Summer has all of us thirsty for something refreshing. Mint is a popular flavor for drinks because it is not only good for you, but also has a refreshing taste. In this blog, we will be discussing how to grow mint indoors. We will go over the supplies needed, the setup, and the steps to take care of and harvest the mint.
There are numerous herbs in the Mentha genus that are used in cuisine and have cultural contexts from which they originate. Mint can be grown year-round, regardless of the type. If you don’t have a garden, or if it’s difficult for you to garden because of mobility issues, There is a solution. Gardening is a more accessible way to try growing mint indoors.
Mint (Mentha in taxonomical terms) herb gardens are success stories. They are usually quite full, very aromatic, and productive. Some people remove outdoor mint soon after it starts growing because it takes over! You can grow mint indoors and harvest it from your herb garden throughout the year. Mint leaves can be used to make tea, marinate meat, or even make homemade cosmetics. Mint can handle a lot of tough conditions and will still keep producing leaves even when it’s under pressure.
One benefit of growing mint indoors is that you avoid the risk of planting a somewhat invasive herb in your garden, so you won’t damage the hard work you’ve done in the soil. It’s an ecological gardening practice!
Best Mint Varieties
Mint is a plant that does not require much care, both indoors and outdoors. All it really needs is for someone to check up on it occasionally and make sure it has enough water. Here are the 4 most common mint varieties that you can grow indoors:
- Spearmint – The most common variety of mint. Because it contains less menthol than peppermint, it is best used in savory cuisine and sauces, as well as in cold drinks, cocktails, and teas.
- Peppermint – A cross between spearmint and water mint, peppermint has been used for thousands of years as herbal medicine. It is an excellent addition to chocolatey desserts, ice cream, teas, and potpourris.
- Apple Mint – It is notable for its fuzzy and fragrant leaves and has a fruity and minty flavor. It’s perfect for making iced and hot teas, salads, and homemade jelly.
- Chocolate Mint – Offering just a subtle hint of chocolate among the minty-ness, chocolate mint leaves are great in desserts, bread, and teas.
Ways To Grow Mint Indoors
1.) Using Soil
Mint plants do well in moist soil conditions. If the soil dries out completely, the roots will die back, and it will be tough for the plant to recover. However, if the roots are constantly exposed to standing water, they will rot.
Equipment Needed For Growing Mint Indoors Using Soil
We prefer using a Ceramic Self Watering Planter for your mint plant indoors, filled with a standard potting mix that self-regulates to keep the soil at consistent moisture for it to thrive (and no watering guesswork for you).
To set one up:
- Fill up the planter with dry soil from the bag, gently tamping down the top.
- Dump the soil into a large mixing bowl and add water until the soil is moist, but not sopping wet (about ½ Cup)
- Mix in 1 tablespoon of the Balanced Blend Plant Food.
If you are using a regular pot, it should be a little bit bigger (at least 8″ / 1 gal) and will need drainage holes to prevent it from being overwatered. Let the top of the soil dry out between watering.
Mint plants will also grow well if they are kept in a pot with soil indoors. If you are using a regular pot, make sure it is at least 4” high and has good drainage. Water your plant every 2-3 days. The top layer of soil should be dry before you water the plant again.
2.) Using Hydroponics
You can grow mint in a hydroponic environment, just like you can grow basil. This is because it loves moist conditions.
3.) As Microgreens
We don’t recommend growing mint microgreens because the seed is tiny, slow to germinate, and very expensive. To grow a small amount of mint could cost you $15 in seed cost.
Caring For Indoor Mint
So what is required to grow mint indoors? Since mint is not a difficult herb to grow, a few simple steps will help you get it to grow.
Lighting & Temperature
A mint plant needs at least 6 hours of sunlight to grow properly. The plant needs at least 12 hours of fluorescent light every day. If your plant does not get enough sunlight, it will continue to grow towards the sun. To prevent this, rotate your plant frequently between places where it will get direct sunlight and places where it will be under grow lights. This will also help your mint plants develop strong roots.
You will need to factor in the need for a structure to hang fluorescent lights from above your mint plants. They should also be hung close to your plants to provide the sunlight that members of the mint family typically need.
If you have a small space, one light bulb could be enough. A setup that is four feet long would be great for your plants. To provide enough light to your mind plant, follow the directions specific to the grow tent or hydroponic system that you’re using.
Mint grows best between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Mint grows well indoors because most homes have a temperature that is suitable for it. Mint often does well when it is not taken care of often, but you will need to pay close attention to your heating and cooling system if you grow it indoors. You should avoid putting pots or other containers near the air conditioner, as the heat can make the soil in them dry out quickly. And dry cool air can cause root rot.
Water & Humidity
Mint is easy to grow and does not require a lot of attention. You cannot over or under-water it. If mint is left in moist soil, it can damage its roots. Mint can be damaged from too much dryness too. If your mint plant feels light when you pick it up, it needs to be watered.
Mint is one plant that enjoys high humidity. To keep your plant healthy, water it regularly and mist the leaves with a spray bottle. You can also put the container of plants on top of a tray of pebbles that are sitting in water. The water will evaporate and create humid conditions for the plant. This isn’t necessary if you’re watering enough.
Growing Medium & Container
To grow mint indoors, plant it in a pot with high-quality potting soil large enough to accommodate the plant’s vigorous growth. Mint grows well in self-watering pots, especially if the soil dries out quickly between waterings.
Solutions for growing in soilless media are also available for those who do not want to use soil. Coconut coir is a good alternative for those who don’t want to use peat moss. To start your plants, you can either use a container or a coir starter pellet. Once your plant has started growing, transfer it to a pot.
In hydroponics, you can grow mint in lightweight expanded clay aggregate, which pulls moisture into pockets that can be absorbed by your mint plant.
The end result of all of this is that you need good drainage for mint. The plant doesn’t need to be in moist soil, but it will grow better if the soil is slightly dry between watering and there is high humidity.
You won’t need fertilizer for your indoor mint plant. Mint should have a liquid fertilizer applied every three weeks during warmer seasons, and every six weeks during winter. In hydroponic systems, it is recommended that you use a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer and adjust the pH of your nutrient solution as needed after adding fertilizer. The same schedule goes for a container.
Trimming aromatic herbs, like mint, helps them to flourish. All mint varieties will grow more if their foliage is pruned. This can be done by clipping or snapping off the top few leaves, just before the next growth point where the two leaves grow on either side of the mint stem. Cutting stems that are too young will result in the cutting not taking root. It is best to prune cuttings that are a few inches long.
Indoor mint can be grown from seed or cuttings. Seeds can be planted in the soil of a pot or container and will eventually sprout. Try to plant just a few mint seeds per container, as it will grow quickly and take over your garden.
To clone a Mint plant, use sharp scissors to cut a stem from the plant. Place the stem in a clean glass of water. First, cut a couple 6” shoots of new growth (avoid anything that is woody). Next, remove the lower leaves, so the bottom half is just stem. Add three inches of water to a glass, ensuring that the leafcutter ant’s cut leaves are submerged. Place the glass with the flower in it on a bright windowsill and change the water every few days. After a couple of weeks, roots should emerge and you will be able to transplant them into a container. You don’t need to use extra rooting hormones with Mint plants, and it won’t do any harm.
- Cut 6” section of new growth
- Remove leaves halfway and place them in the water on a sunny window sill
- Wait 7-14 days for a few ½ inch roots to form and carefully transplant into its final container.
How To Transplant Mint
Live starter plants can help you get a head start on your first harvest. Choose the fullest plant available when you are at a garden center, and check it thoroughly for pests.
The leaves should be a dark green color, without any holes, spots, or curled edges. A good idea is to keep your plant separate from other plants for a week when you first bring it home, to make sure it doesn’t have any pests.
Be sure that your seedling is free of pests and diseases before you transplant it into its final home.
- Remove some soil from its final planter – leaving enough space for the bottom of the seedling to be just higher than the soil surface.
- Hold on to the base of the stem with one hand, and turn the pot over while gently pulling the seedling. Giving the pot a few squeezes can help dislodge it.
- Place in its final container and fill around it with soil so that it’s tight, but not compacted.
Harvest Your Indoor Mint Plant
As your mint plant continues to grow, keep harvesting the leaves to encourage further growth. If you want a couple of leaves, pick them from the bottom where new ones are emerging. If you want to get a bigger harvest, cut one of the stems directly. You should not harvest more than a third of the plant at a time.
How To Use Your Freshly-Harvested Mint Leaves In Cooking
Mint leaves have a refreshing taste that can enhance both sweet and savory dishes. Here are just some ways they can be used in cooking:
- Mint tea
- Top on/mix with pasta
- Make pesto
- Add to cocktails
- Mix with salads
How To Preserve Mint Leaves
There are several ways to preserve or keep your herbs fresh, and here are just some of the easiest and the ones we recommend the most:
- Lazy person technique. It involves keeping the fresh herbs in their original packaging and simply storing them in the fridge.
- Storing the herbs in a glass of water inside the fridge. You can do this by cutting the end of the stem of your herb, filling a glass jar or cup with water, and placing your herb inside. Almost like a vase or bouquet of herbs!
- Keep in a glass of water under natural lighting.
- Wrap loosely in a damp paper towel.
- Freeze them herbs! Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs such as mint to use at a later time! All you need are some ice cube trays and a freezer, and you’re all set.
If you’re new to indoor growing, fear not! Mint is one herb that won’t disappoint. Mint is a very versatile plant that can be grown in many different conditions. They are known to be very resilient and fast-growing, making them a great choice for any garden. With the right growing conditions, you’ll have mint year-round.