Growing mint at home is a fairly simple task. It grows quickly, it is beautiful and aromatic, and all you have to do is devote less than half a minute a day to it, and it will give you the most delicious mint cups you will ever taste. Worth it, isn’t it?
The intoxicating aroma and refreshing taste make mint one of the most common herbs in many cuisines. Planting mint indoors is easy, practical, and extremely rewarding, and there is no reason why this wonderful herb should not be part of your herb garden as well. It is also packed with medicinal benefits that you may not be aware of.
In this blog post, we will discuss the best reasons to grow mint indoors and how to do it correctly. We will also cover the different varieties of mint plants and how to care for them. Whether you are growing mint for culinary or medicinal purposes, these tips will help you get started!
Some background first
Mint’s scientific name is Mentha Requienii and its name is derived from the Greek word minthe. In Greek mythology, Minthe was a nymph who was turned into a plant by the goddess Persephone.
Mint family is part of the Lamiaceae family, which includes more than seven thousand species distributed throughout the world, including rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil. This family is characterized by its aromatic green leaves, which contain essential oils. These essential oils give mint its characteristic aroma and flavor.
The most known and cultivated species is Peppermint (Mentha × Piperita), which is a hybrid between water mint (Mentha aquatic) and spearmint (Mentha spicata).
The mint plants are native to Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America.
Now that we know a little bit more about the plant, let’s dive into why you should start growing mint.
11 fascinating facts about mint I bet you didn’t know
Mint is one of the oldest and most popular herbs in the world. It has been used for centuries in cooking, medicine, and even currency.
Here are 11 fascinating facts about mint that you probably didn’t know:
- Mint has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1000 BC!
- Mexicans call mint Yerba Bueno or “good herb”.
- The ancient Romans and Greeks utilized mint in cordials, fruit compotes, and even baths and fragrances.
- The ancient Hebrews would scatter mint over the synagogue floor in order to freshen the air.
- Did you know that the United States produces 70% of the world’s peppermint and spearmint?
- Mint leaves are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is critical for eye health and night vision. They also contain significant amounts of Vitamin C (which protects your cells) and B2 (which helps break down carbohydrates and proteins). In addition, mint leaves are rich in calcium, copper, and magnesium.
- Peppermint is an approved treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One study showed that 75% of patients with IBS that took peppermint oil felt relief, as compared to 38% of patients that were in the placebo group.
- Studies done recently demonstrate that spearmint mouthwash can help lower the number of oral bacteria (such as Streptococcus mutans) and amount of plaque formed.
- Spearmint oil, peppermint oil, and menthol are well known for their antimicrobial activity.
- Several in vitro studies have shown that mint extracts are effective against a wide range of bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for stomach ulcers.
- Mint essential oil can be used for aromatherapy or to make homemade cleaning products.
Now that you know a little bit more about mint, it’s time to learn the best indoor growing conditions for a mint plant! Keep reading for tips on how to grow mint indoors in soil year-round.
Choosing Mint Plant Varieties
As we mentioned before, there are many different mint varieties of mint plants. When choosing a variety to grow indoors, you will want to consider the flavor profile and the purpose of growing a new mint plant.
If you grow mint indoors for culinary purposes, you may want to choose a variety used in your favorite cuisine. For example, if you like Moroccan food, you may want to grow Moroccan mint. Or, if you like Thai food, you may want to grow Thai mint.
If you are growing mint for medicinal purposes, you will want to choose a variety that best suits your needs. For example, you may want to grow peppermint if you suffer from indigestion. Or, if you have a cold, you may want to grow eucalyptus mint.
Apple mint, pineapple mint, and chocolate mint are other popular varieties that you may want to try growing indoors. They are used in a variety of culinary dishes and have unique flavor profiles.
Once you have chosen a variety of mints for growing indoors, it’s time to learn how to grow it!
Growing mint indoors year-round – in soil
Growing herbs indoors at home allows you to avoid toxic chemicals often found on conventionally grown mint at the store. Also, instead of having old and soggy mint leaves, you can grow your own and have them be as fresh as possible!
Separate Pot or Container mixed with other plants
Mint plant is an aggressive and spreading weed that does not hesitate to send roots everywhere, harass neighboring plants and grow in every corner of the garden.
So whether or not you have a garden, please consider that, in any case, you will want to limit the area of its roots.
Choosing a pot is easier to ensure the mint stays in the place you assigned it in advance. If you choose a wide pot with a sufficient volume of at least 10 liters, the mint will be comfortable and pleasant and grow without a problem.
It is very important to choose a pot with a drainage hole.
Seedling or Seeds
you can buy different types of mint seedlings in nurseries throughout the seasons, so there is really no need to grow mint plants indoors from seeds. So starting from seed is not always the best or most recommended option.
If you have chosen to plant mint from seeds, know that it will take about three weeks for the seedlings to appear.
Sow the mint at a depth of 1-2 cm and a distance of 10 cm from each other, and make sure to keep the soil moist but not too soaked.
In addition, mint is very easy to grow from stem cuttings. so if you have met an established plant of fragrant mint that you would like to try growing, take a young branch from it, leave 6-8 green leaves, and put the end of the mint stem without the leaves in a shallow glass of water and wait a few days (you should change the water every day). When the branch has developed roots, you can gently transfer the new mint plant to the soil in a pot or a hydroponic system.
An indoor mint plant likes consistent moisture, saturated with oxygen and low salinity, so it is recommended to use potting soils that are airy, fertile, drained, and light soil that will encourage fast and healthy growth, as the mint likes.
If you are using potting soil, choose one that is light and airy. A potting mix with a mix of coconut coir, perlite or vermiculite, and peat moss would be great to improve drainage.
Although it can also grow in a partially shaded environment, the mint especially likes to grow in a full sun environment that pampers and encourages it to develop quickly.
To plant mint successfully at home, put it on the balcony or on the windowsill exposed to direct sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours a day and place the flower bed or pot there.
If you are growing mint indoors during the winter months, you may need to supplement with grow lights to ensure that your plant gets enough light.
Water your mint plant when the soil begins to feel dry. Mint prefers moist soil, but be careful not to overwater it. Mint is susceptible to root rot, so be sure not to overwater it. Overwatering can kill the plant.
Do you need a fertilizer solution?
Mint is a very hardy plant and does not require much care. However, if you notice that a few leaves turning yellow, this could be a sign of nutrient deficiencies. Be sure to fertilize your mint plant if you notice this happening. It is best to choose a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen.
You can also make your own compost tea to fertilize your mint plant. Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer made by steeping compost in water. It is rich in nutrients and microbes that will help your plant grow. To make compost tea, simply place some finished compost in a cheesecloth bag and steep it in a bucket of water for 24 hours. Then, remove the bag and use the tea to water your mint plants.
Pruning and Harvesting
Mint plants grows quickly and can become unruly if left unchecked. If you want to keep your mint plant alive and healthy for a long time, it is essential to give it a good pruning every so often. Pruning will help to keep the mint plant under control and promote new growth. To prune mint, cut back the stems to the desired length using sharp shears.
When harvesting mint leaves, be sure to do so in the morning. This is when the essential oils in the leaves are at their peak. To harvest, simply cut the stems containing the leaves and strip them from the stem. You can then use the fresh leaves or dried.
If you have more mint than you can use, you can store it in several ways.
- Mint tea made with fresh or dried leaves is a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy your mint harvest.
- You can store fresh leaves in the fridge for up to a week. You can also dry or freeze mint leaves for longer storage.
- Dried leaves can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
- Freezing is a great way to preserve mint for more extended periods. Place the leaves in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to a year.
Growing mint hydroponically
Mint plants can also be grown hydroponically. To do this, you will need to grow the mint in a water container. You will need to change the water every few days to prevent the roots from rotting.
You can grow mint in a jar of water on your windowsill or under grow lights. Simply place the mint plant in a jar of water and allow the roots to grow into the water. Change the water every day.
The mint plant will continue to grow as long as there is enough oxygen in the water. You can also add an air stone to the jar of water to help aerate it.
Mint is a delicious and refreshing herb you can enjoy in many ways. It is also a straightforward plant to grow, both indoors and out. Be sure to give your mint plant plenty of light and water, and you will soon enjoy fresh mint leaves.
If you have any tips on growing mint indoors, please share them in the comments below!