Do you often wish to have a few fresh twigs or leaves of herbs to garnish your dishes?
It often happens that we run out of parsley, mint, or such other herbs at home.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your own plant growing in your house so that you could pluck a few leaves and use it whenever you want?
You don’t need to have a large kitchen garden or a garden in your backyard to be able to grow certain herbs and plants.
Mint is one of those herbs that can grow without sunlight. Fragrant, fast-growing, and one of the most used culinary herbs – mint can be grown indoors. It thrives easily in a potted environment just as well as out in the garden.
Why Grow Mint Indoors
Mint (Mentha species) is a perennial that produces new foliage all year long if the stems are not killed by frost, making it one of the easiest herbs to grow inside. Unlike many other herbs, mint is very easy to grow indoors, as long as you give the plant enough light and consistent moisture (more on both of these in a later section).
Mint also makes a surprisingly beautiful houseplant. You may enjoy mint’s crinkly green leaves and how the stems of some varieties tumble down over the sides of the pot. You can even have mint plants bloom indoors in the dead of winter.
Yes, mint is attractive, but most of us don’t grow herbs for their good looks. We grow them for their flavors, and what could be better than snipping your own fresh, homegrown mint leaves to make a cup of hot tea on a cold day? Since mint is constantly making new stems and leaves, you’ll always have a few sprigs ready for harvest.
Another reason to learn how to grow mint indoors is for the fragrance. Whenever you need a little pick-you-up on a dreary day, you simply pinch off a leaf, rub it between you thumb and index finger, and inhale. The fragrance of mint is energy-boosting and invigorating. You can even toss a few leaves into your bath water for a fragrant, muscle-soothing soak.
One final benefit of growing mint indoors is a lack of pests. It is very unlikely that any houseplant pests will attack your mint plants.
Sourcing Mint Plants For Indoor Growing
When considering how to grow mint indoors, your thoughts might first turn to sourcing the plants. You have several options.
The easiest route is to purchase a starter plant at your favorite local nursery. However, if it’s autumn or winter and you’re just learning how to grow mint indoors, you might find your local nursery out of stock. Most nurseries carry herb plants only in the spring. If this is the case for you, consider starting a new mint houseplant from a root division or a stem cutting.
- Sourcing an indoor mint plant from a root division:
If you already have a mint plant growing in a container or in the ground – or if you have a friend or family member who does – it’s easy to dig up a division of the plant, pot it up, and bring it indoors. As long as there is a section of root attached to a stem, it’s a viable division. You can start with a large division or a small one. Mint grows fast, so even if you start with a tiny division, before you know it, the plant will fill your pot.
- Sourcing an indoor mint plant from a stem cutting:
This method of growing mint indoors only requires a severed mint stem about 3 inches long. Mint cuttings easily take root. Simply remove the lowest leaves, stick the bottom inch of the cut stem into a pot of new potting soil, water it in, cover the pot and cutting with a plastic baggie, and put it on a windowsill for 3 weeks. When 3 weeks have passed, remove the baggie and you have yourself a new mint plant for growing indoors.
How To Grow Mint Indoors: 3 Growing Methods
1. How to grow mint indoors – in soil
This is the most familiar way to grow mint inside.
Choose a pot that’s at least 8 inches in diameter and has a drainage hole in the bottom. It may be a decorative ceramic pot, but plastic works too. Avoid clay pots because they dry out too quickly.
Use a high-quality, general potting soil to pot your mint plant, making sure to leave about a half inch of head space between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot. This acts as a reservoir and keeps irrigation water from running off too quickly.
Potted mint plants can live for years as houseplants.
2. How to grow mint indoors – in water
Mint can also be grown indoors in water. The main benefit of this method is the lack of soil. No mess, no watering, and never any fungus gnats.
However, mint doesn’t live forever in water. Eventually the leaves will yellow and the plant will stop growing. However, keeping a few water-rooted stems in a jar above the sink means you’ll be able to make the occasional harvest.
To start growing mint indoors in water, simply take some stem cuttings from a mother plant, remove all the lower leaves, and prop the stems in a glass of water. Change the water and wash the glass every five to seven days. They will quickly develop roots and can be grown in the water-filled jar for a few weeks or months, depending on the growing conditions.
3. How to grow mint indoors – hydroponically
It’s also possible to learn how to grow mint indoors by using hydroponics.
In fact, mint is a great crop to grow using a commercially made or a DIY hydroponic system. The lack of soil definitely translates to less mess, but hydroponic systems are more expensive than soil-based growing. The nutrient solutions are more costly than traditional fertilizers, too. However, if you plan to grow a lot of mint, hydroponics is worth researching.
Care for Mint Growing Indoors
When growing mint inside, there are a few things necessary for its continual care. To maximize the growth of your indoor mint plant, you’ll need to provide it with a few things.
Location and Sunlight
Mint requires a very bright indoor location. Outdoors, mint can tolerate a good bit of shade. But inside, the more light, the better. Otherwise, the plant will stretch for the light and become leggy and pale.
Choose a position where it can receive that much sun and proper air circulation. Near a window or door, if you can keep it on a windowsill or a balcony, it would be best!
If you don’t have a sunny, north-facing window that receives sun through the better part of the day, consider purchasing a small grow light to install over your mint plant.
One of the most straightforward factors to consider when learning how to grow mint indoors is watering. Unlike some other herbs and houseplants, mint is far from demanding.
Mint loves moist soil, remember moist soil not overly wet. You should be careful (especially in winter) with watering and don’t soak the plant both in the morning and evening to pamper it. Just keep the plant well watered and slightly moist. Both underwatering and overwatering should be avoided.
Herbs growing indoors or anywhere shouldn’t be fertilized heavily, or else they lose flavor. Feeding the mint plant occasionally using water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer should be enough. You can also mulch the top layer of the pot with compost or manure.
Pinching and Pruning
Regular ‘haircuts’ are necessary to keep your mint plant attractive all the time.
Pinch off the tips regularly to encourage the plant to grow more branches and become bushier. Prune off the lanky, spindly, and dried branches regularly to keep the plant in shape.
Mint loves moderate temperature – it should be saved from cold air. If you live in a warm tropical climate, keep it away from hot and dry air. Also, you’ll need to water the plant regularly. The indoor temperature should be around at least 65-70 F (18-21 C) in the day and 55-60 F (13-15 C) at the night.
Harvesting Mint Indoors
To harvest your indoor mint plants, remove individual leaves as needed, or clip off entire stems for drying or fresh use. Don’t be afraid to cut the plant back substantially a few times a year. This encourages the production of flavorful new growth and encourages a bushy growth habit.
You may just cut your plants back all the way to the soil in the mid-spring. This forces the production of all new deep green and flavorful leaves a few weeks later. It rejuvenates the plant just before its period of most active growth.
Growing mint indoors year-round is a fruitful and fun project. As you’ll soon learn, mint truly is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors.