by Jennifer Poindexter
Mint is one of those herbs which you either love or you hate.
Many people enjoy its fresh flavors as a garnish for their food or even for making homemade teas. The problem with mint is that it can easily take over a grow space. For this reason, it’s a perfect candidate as an indoor herb. If you’d like to grow something useful and pretty, inside your home, mint might be for you.
Here’s what you should know to grow mint successfully indoors.
What You Might Need to Grow Mint Indoors
Growing mint indoors isn’t a complicated process. There are a few things you might want to invest in upfront to make the process even easier.
To start, mint must be grown in a container. It’s up to you which style of container you use. The herb can grow in a typical planter, window boxes, or even a shallow bucket.
The key is to make sure that it’s well-draining. Once you’ve found the right growing container, you must consider lighting.
Some people are fortunate enough to live in bright houses. I, unfortunately, am not one of them. My house has many windows, but also many things casting shade over my home.
Therefore, my house is dark. For this reason, grow lights are a necessity in my home. If you can’t provide six to eight hours of natural lighting, you’ll need grow lights.
They can be used as the full-time growing location for your mint or as a supplement. Either way, you should invest in them prior to bringing mint indoors.
I must note, don’t feel pressured to purchase expensive grow lights. There are other DIY lighting options that might be more affordable.
In the past, I’ve used shop lights to grow plants and seedlings indoors. You may also be able to find other LED lights that would work well in your set-up. Be sure to shop around.
Finally, if using grow lights, it’s important to have a flat surface for your mint to grow on and a shelf over it.
The shelf provides a place for the light to hang from, if needed. A flat growing surface is ideal because it will hold your plant securely under the lighting.
Take all of this into consideration when crafting your indoor grow space. Having the right set-up can be the key to having a positive indoor growing experience when raising mint.
Growing Conditions for Mint Indoors
When growing mint indoors, it should be grown in a container. This is great news for most gardeners because it not only allows you to control more of the growing environment, but it also keeps mint from spreading.
Be sure to choose a container with large drainage holes. You should fill it with quality soil which is also well-draining.
Mint must be grown in a window where it’ll receive approximately six hours of sunlight per day or more. If you can’t provide this amount of sunlight, consider growing the herb full-time under grow lights. You can also use them to supplement any natural lighting it might be lacking.
Temperatures are also important to mint. It prefers temperatures around 70-degrees Fahrenheit during the day and can handle temperatures no lower than 55-degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Therefore, you won’t want to place your plant too close to an air conditioning vent, heating vent, fireplace, or woodstove. All of these things could cause the temperatures to fluctuate outside of the plant’s preferred temperatures.
By taking all of this into consideration, you should be able to provide your mint plants with an ideal growing location to get things off on the right foot.
How to Plant Mint Indoors
There are multiple ways to grow mint indoors. The first method is from seed. Plant the mint seeds ¼ inch deep in the soil.
Keep the soil damp by spraying it with a water bottle. This allows things to stay moist without overwatering the delicate seeds.
They’ll take one to two weeks to germinate. Once sprouted, you’ll need to pick the strongest plant in the container.
Remove the weaker plants by snipping them away at soil level with a pair of scissors. This avoids damaging the strong plant’s roots.
The next way to grow mint is by placing a cutting of a mature plant in water. The cutting should be approximately six inches long.
Remove any of the lower leaves of the cutting and place it in a vase of water. The vase should be placed in a window where it’ll receive six or more hours of light.
Over the coming weeks, the plant should form roots and begin to produce more mint. Eventually, you’ll need to transplant it into soil, or it’ll stop producing. This will be your preference, though.
Another way to grow mint is by dividing a larger mint plant. When the plant becomes root bound, it’s time to remove it from the pot.
Instead of moving the one plant to a larger pot, you can divide the roots into multiple smaller plants. Plant them in containers with well-draining soil, and press firmly around the base of the plant to keep air away from the roots.
The final way to grow mint is to take a cutting from a mature plant. Six inches is a good size for a cutting. Dip it into rooting hormone and plant it in soil.
Keep the soil moist, without drowning the cutting, over the next month. It should form roots and begin growing as any other mint plant.
These are a few ways you can either start mint from seed or use mature plants to form more mint plants when growing this herb indoors.
Caring for Mint Indoors
Mint is a low-maintenance plant, but there are a few things it will need from you. To begin, it needs water.
The plant likes consistent moisture without being overpowered. Therefore, you can practice the deep watering method.
Place the plant in your kitchen sink and allow water to run towards the base of it until water runs from the drainage hole in the planter.
Allow the plant to finish draining before placing it back in its growing area. When it’s time to water again, insert your finger into the soil. If it’s dry to the first knuckle, the plant needs more water. If not, hold off on watering.
Watering the plant this way should allow you to keep the soil moist without drowning the plant in the process.
The next thing mint will need from you is humidity. There are multiple ways to go about this. You can grow the plant in your kitchen or bathroom, if the lighting is right, because they’re naturally humid rooms of the home.
If not, you can spritz the plant with water multiple times per day to raise humidity around the plant. Finally, you can place the planter in a larger pot.
The pot should have rocks in the bottom and water placed over them. The water shouldn’t reach the planter where the mint is growing. This will raise the humidity around the herb.
Mint should be fertilized once every six weeks. Use a balanced fertilizer which is diluted by half. Be mindful of the strength of the fertilizer.
If it’s too intense, the plant will lose flavor. Finally, be sure you rotate the planters your mint is growing in.
This will allow all sides of the plant to receive equal lighting. If you don’t rotate the planter, the plant will lean to stretch towards the light.
Take care of your mint plants by supplying what they need, and they will hopefully grow gorgeously for you.
Pests and Diseases Which Impact Mint Indoors
Thankfully, mint is frequently used to deter pests. Therefore, there are no true threats of pests to your mint plants.
The only threats of disease are usually fungus based. Avoid overwatering your mint plants, from germination through their mature stage, and ensure they’re surrounded by well-draining soil.
If you do these things, you shouldn’t have issues with disease.
How to Harvest Mint
Mint is another herb which is easy to harvest. When the foliage begins to appear lush and green, it’s time to cash in on your hard work.
Use a pair of scissors to cut the foliage away from the plant. This should avoid harming the herb and therefore, it’ll continue to produce. You can use the herb fresh, or dry it for later use.
I hope this tutorial has changed your mind about mint. If you worry about it taking over your gardening space outdoors, know that you can grow it in a container indoors.
This should allow you to control it while also enjoying what this herb can provide. Take care of your mint, and your indoor growing experience should be a pleasant one.