There is an herb, which is known for its fragrance, fast growth, and its usefulness in culinary. Luckily, this specific plant can be grown inside your house and you are about to read how to do it. Not only possible, growing mint indoors even gives you many benefits.
One of the benefits of growing mint indoors is that you can enjoy some freshly picked herbs any time of the year, when it is impossible to do outdoors, especially during winter.
1. Water-Growing Mint
Growing mint indoors in water will require tip cuttings around 5 to 6 inches long from a matured plant, water, as well as a bottle or glass.
Here are the steps of how to grow mint indoors from cuttings.
- Fill in the bottle or glass with water enough to soak the cuttings later.
- Take the cuttings, get rid of the bottom leaves, and put them in the bottle or glass.
- Place the set in a cool and bright area, which is not exposed to direct natural light.
After all of the three steps of growing mint indoors are fulfilled, you need to change the water every day. A few leaves will grow on the cuttings and still be there for a couple of more days.
Alternatively, if changing the water regularly bothers you in a way, you could grow it in a soil-filled container. The outcome will be the same at any rate as the two methods belong to the culture of growing mint indoors.
2. Commonly Grown Mint Varieties
This plant possesses many different kinds. Around 24 species with at least 7,000 varieties exist in the whole world right now. Each of them has characteristics and flavor of its own, but all types come in wide green leaves with menthol-based fragrance.
If you are determined in growing mint indoors, knowing how they differ from each other comes first before anything. Here is the list of commonly grown varieties.
Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens)
People also know it as wooly mint with downy leaves. The Africans, Americans, Asians, and Europeans have used it for more than ten centuries. Compared to the other cousins of the family, this apple type is less invasive. Therefore, it is often valued as an ornamental plant apart from its leaves’ attractiveness.
Apple mint tastes sweeter and subtler amongst the group, without any bitter aftertaste. The following is the guide of growing mint indoors optimally.
- Keep it in areas with high-level consistency of moist and adequate amount of lighting.
- Since it desires to wander, plant it in a large pot.
- Frequent fertilizing and pinching will keep this plant in good shape.
Orange Mint (Mentha piperita citrata)
Its sharp scent is what makes orange mint plant famous for. It is named after the bright notes of citrus aroma with the low-key fragrance of sweet lavender.
The requirements of growing mint in pots are practically the same with any kind, and this orange type is no exception.
- A lot of space is needed to let this plant grow and wander.
- It develops better growth if kept in partially shaded areas.
- Perform regular watering and frequent pinching to allow the orange mint to thrive.
- If the stems appear weaker, treat it with fertilizing.
- Divide or replace the pot every few years.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
This is the most popular variety in the family. It can happen because peppermint contains more menthol than the other does. The shocking fact is it was not a part of the original species but invented based on an experiment.
Dated back in England in the year of 1750, varieties of spearmint and watermint were hybridized before first cultivated. The resulting plantation then successfully tasted so good and had a strong structure. That was why it is still around until now.
Peppermint is arguably easy to grow. As much as you want it to get bigger without effort, there are ways to optimize its growth, especially in cases of growing mint indoors.
- Keep it in a large container enough to let the mint to spread out and fill every possible area.
- The planter material is also determining, as this plant needs moist soil. Thus, do not opt for a terracotta container. This substance dries out faster.
- Self-watering planters can be the alternatives.
- Place the plant in full sun areas. That way, you can increase the oil levels contained in the leaves, which cause it to be more potent.
- Pinch them off frequently to keep the plants in good shape.
- Repot them with new soil or treat with compost or fertilizer, if they happen to appear weaker.
The beauty of pineapple mint leaves is out of the question. You can easily tell it apart from any other cultivars by looking at its creamy variegated foliages. Opt for it if you are into an aesthetic factor in indoor gardening.
It is descended from apple mint species. No wonder they smell similarly in aromatic citrus with subtle tropical and sweet tones. Compared to the other cultivars, this pineapple type usually grows rather slow as it is a variegated plant.
That applies to all variegated plants. They tend to grow slower than the fully green ones. Perform pruning when you see any emergences of pure green stalk with all-green foliages. Otherwise, the green growth will overtake the plant and outnumber the variegated stems.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
It is the native mint plant, which originated from the Mediterranean. Spearmint is possibly the oldest variety of the family. Its name is written in the Bible, which means it has been around since the 1st century AD.
Four centuries later, it then brought by the Romans to England. Later, the Pilgrims took some with them on their first voyage ever to the New World. The importance of herb has been realized for a long time.
Spearmint is on the sweeter group. The menthol level contained is much lower than peppermint, which makes it perfect to be involved in the making of candies, shampoos, toothpaste, and soaps. The leaves of this plant are pointed and that is where its name is derived.
Ways in optimally growing mint indoors are as follows.
- Partial shade or indirect light areas are more preferable.
- It requires large planters to accommodate spearmint’s activities of sprawling and spreading out.
- Applying liquid fertilizer in summers is recommended for encouraging strong growth.
- Pinch them off regularly.
- Cut up the root ball every few years to divide the plants.
- Repot them in new planters as well.
3. Growing Mint Indoors Requirements
Though easy, there are still a few requirements in growing mint indoors. For example, the pot size and type matter so much. Opt for a medium-sized planter or a window box as this plant grows and spreads through runners.
Below are some factors you need to pay attention to as a part of successfully growing mint in pots.
As mentioned previously, this herb should not be exposed to direct sunlight. However, it still needs 3 to 4 hours of natural light exposure to thrive. The best location that fits such requirements of growing mint indoors is a balcony or a windowsill.
Soilless and light potting mix quality is all you need in growing mint indoors. It is available for purchase in plant stores or you can make one yourself. There are two different recipes of it, which are the basic and the modified.
For both recipes, all you need to do is combining all of the materials required. The requirements are as follows.
1. The basic recipe needs
- 1 part coco peat or peat moss and
- 1 part perlite or a mix of 1 part compost and 1 part sterile garden soil.
2. The modified recipe requires
- 4–6 parts peat moss,
- 1 part perlite, and
- 1 part vermiculite.
- If nutrients are added, blend these materials for every 8 gallons of potting mix.
- ½ cup bone meal
- ½ cup oyster shell lime to increase pH value
- ½ cup canola meal/cottonseed meal
Moist soil is preferred when growing mint indoors. At this rate, watering must be done carefully to avoid both underwater and overwater conditions, especially during winter. Do not soak the plant by giving it water in the morning and evening.
Any plants grown anywhere should not be heavily fertilized. Otherwise, they will not be flavorful. In cases of growing mint indoors, all-purpose fertilizer of water-soluble type is more than enough. Mulching the topmost pot layer is also permitted using manure or compost.
4. How to Care for Indoor Mint Plant
Pruning and Pinching
Pruning off the branches is done to keep the plant in good condition. Target for thin, weak, and dried ones so what left are the strong and healthy stems. Meanwhile, regularly pinching off the tips is performed for the herb to become denser. Pinch off the flowers also once they come into view.
Both cold and hot temperatures are not the right air conditions for growing mint indoors. Keep it moderate about 18o to 21oC (65o to 70oF) during the days and 13o to 15oC (55o to 60oF) at nights.
As stated previously, one of the benefits of growing mint indoors is that you can consume the freshly picked leaves, and that is the best method in harvesting this herb. Pick it whenever you need.
5. Mint Uses
After all of the commotions above of growing mint indoors, what is the mint used for? Well, the only benefit mentioned previously is to give you experience or enjoyment of freshly picked leaves, while the advantages of the plant itself lay after you pick them.
Mint leaves are widely used in culinary and medicinal fields. Both the fragrance and the taste come in handy for solving the problems in those applications.
Fresh mint sprigs are usually put into cold drinks, like iced tea and lemonades, to grant a taste of refreshment.
Not only beverages, but various kinds of foods also involve the use of mint leaves, from fruit recipes to meat dishes. The jelly becomes the basic ingredient of roasted and grilled lamb. It is also added to couscous and tabbouleh, kinds of grain salad servings.
The other uses of mints are as follows.
- Peppermint is the most common flavor in chewing gum.
- Spicy and strong flavor of peppermint tastes the best when mixed with a cup of hot tea. Only, the sprigs must come first before the water is poured. This method is applied in Moroccan beverage.
- Spearmint is used to add flavor in wrapped dolmas and tucked spring rolls.
- Apple mint’s exotic and sweet flavors are principal in desserts.
- Orange mint’s aromatic and sweet flavors are interestingly blended in crème Brule, ice cream, and whipped cream.
- If minced, the leaves of orange mint will be the perfect fit for dressings, jellies, and sauces, while the whole foliages will beautifully garnish your meal.
- Muddled pineapple mint leaves can help in tone down the fishy smell of fish. Put some atop of the fish and wrap them as a set in cooking paper before they are grilled.
Meanwhile, beneficial compounds, such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidants, which play a big role as a remedy, are found also in this herb. Over the ages, people have used them to give treatment for gastric discomforts, pain relief, and skin irritations. Their other uses are as follows.
- Peppermint oil is useful to clear congestion caused by sinus, fight infection, reduce nausea, and treat headaches.
- A research done in 1999 had it that spearmint can help in fighting tumor growth.
It turns out that mint is used in other applications besides the two fields mentioned above, though not as much.
- When dried, apple mint holds a luxurious scent. It is then utilized in sachets to give fragrance in clothing drawers
- The extract of orange mint is often mixed with aromatic oil and highly useful in perfumery and cosmetic industries.
By growing mint indoors, you get to benefit the plant much easier, simpler, and faster. Not to mention, they are easy to grow, though some people could argue you with this. However, never mind. The result you will get is worth the effort.