How to Pick Mint Leaves Without Killing Plant

Many people love the flavor of fresh mint, but many do not know how to pick it without killing the plant. Most people grab a bunch and twist until they hear a snap or tear in the leaves. This isn’t good for your plant because you break off all the leaves that take their energy from roots to produce food for themselves. The plant requires at least one foot of space to grow and thrive for its stems to produce new leaves. So if you are looking for tips on how to pick mint leaves without killing plants, keep reading! 

How to Pick Mint Leaves Without Killing Plant

10 Methods on How to Pick Mint Leaves Without Killing Plant:

1. Use a Spoon

One method that you can do is by using a spoon. You need to use a metal spoon if possible and scrape the stem gently just below the soil’s surface without digging too deep into it. This will not bring its roots, but this would be the best way on how to pick mint leaves

2. Use Scissors:

There are a few simple ways to pick mint leaves without killing the plant. One way is to cut the stems off just below the soil’s surface, where you will see a node. This is where the plant branches out and grows roots, so cutting just a little bit under the node will not kill the plant. Another way is to gently twist the leaves off the stem. This will also not kill the plant, and will give you a fresher mint leaf to use.

3. Cut Stems Using a Sharp Object:

The following best way to pick mint leaves is by using a sharp object just above the node where it branches out, and you can use this for harvesting offshoots of new growth without damaging the plant’s root system. You need to use something sharp, like a razor blade, or you can even use your fingernails to do the job.

4. Using Strips of Cardboard:

To make a mint pot, you will need some strips of cardboard and a pot. Cut the cardboard into 7 to 10-inch pieces and roll them up. Place them in your pot at the corners. The grooves of the cardboard will hold the mint leaves so they don’t fall out during harvesting. Insert one or two new pieces of cardboard every two weeks or as needed.

Discard used sheets after hold the mint plant at its base (stem) and tug it up to wiggle off leaves. For larger mint plants, you can use a kitchen fork instead of your hand.

5. Cutting or Snipping:

To harvest large leafy clusters, cut them off using sharp scissors or pruners. If there are smaller budded shoots growing between the leaves, snip these off with your scissors.

6. Hang to Dry:

If you have many mint plants growing in your garden, you can hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated location to dry them. This method is quite tedious, but once you get used to it, you will be able to harvest your mint leaves more often.

7. Twist and Pull:

Just like with regular basil, you would also need to pick the leaves from your mint plant by twisting and pulling them gently. You can even use a pair of fingernails or a sharp object to do the job. This is one of the easiest methods on how to pick mint leaves without killing your plants.

8. Wash and Rinse:

After harvesting your mint leaves, you will need to wash and rinse them thoroughly before drying them. To ensure that they are completely dry before placing them in an airtight container, you can commercially produced airtight jars for storing your dried mint. This will prevent any problems with dampness and mold.

9. Freeze:

Methods on How to Pick Mint Leaves Without Killing Plant

Another way on how to pick mint leaves without killing plants is by freezing them. You will need to wash and rinse your mint leaves, then let them dry completely, after which you can add them to an airtight container or plastic bag and placed them in the freezer. Make sure that they are appropriately labeled and dated to know how long you have had them.

10. Use a Sharp Knife:

You can also use a sharp knife to cut the branches of the mint plant, this would be done regularly and you can even make your leaves last longer. Like with other methods on picking mint leaves, you will need to snip off leaves at their base (stem) and not pull them out by their stems.

Things To Know Before Picking Mint Leaves:

1. Before you can pick the mint leaves, it is essential that you learn how to identify the plants in your garden that contain mint. Mint loves to take root in and around your other plants and at their bases. It will also spread through underground stems and runners like grass or ivy, so be careful where you step.

2. Mint is a great herb with many medicinal properties and intense aromatics that make it perfect for teas, desserts, and as an addition to sauces or curries. It can be used from your garden at any point in its life cycle as long as the leaves are not wilted or too old.

3. Be careful when you pick the mint leaves, too much can strip a plant of its energy and kill it.

4. Mint is ready for harvest when the leaves are fullest and the plant begins to flower. Depending on climate and conditions, this can be as early as six weeks after planting or even later.

5. Mint spreads quickly, and care should be taken by only picking the outermost tips of a leaf where it has not yet begun to branch out.

6. A general rule of thumb for harvesting or picking most fresh herbs is to take around 20 percent of the plant without damaging it too badly and then leave the rest to regrow and flower, ensuring a continuous harvest throughout the summer months.

Tips to Make Your Mint Leaves Last longer:

1. Pick mint leaves in the morning when they are more likely to be wet with dew

2. Put them in a jar of water (a Mason jar works best) and place them on your countertop. Change out the water every other day. This will give you the most extended shelf life of your mint leaves

3. Place them back into their original container only after the leaves are dry to touch.

4. Store mint leaves in a dark, cool place for maximum freshness

5. When you are ready to use them, tear or chop off what you need instead of trying to cut with a knife to bruise the leaf and make it turn black more quickly.

6. If you are eating them by themselves, you do not need to tear or chop them

7. Mint leaves are best eaten within a month of purchasing (3 weeks in the fridge). Just like lettuce, they will lose their nutrients and flavor if not eaten soon enough

8. If you find that your mint plants are getting too big for your tastes, you can cut them back to about four inches from the ground. They will sprout new growth, and you can begin picking again

How to Store Picked Mint Leaves?

How to Store Picked Mint Leaves

The leaves at the top of the plant are called “true” leaves because they don’t fall off during regular growth cycles as other lower leaves do. To propagate a plant, cut the stem just below a leaf joint, about one or two nodes. A node is a place where leaves branch off from the stem.

Store them in an airtight container such as a plastic bag or jar with a lid when the leaves are dry. You can also freeze your mint leaves. Put them on a flat surface and freeze them for about an hour until they feel firm to the touch. Transfer them to an airtight container once frozen.

Do You Pick Mint Leaves From the Top or Bottom?

When you’re picking mint leaves, it’s essential to know the right way to pluck them. Picking from the top or bottom can actually kill your plant. Instead, always begin by pinching the stem of the leaf between your thumb and index finger, then gently pull it away from the stem. This will protect your mint plant so that you can enjoy fresh and flavorful mint for many months.

Plant your own mint garden by cutting a few sprigs and adding them to a small pot of moist potting soil. You’ll know it’s time to transplant them to a larger pot when you see new leaves appearing. Add the fresh flavor of mint to your favorite dishes by snipping a few leaves and adding them to your recipes!

If you’re looking for a delicious way to liven up your salads, iced tea, or even chocolate chip cookies, mint is the perfect choice. But before you start picking mint leaves, be sure to check out these methods so you don’t accidentally kill the plant.


There are many ways to pick mint leaves without killing the plant. The first step is to cut off any stems submerged in water or hot tea so they won’t die. Next, you can either use scissors and snip at the leafy edges of the stem, holding it up with your fingers, which should release a few leaves at once until some tender new shoots come out from underneath it.

If you’re picking live plants for planting elsewhere after harvesting, just take care about how much soil you remove when pulling away roots as well. We hope this blog post on how to pick mint leaves without killing plant has been helpful. Let us know your thoughts.

Jennifer Branett
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