Updated November 24, 2021 by Mark Marino
Mint plants are perennial herbs that are known for their aromatic scent and fresh, zestful flavor. Fortunately for novice gardeners, learning how to grow mint indoors is easy thanks to its preference for nearly any container, moist potting soil, and–this is a must–a sunny window. In fact, many gardeners prefer to grow mint indoors because the mint plant has a tendency to spread in the garden. This fragrant herb boasts bright green leaves and small white, purple, or pink flowers. Depending on the mint varieties you choose, you can expect your mint plants to grow anywhere from 12-36 inches tall.
Since antiquity, many civilizations chose to plant mint for its medicinal and culinary properties. In fact, according to Biblical text, mint plants were often as valuable as spices such as anise and cumin. Ancient Athenians would use the mint plant to add scent to their bodies. Some of the earliest references of mint in toothpastes stem to the 14th century. Today, people enjoy fresh mint in many kinds of food, treats, and drinks. Where would mint juleps be without the mint plant? Here, we’ll help you learn how to grow mint indoors so you can enjoy mint’s pleasant aroma and taste year round.
Types of Mint Varieties
When growing mint indoors, you’ll find that most of the common mint plants people enjoy involve similar care requirements. Each mint plant variety features its own scent or flavor; although, many are quite similar. Here are some mint family options that you can consider growing indoors:
A close cousin of peppermint, the chocolate mint plant boasts a chocolate scent but has an orange-citrus-like flavor that makes it popular for flavoring drinks and beverages.
Also referred to as woolly mint, apple mint plants feature fuzzy green foliage that have a minty but slightly fruity flavor. Apple mint leaves are perfect for salads, sauces, and beverages.
A popular cultivar of apple mint, pineapple mint plants feature ruffled leaves with attractive white edges and fruity flavor and scent that’s ideal for salads, tea drinks, and other beverages.
First cultivated in London around the year 1750, peppermint has become the darling of the mint family with its popular use in everything from toothpaste to candy.
Spearmint features smooth, hairless leaves and has a milder mint flavor than peppermint. In fact, it’s slightly sweeter.
Each of these mint plants is suitable indoors. Be sure to research specific care requirements once you choose a specific mint variety. Some mint plants actually tolerate–and prefer–partial shade conditions, so if you don’t have a sunny window for growing mint indoors, you might opt for a variety that grows well in indirect light.
Materials for Growing Mint Indoors
When learning how to grow mint indoors, you’ll want to gather the following supplies:
- Potting soil
- Container (10 inches) with good drainage (consider self watering pots)
- Peat moss or coconut coir (optional)
- Liquid fertilizer (optional)
- Sunny windowsill
- Grow lights (if needed)
- Mint seeds
Planting Mint Indoors
Prepare your mint pots by adding your potting soil along with coconut coir or peat moss. You can moisten but don’t saturate the soil. Also, ensure that your container has good drainage. Add mint seeds and then cover with a light covering (about a ¼ inch) of potting soil. Place your mint pot in a sunny window. Germination should occur between 10 and 15 days. If you prefer, you can also learn how to grow mint indoors with stem cuttings or grow mint using hydroponic systems.
Caring for Mint Plants
Once you have an established plant, you should rely on the following tips to care for your mint seedlings:
Most mint plants prefer direct sunlight. However, mint plants with variegated leaves tend to prefer partial shade or indirect sunlight. Keep that in mind when choosing a mint plant to grow indoors. How much sun needed depends on the type of mint plant in question.
Well draining potting soil is ideal for growing mint indoors. You can add peat moss or coconut coir to ensure that your mint plants thrive.
Consistent moisture is key for your indoor mint plant. Water mint regularly to ensure the potting soil is moist but not overly saturated. Do not over water mint plants.
Temperature and Humidity
To successfully grow an indoor mint plant, a temperature range of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, even if temperatures dip down to 55 degrees in the evening. Mint likes some humidity; you can mist them with a spray bottle to keep them happy.
You can use general liquid fertilizer to ensure your mint plants get the nutrients they need to thrive. Avoid getting the fertilizer on the plant’s leaves.
How to Harvest Mint Plants
You can begin to harvest your new mint plant just before its flowers begin to appear–usually when your mint plant is about 4 inches in height. When your mint plant blooms, you should remove flowers to encourage plant growth. Harvesting a few sprigs at this point will spur more leaf growth. Then, simply continue to harvest mint leaves as you need them. Routine harvesting is key to maintaining your mint plants’ healthy growth. You can also store dried mint leaves in an airtight container for later use.
Uses of Mint
Mint plants make a wonderful addition to any herb garden because they have so many uses. Add a few leaves to hot tea or iced tea for a minty flavor. You can add mint leaves to sauces, salads, drinks, desserts, meat dishes, and more. Add mint plants to your window box to help keep unwanted insect pests like mosquitoes away; they dislike the mint aroma.
Benefits of Mint Plants
Since ancient times, mint plants have been associated with numerous health and cosmetic benefits. The taste of mint has long been used to freshen breath. Mint may also provide the following benefits:
- Reduce indigestion
- Alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- Increase alertness
- Reduce congestion associated with the common cold
How to Grow Mint Indoors FAQs
Do mint plants grow well in pots?
Mint plants are known for their prolific growth. In fact, in the garden bed, they can be downright aggressive. Many gardeners actually prefer to grow mint plants in containers.
Can I grow indoor mint plants all year long?
Yes, growing mint is possible all year long. Follow the care requirements outlined here for growing mint indoors throughout the year. Be sure to harvest mint leaves periodically throughout the year to ensure the plant’s continued growth and health.