Your Ultimate Guide on How to Grow Mint Indoors
Mint or Mentha, is a beautiful, refreshing herb that is so popular for so many reasons.
It’s very popular as a sauce served with roast lamb and a number of other dishes. My favorite is mint tea, a refreshing pick-me-up I love to drink, especially chilled in summer.
I also find that drinking mint tea helps ease my hay fever symptoms during hay fever season.
When grown outdoors in the garden, mint has a reputation for going wild and taking over. A great way to prevent this is to grow mint in pots, which also makes it suitable as an indoor herb.
Given its versatility as cooking ingredient, mint makes a great addition to your indoor herb garden, especially if its located in or close to your kitchen.
Mint is a very forgiving plant to grow, making it perfect for newbie indoor gardeners.
Just follow our easy mint care instructions for growing mint indoors, and you shouldn’t have too many problems.
Growing Mint Indoors
Outdoors, mint can handle shade but indoors, the more sunlight the better, for potted mint.
North facing window sills are ideal for giving mint the direct sunlight it needs.
If this isn’t possible in your home, then consider using a small growth light.
If your potted mint plant starts to look a bit pale and miserable, it’s probably because it’s not getting enough sunlight.
Mint can grow in a wide variety of temperatures and being indoors away from frosty conditions, it can grow all year round.
Like most herbs, its main growing period is during the warmer months.
During winter, try to keep your plant as warm as possible by avoiding draughts and direct contact with window sills.
Watering Mint Indoors
During the growth season of late spring to late summer, it’s important to keep the soil moist.
This is especially so for potted mint that’s kept in direct sunlight.
If the top half inch of the soil mix is dry, then your mint plant will need to be watered.
During summer, it’s also a good idea to give your mint a good flushing, by moving it to a bath tub or basin and give it a decent soaking.
Let the pot completely drain all excess water through the drainage holes at its base. Then move back to its sunny location.
Even though mint is a very forgiving herb, try to avoid over watering, especially in the cooler months.
During winter, you can cut watering back to around half the level you would in summer, bearing in mind that indoor mint will still be active.
Soil Mix for Mint
Mint really isn’t too fussy when it comes to soil type, so feel free to use any good quality, well- draining soil based mix.
During periods of high growth, use an organic, liquid vegetable fertilizer, every 3- 4 weeks. Avoid over feeding mint as the tips can turn dark, signalling burning roots.
Seaweed based feeds are also ideal as they are rich in nutrients.
Given that mint will still grow indoors during the cooler months, it will still enjoy a feed, but perhaps at half the rate/ quantity you would over summer. Just don’t over-do it.
As with basil, try to avoid fertilizers rich in phosphorous (P) or potassium (K). These fertilizers encourage flower growth which competes with leaf growth, and of course its mint leaves that you’re really after.
How to Prune Mint Indoors
Potted mint needs to be cut right back two or three times a year to encourage new flavorful growth and bushiness.
Cut the mint plant right back to the soil mid spring to rejuvenate it just before the most active growth period.
This will create a burst of new flavorsome deep green leaves, just a few weeks later.
Regular trims are also a good way to further encourage new growth and keep your plants nice and bushy.
Using herb scissors or needle-nose pruners, cut just above a set of leaves and two new stems will appear from the leaf nodes, causing each stem to branch into two.
You can easily propagate mint through root division or by cuttings.
You can plant mint seeds indoors around 8-10 weeks before the last frost, keeping the soil moist until the seeds germinate 10 – 15 days later.
Seed grown mint is usually ready to harvest within 2-3 months.
How to Pot Mint
It’s important to select a pot that’s at least 8 inches in diameter and has drainage holes at the base.
Plant in a high quality, well-draining soil based mix, making sure that you leave about half an inch of head space between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot.
This will ensure that a reservoir of water is created, s0 that the water doesn’t run off too quickly.
As potted mint can last for years, it may be necessary to repot in a slightly larger pot every year or so, to prevent the plant from becoming root bound.
How To Store Fresh Mint
People store mint in many ways such as drying mint and keeping it in an airtight container. However, in my opinion, the best way to store fresh mint is to freeze it.
By freezing fresh mint, you retain the freshness of flavor and fragrance of the plant, more so than when drying it. I like to take spoonfuls of fresh mint and add them to ice cube containers, topping up with water.
This way, you can quickly and easily add flavorful mint cubes to your cooking or beverages, just as you would add a stock cube.
Types of Mint
Mints are loosely divided into one of two categories according to their fragrance;
The spearmints (M.spicata) and the peppermints (M. piperita).
There are literally hundreds of different varieties of mint for you to explore, all with their own unique flavors.
Here’s a few of the more popular types of mint;
You’ll love the citrusy flavor and smell of this beautiful mint variety.
Growing indoors to 6 to 8 inches high and 12 inches or so wide, and with its bright green, broad leaves, it truly is a very decorative plant to have in your indoor garden.
Take advantage of its lovely aroma and flavor by adding orange mint to a fruit punch, herbal tea or potpourris.
Or, why not spoil yourself to a trip to the spa by adding a handful of fresh orange mint leaves to your bath!
Chocolate mint falls into the peppermint category and features dark-green oval leaves with cocoa- colored tints on purple stems.
Indoors, it grows to about 12 inches tall and about the same in width.
Despite its name, don’t expect strong chocolate flavors or fragrances with this mint, unless you have a very active imagination.
But chocolate mint does have a strong peppermint flavor and aroma that makes a great addition to baked goods, salads and of course, herbal teas.
It’s said to be helpful in treating colds when consumed as a hot tea and in aiding digestion and refreshing the palate when consumed after dinner.
No need for an active imagination with this mint variety, as true to its name, you’ll immediately enjoy its sweet, fruity, pineapple scent.
Indoors, pineapple mint will grow up to 12 inches in height and about the same in width.
With its fuzzy, oval-shaped, variegated, dark green and cream-colored leaves who’s stems keep growing in a trailing fashion, pineapple mint is looks stunning in hanging baskets.
Mint for Health & Beauty
Mint is high in vitamins, especially vitamins A, C, and B2, as well as essential minerals such as copper, iron, calcium and manganese.
As a result, the health benefits of mint leaves are many and have been enjoyed by people for thousands of years.
It contains rosmarinic acid, a powerful anti-oxidant and ant-inflammatory, that relieves seasonal allergy symptoms such as hay fever.
Being a natural source of menthol, mint when consumed as a tea, can reduce the symptoms of a cold. It relieves sore throats, and breaks up mucus and phlegm.
Mint also has a strong track record when it comes to calming an upset stomach and reducing the discomfort of indigestion.
Mint has long been researched by scientists, with studies showing the positive effect of peppermint oil in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
So why not enjoy the many health benefits of mint leaves, as a tea or as a delicious cooking ingredient.
As previously mentioned, mint is high in vitamin A, an anti-oxidant known for its skin protection and anti-ageing properties.
Not only this, mint also contains salicylic acid and has strong anti-bacterial properties.
What this means is that fresh mint leaves, when applied to your skin as a poultice or infusion, can play an important role in your overall skin care regime.
Consider these benefits of applying mint as a poultice or infusion to your shin;
- Refreshes and soothes your skin
- Leaves your skin looking bright and reduces the appearance of blemishes
- Hydrates and tones your skin
- Tightens and cleans your pores
- Reduces the appearance of blackheads
As an anti-inflammatory, mint is great for treating skin problems such as acne, rashes, itchiness and insect bites.
Not only is a mint treatment excellent for improving the look of your skin, you’ll also smell great too!
Why not add fresh mint leaves to a face mask and enjoy the skin care benefits of this amazing herb.
Trouble Shooting- Common Mint Care Issues
Mint is quite a hardy plant and generally quite hard to kill. When grown indoors, mint is not likely to be affected too badly by pest or disease.
Here are some of the most common mint growing issues;
Problem: black, yellow or orange spots on leaves
Solution: Remove from your indoor garden and destroy. Always check for symptoms when buying plants
Problem: leaves turning yellow & drooping
Cause: aphids or spider mites
Solution: Shower the plant to remove the insects or use insecticidal soap
Problem: looking dry and colorless
Cause: Not enough water
Solution: Keep up your watering, especially in summer
Problem: Stunted growth, lacking color
Cause: Lack of full sun
Solution: Move your plant to a sunnier spot or use a small grow light.
Mint Tea Recipe
Mint tea is my favorite way to consume mint. This is my go to recipe for mint tea but feel free to experiment by mixing with other herbs to formulate your own special blend!
- A handful of fresh mint leaves
- Honey (to taste)
- Crush the mint leave with you hand the release their flavor
- Place the leaves in a teapot
- Fill to pot with boiling water and let it steep for 3-4 minutes until the water becomes pale yellow or green
- Strain, sweeten to taste and enjoy!
How to Grow Herbs Indoors – The Series
Mint: how-to grow-mint-indoors
Rosemary: how-to grow-rosemary-indoors