Planting a neat cluster of mint in your herb garden may seem like a great idea. The leaves are fragrant and tasty, great for adding to teas and salads and fizzy drinks. But beware, mint is a plant that easily spreads and pops up in unexpected places.
Next year, you might find it edging out your other herbs, or even invading your lawn. It’s not actually an invasive species, but it sort of behaves like one.
“When you mow, it’ll smell amazing,” said Kate Garland, horticultural professional for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “But those kinds of plants can be a really big headache if you don’t want them.”
Mint is one of several unruly edibles. In many cases, these plants can be easily controlled in pots or raised beds, or — in some cases — not allowing them to go to seed. But first, you have to know what plants to watch out for. Here are just a few:
A popular herb that’s often used to season meat and flavor sauces, oregano is in the mint family. Like many plants in the mint family, it tends to spread through its robust root system, Garland said.
Other popular plants in the mint family that are known to spread widely include lemon balm and catnip. However, these plants are fairly easy to control by placing them in pots or raised beds. Just keep in mind that once you establish them in a bed, they may be difficult to get rid of. For this reason, they’re sometimes banned from community gardens, where people are assigned new garden beds each year.
Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...
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