints. This spring, what I thought were fallen stems from the plant I put in last year were taking root and new mint plants were springing up. I pulled them, stating that I hope the plant behaves this summer. In July, I said it was behaving.

Today, while Larry and I were doing some yard clean up, I went over and checked around the ground around the mountain mint to see if it was spreading from the base. Wow, was I surprised at what I saw!

Look how innocent this plant looks! It must think I won't look past those beautiful blooms to see what's going on underneath it.

You can see some of the little new plants springing up, and if you look closer, you can see runners, not stems like I thought they were in the spring.

The new plants look more like other mints than the ones on the parent plant. (Look at all those runners!)

The plants form all along the runners.

The plant just to the right of a younger one, has gotten big enough to look like the parent plant. To the right of it is a baptisia volunteer. (The lattice is the cover to our egress window well, by the way. We'll be putting pots of lavender and such in there soon.)

There's no doubt where the runners were coming from. Some of the runners were over 2 feet long, and the new plants were forming under other plants, where they weren't as noticeable.

There were some healthy looking roots along parts of it.

I pulled all of the runners I could see out, but will be checking to see if more are developing.

It's still looking pretty innocent, but now, I'm on to it, and will not give it so much freedom.

I was relieved to see that the Virginia mountain mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum, is still only spreading from the main clump.

Now, I'm on my way back to Gail's blog to leave a retraction to my previous comment.


  1. Wow! I'm sorry you had that experience... what a lot of work! You know, it's okay that you made that mistake. It's one we all make when we haven't had long-time experience with a plant!! :-) Have a great day!

  2. It happens to all of us! I've been pulling out plants that were supposedly well-behaved and weren't (like an ornamental Love Grass).


  3. Well if you have to have a plant growing like a weed then it ought to be a pretty plant like this one. I have planted a couple of spreaders on purpose. Mint is one of the. I figure that if I am going to have to weed something it might as well be pleasant.

  4. Hi Sue! I have a melissa from a mint family which spreads. I moved it to a pot, but new plants still emerge here and there. They smell good and I use their leaves in my tea.

  5. Sue, I'm curious about Mountain Mint. Is it more ornamental, or does it have enough mint flavor to use it?

    It is a beautiful plant, and if it can be used in Teas or other cooking as well, I can see it becoming a resident of our garden.

    If so, I'm glad I read your post and know to keep an eye on it.

  6. I don't think I've met a mint that wasn't a thug, but that sure is a pretty one.

  7. I've never seen a mint like this one, it sure is pretty. I hope you can keep it in check. I love mint, but keep it all in containers just in case. Hopefully yours will not try to sneak into the rest of your garden again.

  8. mint and lavender- 2 beauties. I just made potpourris for drawers from

  9. Mints must be have their own area or be kept in a container, boy did I learn this the hard way!

  10. I think all mints are pretty invasive... but having said that, it's my impression that what we call mountain mint in Michigan (Pycnanthemum virginianum) is not. It's a native, but I've only seen it in prairies where it has a lot of competition from taller plants, so don't quote me, LOL! Gardening is all about discovery.

  11. Oh boy! Can you grow this in a buried pot? It is just to pretty to forego.
    Funny post.

  12. Oh Sue, I am sorry that the beautiful mint we both love has decided to act like a mint! I am going to go out side and move mine or it will take over the itea bed! Had I known it was as effective a grower...I would have just gotten a start of it and not bought three plants! Thanks for the link! gail

  13. ps I forgot to say that you are most welcome for the update on my post. I am just so sorry it is a thug. gail

  14. Gardening is always a learning experience, isn't it? I always appreciate learning from others what plants are invasive to avoid planting them here. But at the same time, sometimes that depends on the location, too. Now that you and Gail both say it is a thug, I will definitely avoid planting it...but it sure is pretty! Maybe the idea about a container would work.

  15. I think all forms of mint are invasive and need to be constantly checked. I grow any form of mint in a tub to stop the spread...

    Enjoyed the post....and it is very very pretty......

  16. It's a good thing you caught it when you did. I pulled native mallows from my yard for 2 years. No runners, but millions of seeds, which germinated twice, I swear!

    Very informative post!

  17. Sue, it is a deceptively beautiful plant. I saw it on Gail's and had thought about trying it here in a location where I wouldn't mind a little spread. But can you imagine how far it could spread in a couple of years! I think I will lwave this one to others and just enjoy it from afar. :) Thanks for such detailed photos and a lesson in gardening with invasives.


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