Since you’re here, I’m guessing you’re also like me, someone who frequently craves the lovely flavor of a fresh sprig of mint. The wilting leaves found in the supermarket aisles can’t compare! So if you’re looking for a guide on how to grow mint indoors, you’re at the right place!
After getting sick of buying crispy, half-dead bunches of mint time after time, I started looking for ways to grow mint indoors. To my surprise, I found that it’s a straightforward process. Even propagating mint isn’t all that complicated, and it can be done in a few ways, in different mediums. Nowadays, I do not need to buy mint, as I grow enough by myself.
Growing mint indoors is a better idea than growing it outdoors, as mint tends to take over the garden as a cover plant. It’s hard to control and soon becomes a headache. At best, you should keep it in a container to keep it in check. But growing mint outdoors isn’t what we’re talking about today. I’ll explain, step by step, how to grow healthy and fragrant mint indoors, so you can use it for whatever you want.
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How to Grow Mint Indoors: Based on Propagating Material
Whenever we think about growing something, we think about getting a hold of its seed. In some cases, you can do it successfully in the case of mint, but not always. You’ll see a lot of mint hybrids nowadays, and they don’t produce viable seeds. However, if you can get your hands on some viable mint seeds, you should give propagation a try.
For growing mint indoors, you can sow the seed anytime. But make sure to use well-drained, moist, and rich soil. It’s best if the soil is slightly on the acidic side. You can soak mint seeds if you want them to germinate quickly, but they generally don’t need this step.
You can spread them evenly on a pot of well-drained soil and cover them with a thin layer of potting soil or vermiculite. Water carefully so the soil is moist but not soggy. Within a couple of weeks, the seeds will germinate. After seeing two sets of leaves come out on top of the seedlings, you can transplant them into individual containers.
Personally, I prefer using stem cuttings to start a new mint plant. However, the first few times, I made a grave mistake. Let me tell you about it. I first tried to propagate mint from a stem cutting I picked out of the supermarket bunch. I didn’t choose a good, healthy stem, and it was already stressed from staying in the drying environment.
And I did manage to grow roots from the stem, but it didn’t give me a vigorous plant. Nowadays, I know better. I know that the trick is to get a healthy, fresh stem cutting, which you can get from a friend’s mint plant. Take a three-inch-long, robust-looking stem cutting.
You can dip the end in rooting hormone, but I find that roots come out even without this step. Snip off the lower leaves on the stem, and stick the end of the stem into water or potting soil. An additional step you could follow is covering the stem and the pot with a loose plastic bag. The stem would generally grow roots within 2-3 weeks.
If you’re trying to grow roots in water, change the water daily, and clean the container every 5-7 days. Once roots show up on the stem, you could plant the stem in the soil. For me, this has been the easiest, most effective method of growing mint plants indoors.
I call this propagation method “borrowing.” I have friends who grow mint outdoors and are usually exasperated by the plants’ propensity to take over their garden entirely. I take some of that off their hand. I’m helping them, obviously!
I take away a tiny portion of the mint plant that has some root attached to it for this method. Even if this portion is small, don’t worry. Pot it in well-draining soil, and in no time, the plant will thrive and grow boisterously.
How to Grow Mint Indoors: Based on Growth Medium
Growing mint inside, just like any other indoor plant, is an excellent idea, in my opinion. It’s sweet-scented, and the bright green foliage looks beautiful on a table or windowsill. Keep it in an area with indirect light, like your kitchen, and you can snip off a sprig and use it.
Growing it in containers indoors also means you don’t have to worry about it taking over your garden or lawn. Be careful about letting the overflowing stems touch ground because it will let down its roots at the first chance.
Here’s a disclaimer- mint will not grow indefinitely in water. However, for the sake of convenience, you can keep a few stems in water in your kitchen. Just snip a handful of healthy stems from a mother plant, take off the lower leaves, and put them in a pot of water. Soon, the stems will grow roots, and you can enjoy the leaves whenever you want.
Of course, after a while, you’ll see the leaves yellowing. You’ll have to discard these stems and start over from the first step. Though it’s not going to persist very long, if you’re thinking about how to grow fresh mint leaves indoors, this isn’t a bad idea. You don’t have to worry about the mess from soil and fertilizers or about watering schedules.
Requirements for Growing Mint Indoors
The first thing you should maintain for growing mint is to provide it with suitable soil. Mint loves moist soil. You should pick a soil for it that’s well-drained but still retains moisture. You should arrange a watering schedule that doesn’t let the soil completely dry out between watering.
Rich, slightly acidic soil is preferable, although mint is hardy and can grow virtually anywhere. If you think the soil is inadequate, you can try adding organic matter on top to improve its condition. Organic fertilizer also helps in these cases, but let’s talk about that later.
Mint does not mind full sun if it gets watered frequently enough. However, since you’re going to plant mint indoors, I suggest growing it in partial shade. That’s the best way for it to thrive, I’ve found over the years. Keep the pot of mint on a windowsill that receives plenty of sunlight. As the plant is indoors, it will inevitably get less sunlight than if it was being grown indoors.
It should have full morning sunlight and partial afternoon shade. As you grow the mint, rotate the pot occasionally since the stems would inevitably lean towards the light. If not turned, the stems might even grow lanky and unsightly. Rotating will ensure that all the leaves on all the sides of the plant get evenly distributed light.
Another thing to consider about growing mint indoors is getting enough sunlight during the summer and spring months, but not in winter. When sunlight becomes inadequate, you should put the plant underneath LED plant grow lights. Winter sunlight isn’t bright enough for mint.
Mint likes water and moisture, so much so that you can even grow mint for a short time in the water. However, remember that it likes to be moist, not soggy when you’re watering mint plants. The container should provide optimum drainage. If the plant’s base is saturated, it will get sick very quickly.
It would help if you always timed your watering in the morning so that when the sun is at its brightest, the plant has enough moisture to battle it. I suggest not watering mint in the evenings, as the container will stay waterlogged, and it’s a recipe for inviting pests and diseases.
Generally, your mint plant would not need fertilizer if it’s grown in rich soil. Unnecessary fertilizing may even mess with the plant’s flavor. However, if there is a need, you shouldn’t let the plant starve. Adding organic matter on top of the soil does help as a soil amendment. In the warmer months, you can use a liquid organic fertilizer every three weeks or so. In the winter months, fertilize once every six weeks.
Tips to Grow Mint
- Plant mint in non-porous containers like plastic or ceramic because clay or terra cotta pots will lose moisture quickly.
- Prune your mint plant regularly to keep its bushy appearance and vigorous growth. If you let it grow unchecked, it will grow lanky. It would help if you snipped sprigs and leaves when you needed them, but do not take off more than one-third of the plant at any given time.
- Make sure to harvest the sprigs before the plant flowers. If you want to keep harvesting, pinch off the buds as soon as they appear. Flowering will ruin the mint’s flavor.
- If you see rust-red spots on the underside of the mint leaves, try allowing the plant to dry in between watering. Using a mild fungicide also helps.
- You can try misting mint plants to give them more moisture. In the saucer below their pot, you can add some pebbles or marbles to improve moisture further.
Mint is such an incredible herb! You can add it in sweet dishes, savory dishes, hot and cold drinks, and even chocolate and ice cream come flavored with it. Now that you know how to grow mint indoors, I do not doubt you will use this guide and be the proud parent of mint plants.
Once you have your mint plant, you can use it in cooking, to remedy a sudden stomach ache, or even as a vibrant indoor plant. The possibilities are endless!