If you try growing mint outdoors in your garden beds, you might be surprised by how invasive and vigorous the herb can grow.
Before long, your mint plant can take over an entire bed, so it’s no surprise that it also does well in pots and indoors. Learning how to grow mint indoors can provide you with fresh mint all year and save your back from frequent harvesting.
Mint thrives in garden beds, and it can grow well in indoors as well. Its prolific nature makes it an excellent choice for all gardeners, especially if you love the flavor and scent. Keep reading to learn how to grow mint indoors.
How to Grow Mint Indoors – Getting Started
Mint is a great first plant for new indoor herb gardeners. Here are the steps to get started on growing mint indoors.
1: Choose Mint Varieties To Grow Indoors
The fantastic thing about growing mint is that there are several varieties available for you to try. They all have that classic, minty scent, but they also have differences. It might be a subtle or obvious scent difference.
Here are a few mint varieties you can grow indoors.
The most common variety found is spearmint. If you see a plant at your local nursery labeled “mint,” it’s more than likely spearmint. Spearmint contains less menthol than peppermint, so that you can use it in savory dishes or teas.
Chances are you’re more familiar with peppermint, which is a blend between spearmint and watermint. It’s been used as an herbal medicine for centuries. It’s best known for its sharp, fresh taste with an icy sensation, so it works great in desserts, ice cream, or teas.
While not as common, apple mint has fuzzy, fragrant leaves and a fruity, minty flavor. You can use it in teas – both iced and hot – or jelly.
If you want a unique variety, try growing chocolate mint. It has hints of chocolate combined with mint like the Olive Garden mints without the sugar. You can use chocolate mints in bread, teas, or desserts.
This variety has a mild, citrusy flavoring blended with the mint flavor, so it works well in sauces, teas, and even salads.
If you want to make bath and body products, lavender mint could be a fantastic choice. It has floral overtones with the minty scent. Not only can you use it in teas, but it also works for homemade soaps, lotions, shampoo, and lip balm.
2. Choose a Container with a wide surface
The first thing that you need to do is find a suitable container or pot. Since you’re growing your mint indoors, you might want to take extra care to find something that matches your home’s decor. It can be part of the decor as well!
2. Fill Your Pot With Loose, well-drained potting mix
Next, you should fill your selected container with good quality potting soil. The choice is either a regular commercial potting mix you find at a store or a homemade blend.
3. Place The Plant in An Area With Indirect Light
Unlike other plants, mint is actually a shade-loving herb which doesn’t need to be kept in direct sunlight. Mint thrives even if you keep it in an area that receives indirect light at an east-facing window during the springtime.
4. Seeds or Plant – Which Is Better?
While you can start mint from seeds, the success rate is lower than you would hope; mint seedlings are a bit picky. So, if you aren’t an experienced seed grower, I would suggest that you grab a plant from your local nurseries.
Later, that one plant can be propagated into several plants.
5. Planting Mint Seedlings In The Container
It’s finally time to plant! You have your seedling – either from a cutting given to you, a new plant, or seedlings you sprouted at home – and it’s time to put that into your prepared pot.
What About Growing Mint in Water?
It’s true; some gardeners have had success growing mint in water instead of the typical soil inside of a pot. If that seems appealing to you or you want to try a fun experiment with your kids, you need to do it.
Caring for Mint Plants Indoors
Plants grown inside do require daily, continual care. You can’t plant them and forget about them; they’ll quickly die in these conditions.
1. Keep The Soil Moist, But Not Soaking Wet
An essential part of continual indoor mint plant care is watering. Mint plants like to be kept moist, but they don’t want to be too wet or soggy. Wet feet – aka roots – can cause severe damage to your plants.
2. Rotate Your Plants
If you’re new to growing plants indoors, you might not realize or know the importance of rotating your plants.
Plants bend towards the light; it’s common, so they can quickly become lopsided as they search for the light.
To reduce the bending, turn your plant every three to four days. Doing so maintains an even, straight appearance without any floppy leaves or lopsidedness.
3. Fertilizing Needs
Typically, indoor mint plants don’t need fertilization; they multiply and spread without any extra applications, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fertilize. If you’re already doing so with your other indoor plants, no harm will come from a small fertilizer dose.
Harvesting Mint Plants
The best part of growing mint is harvesting it. There is no difficult method or a specific time when you have to gather it.
Instead, all you have to do is remove leaves and sprigs as you need them or as often as you want to dry sprigs. Most importantly, don’t let the flowers bloom; they need to be pinched off whenever you see them.
Common Pests & Diseases
Mint plants are vulnerable to a range of diseases and insects, but growing them inside does eliminate most of the problems. They won’t be exposed to as many dangers as the plants that grow outside.
Here are a few examples of problems your mint plants might face.
Here is a fungal disease that causes small, bright orange, yellow, or brown pustules on the leaves’ undersides. It can cause large areas of the leaf tissue to die back or drop from the plant.
Unfortunately, if your plant has mint rust, you will need to remove the infected plants and rhizomes to stop the spread. Heat treatment of the roots might be able to control the disease; this treatment requires you to immerse the roots in hot water, around 111℉, for 10 minutes.
These are small, soft-bodied insects that stick to the underside of the leaves. When you have a large aphid infestation, they cause yellow or deformed leaves with necrotic spots on the leaves. Aphids release a sticky substance that is called honeydew; it can encourage the growth of sooty mold.
A few aphids aren’t an issue, but you can try knocking them off with a jet of water or washing your plant in the sink if you have an infestation. Insecticides are typically only used if the infestation is bad.
This pest can sever the stems of young plants at the soil line or eat holes into the leaves’ surface. They’re typically most active at night.
You need to make sure there is no plant debris in the pot and try putting a plastic or foil collar around the plant stem to protect it. Another option is to spread diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants.
You might find that your plant leaves are covered in coarse stippling or have a silvery appearance. Thrips leave behind black feces that speckle the leaves. They’re small, slender insects only measuring about 1.5 mm.
While thrips are unlikely when you have indoor grown plants, insecticides can be used if they somehow find your plants. Reflective mulches also deter their visitation to your plants.
If you have spider mites, you might have leaves stippled with yellow or a bronze look. Typically, they leave behind a webbing that covers the leaves. You might even see the mites; they look like tiny moving dots on your leaves’ underside. You might need a hand lens to see them.
Since your plant is inside, you can wash them off under running water. Another option is to use insecticidal soap on the leaves of your plants.
Growing mint indoors in pots is preferred overgrowing the plants in the garden bed unless you want it to take over the entire space, choking out your other plants.
If not, you also can learn how to grow mint indoors, which lets you enjoy fresh mint all year round.
Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.