Your kitchen garden will not be perfect without mint in it. This herb is very useful. It can make your food and drinks more appetizing. In addition, it offers you with various health benefits. Another good thing about this herb is that you can grow it indoors and snip the leaves anytime you need it. To grow it properly inside your home, you must know how to grow mint indoors.
Mint: its Interesting History
Mint is one of the oldest herbs. It has been used by various civilizations for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks added mint leaves to their baths in order to stimulate their body. Meanwhile, medieval monks used the leaves for medical and culinary purposes. In addition, the Romans used mint as mouth freshener. They also used it in making sauces.
There is an interesting story behind the name of this herb. The Greeks believe that this name was derived from the name ‘Minthe.’ Minthe was a water nymph. One day, this beautiful nymph fell in love with Hades, the King of the Underworld. Persephone, Hades’ wife, discovered their love affair.
When the Queen of the Underworld found out about it, she was furious and transformed the nymph into a plant, mint. She did it so that people will walk on her and crush her. Hades tried to undo Persephone’s spell. However, he failed in doing it. Therefore, he gave a nice fragrant to Minthe so that he could smell her.
What is Mint?
Mint or Mentha is originated from Asia and Mediterranean regions. This genus is in the family of Lamiaceae. There are many species of mint. All of them are perennial herbs with aromatic fragrance. The size of mint plants varies, depends on the species. However, in general, they are about 30 to 90 cm tall.
They have special characteristics. In consequence, you must know about these characteristics before you try the steps of how to grow mint indoors.
Compared to other plants, mint plants have unique stems. They are square. This shape may not be too visible. But, if you roll the stems between your finger, you can feel the corners of the stems. Young and soft stems can be used in cooking along with the leaves. However, older mint plants usually have woody stems that are not good for cooking.
This herb has oblong serrated leaves. Most species have hairy leaves. Meanwhile, their color varies between species. Some of them are dark green, grey green, and blue. These leaves have strong aroma and flavor.
Mint flowers bloom in a cluster. These tiny flowers are white, pink, or purple. You will be able to see them in June to September. When pollinators pollinate them, mint flowers will develop seeds.
However, if you are growing mint for its leaves, you must not let this plant to bloom. If you know how to grow mint indoors, you will be able to prevent it from flowering. It is because mint leaves will not be as flavorful and aromatic as before.
4. Easy to grow
Mint plants are very easy to grow. They can be invasive if you grow them in rich fertile soil. If you don’t want this plant to invade your garden, it is better for you to grow this herb in pots.
How to Grow Mint Indoors: Basic Requirements
If you want to grow mint indoors, you need to provide the basic requirements for the plant to grow. Before you start the process of how to grow mint indoors, you must be ready to provide these requirements.
In order to be successful in growing mint indoors, you must have the right pots to grow it. Most gardeners do not recommend shallow pots in growing this herb. Therefore, you need to prepare the right pots before you start the steps of how to grow mint indoors.
The best pot to grow mint is ones that is 30 cm deep and at least 20 cm wide. Pots in this size will be able to accommodate the mint roots. In addition, the pots must have enough drainage holes. Moreover, it is better for you to repot your mint every couple of years.
Since you will not grow mint in the garden, you need to choose high quality media. Some gardeners recommend organic seed starting mix to grow this herb. You can purchase it easily from online stores or local nurseries.
You can also create potting mix on your own. To create it, you need perlite, peat moss, and sand. Mix one part of each material. After that, you can use the mix to fill the pots. However, you must do a soil test before conducting the process of how to grow mint indoors. If the soil test tells you that the soil pH is between 6 and 7, you don’t need to correct the soil pH.
The media doesn’t need to be rich in organic matter. Mint plants are not greedy feeders. Therefore, you can grow them in moderately fertile soil. In consequence, you don’t need to fertilize the media prior to planting.
Mint plants grow well in full sun. However, they can tolerate partial shade outdoors. Nevertheless, when you grow them indoors, they need more light to thrive. It is essential for you to make sure that your mint plants get 4 hours or more of direct sunlight. Therefore, you need to place the potted mint plants in a sunny spot in your home.
This herb will grow optimally in temperature of 13oC to 21oC. As a result, you need to set the room temperature at that range if you want to grow mint indoors. Therefore, your potted mint plants will grow well. However, mint plants are very hardy. They can tolerate cold temperature down below -20oC.
This particular herb needs to grow in moist soil. However, mint plants will suffer in wet soil that’s why you need pots with good drainage holes. For best result, you can add a layer of mulch on the soil around the plant. Therefore, you can retain soil moisture easily.
Moreover, potting mix has a tendency to dry faster than the garden soil. Therefore, you will need to water potted mint plants more often.
This herb is available in many species. Each of them needs different approaches in how to grow mint indoors. In addition, they offer you with slightly different flavor and aroma. These are recommended mint species to grow.
1. Chocolate mint
As its name suggests, this mint species has leaves that taste a bit like chocolate. However, this chocolate-like taste is not too strong due to the dominant minty flavor in it. This type of mint is perfect for teas and desserts.
This species is the result of the cross pollination of water mint and spearmint. Peppermint plant, offers you with fresh taste followed by a cool sensation. It is great for tea, potpourris, and ice cream. This herb has been used as herbal medicine for ages. Therefore, you will get some medical benefits from growing and harvesting it.
3. Orange mint
This type of mint is also known as citrus mint. The flavor of the leaves is a bit citrusy. Orange mint is perfect for sauces, salads, and tea.
When people are talking about ‘mint,’ they usually refer to spearmint. Farmers and gardeners commonly growing spearmint. Spearmint has less menthol compared to peppermint. Therefore, it doesn’t leave strong icy cool sensation when you it the leaves. This mint species is best for cocktails, sauces, and teas.
5. Apple mint
This species produces hairy mint leaves. These leaves offer you with minty and fruity flavor. Apple mint is good for salads, jelly, and teas.
Steps of How to Grow Mint Indoors: from Seeds
One of the ways to propagate mint is from seed. It may takes more time in doing the process of how to grow mint indoors from seeds. However, it is fun and worth trying.
1. Getting started
Since you are going to grow this herb indoors, you can start the steps of how to grow mint indoors any time you have the time. You don’t need to wait for the warmer temperature to sow the seeds or transplant the seedlings.
To start the growing process, you must prepare the pots and organic seed starting mix. As an alternative, you can sow the seeds in a seed tray. However, sowing them directly to the pots will save you from the transplanting process.
2. Germinating the seeds
Mint seeds take about 10 to 15 days to germinate. They are very tiny. As a result, you will likely sow too many seeds in one pot. However, it is okay because you can thin them later. Sow the mint seeds about 0.6 cm deep. After that, place the pots in a warm room and keep the media moist. To speed the seed germination, you can cover the pots with a sheet of plastic.
When you see that the seedlings start to appear, you must remove the cover. In addition, you need to make sure that the seedlings get enough sunlight. Moreover, it is necessary to make sure that the media is moist enough.
When the seedlings are about 5 cm tall, you can thin them so that you have one seedling in one pot. If you sow the seeds in a seed tray, then you must transplant them to the pots at this stage of how to grow mint indoors. It is necessary to do it carefully because the seedlings are fragile.
Mint plants require low maintenance. However, you need to do these things to care for them.
Potted mint plants need frequent watering. In addition, you may need to fertilize it with dilute compost tea when you think that they are lack of nutrition
Another thing you must do in how to grow mint indoors is pruning. Your potted mint plants will need to be pruned during their growing season. They will likely try to find a new territory to grow. That’s why you must prune them when they start being invasive.
3. Prevent the plants from flowering
Mint leaves taste better before flowering. Therefore, you need to prevent them from flowering. You can do it by pruning or harvesting the leaves and stems periodically. In addition, you need to watch for flower buds. If you find them, you must cut the mint stems at 2.5 cm from the media.
Steps of How to Grow Mint Indoors: from Cuttings
If you already have a mint plant in the garden, you can have new mint plants from cuttings. This propagation is easy to do. You can follow these stages of how to grow mint indoors from cuttings.
1. Get the cuttings
In this step of how to grow mint indoors, you need to choose healthy stems. After that, cut the stems in about 8 cm long. You need to make sure that you cut them under the leaf node. In addition, you must snip the lower leaves. Therefore, the cuttings will be more focused on growing new roots.
2. Soak the cuttings in water
Prepare a glass of water before you cut the stems. Once you have the cuttings, soak them in the glass of water. Moreover, you must place the cuttings in an airy and light room. You will be able to see the roots develop in several weeks.
If you see the root system has established. You can start transplant the new plants in pots at this stage of how to grow mint indoors. Before you perform this step, you must prepare the pots and media.
The caring process of how to grow mint indoors from cuttings is not different from growing the plants from seeds. Therefore, you will not find any difficulties in taking care of these new plants.
The best thing about how to grow mint indoors is that you can harvest this herb all through the year. You don’t need to worry about overwintering or protecting the plant from cold. You can harvest mint leaves when the plant is about 10 cm tall. Cut the leaves or stem with clean and sharp scissors. You can also harvest the whole plant. Cut the stem at 2.5 cm from the surface of the soil.
Now that you know how to grow mint indoors, you can start the seed anytime you have the time. Growing this herb is very easy. Therefore, you will surely have a good harvest of mint leaves and stems. If you love this herb so much, you must have more than one potted mint plants at home.