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Homeowner warned of consequences of planting common garden herb: 'There is nothing you can do to stop it once it starts going'

"Almost no matter what you do, there is no way to stop it."

"Almost no matter what you do, there is no way to stop it."

Photo Credit: iStock

A Redditor who wanted to replicate a childhood memory by planting mint was warned of the consequences by other gardeners.

"Bad idea using mint as a home/deck border? … Any alternative suggestions?" the poster wondered, saying the herb was plentiful around their home back in the day. They had "heard the horror stories of rampaging mint" but hadn't experienced that growing up and were now looking for a way to keep carpenter bees and "other unwanted housemates" away.

"Yes, yes, and more yes it is bad," one commenter wrote, detailing two misadventures that turned into massive eradication projects.

First, what started as a 1-by-5-foot strip of mint hemmed in by a sidewalk took off into the yard. It took three years of sowing salt to reclaim the land. They regained their bravery a couple of years later and seeded mint plants in a mason block, but those "grew so big and dense that they broke the mason block" and took over the garden. Three years later, they weren't sure they'd gotten rid of all the roots.

"Almost no matter what you do, there is no way to stop it," they concluded. "... There is nothing you can do to stop it once it starts going."

That is why it's so important to keep invasive species out of ecosystems. They outcompete native plants for water, sunlight, and other nutrients. Invasive flora have even been known to take down trees, and their fauna versions are just as monstrous — spurring some to eat them as part of removal efforts.

Native species are better for pollinators and other wildlife, and they can help you save hundreds of dollars since they don't require as much water. If you're searching for lawn options, check out this guide to natural alternatives to traditional turf grass, which can also be invasive. 

"If you're not prepared for that bed to be mint and nothing but mint forever more, then speak now or forever hold your peace," one user said.

Mint can be killed with boiling water or a solution of salt, soap, and vinegar, according to Gardening Know How. Chemical herbicides will work, too, but those should be used only as a last resort.

Instead of planting mint, try native varieties, relatives, sedum, or even catnip, as commenters suggested.

"A really great repellent in the mint family that is not edible and is planter friendly is Penny Royal," one Redditor advised. "I plant that in a pot near my porch to avoid bees. Don't eat it though."

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