Tips for Growing Mint Indoors
I’m what you call a bit of a mint fanatic. I think it’s a great addition to a nice cup of tea and I always encourage my friends and family to give it a try. It can’t be just any mint though. I prefer to use mint I’ve grown myself rather than the store bought variety.
Luckily it is one herb that does quite well growing both indoors and outdoors. That means with a little bit of patience and some tender loving care you can enjoy fresh mint in your tea year round.
We’re not all expert gardeners, but you don’t have to be to grow herbs like mint indoors. It’s a hearty plant that thrives under the right conditions. There’s no reason you can’t produce healthy harvests from your indoor mint plants even in the dead of winter.
As the snow fly’s outside a nice freshly growing mint plant on your window sill is a good reminder that spring is coming – eventually. Cultivating your own indoor garden is a great way to deal with the winter blah’s.
While mint is the type of plant that does well indoors there are some guidelines you do need to follow if you want your plants to be healthy. We’ve come up with a collection of practices that are essential if you want great tasting mint for your tea, jellies, or homemade ice-cream. If you follow them closely you should have a great deal of success.
Wide Not Deep
Intuitively people tend to think that a big and deep pot is the best way to go when it comes to growing any type of plants indoors. That seems to make sense as you would think it would give plants room for their roots to take hold, but that’s not always the case.
The roots of the mint plant actually tend to grow laterally so a narrow and deep pot is not ideal. A nice wide pot is a better option for growing mint indoors. This allows room for the roots to spread out and take hold in the soil. The end result will be much healthier and productive plants.
A Bit of a Loner
We all have one of those friends that’s a bit of a loner. They like to keep to themselves and only really go out when prodded by their friends and even then they never seem to be really enjoying themselves. They’re much happier sitting at home on the couch curled up with a good book.
Mint is the loner of your herb garden. Because their roots grow laterally and fairly aggressively they’re considered to be a fairly invasive species. It’s always a good idea to grow a mint plant in relative isolation if you don’t want it to negatively affect the growth of your other plants.
Choose a Rich Soil
Mint is what you’d call a nutrient hog. It just can’t seem to get enough of the nutrients found in soil. Ideally you’ll want to choose a rich soil with a ph level between 6 and 7. Mint can grow relatively successful in almost any soil type, but you’ll make your life a lot easier if you opt for the richer options. This gives your plant the best basis for a healthy start and will provide healthier yields.
Fresh Soil Every Year
One of the biggest mistakes I see amateur indoor gardeners make is to simply place some soil in a pot for a plant and never ever change it. That’s a big mistake when it comes to the mint plant. As we’ve already mentioned it loves nutrient rich soil and it won’t take long for it to use up most of the nutrients in the soil you’ve potted it in.
At the very least you should place it in fresh soil every year and if you can add fresh soil every month that’s an even better idea. Mint may take a bit more work than other herbs, but it also happens to produce leaves that most of us love the taste of.
Mulch to Keep Cool
Another good idea is to add a layer of mulch on top of the soil in your pots. Sure it looks good, but that’s not the real reason for adding it. Mulch will keep your soil cool underneath and mint grows better when it’s placed in cool moist soil.
As with most herbs you don’t want the soil to be saturated, but you do want it moist. There are a wide variety of mulches available and you can generally find something that goes well with just about any décor. It’s not essential for growing healthy mint plants, but it does help.
Difficult to Grow From Seeds
Some plants grow well from seed and others are a little more stubborn. Mint is one of the more stubborn varieties. You can certainly grow it from seeds if you’re a patient person, but if you choose to go this route you’ll need to be patient as it can be a bit of a process.
Your better option is to begin your plants from the cuttings off other mature plants. If you do this and place the cuttings in a pot of its own you should have no problem growing a new mint plant.
Lots of Light
Mint isn’t the type of herb that wants to hide in the shadows. You’ll need to make sure it has lots of light to grow. It doesn’t matter whether you place it by a window or choose to go with LED grow lights – just make sure you expose it to plenty of light if you want to have a successful harvest.
If you want your mint plants to maintain their health then regular pruning is a must. You can generally tell when leaves look a little old and worn out – by pruning these leaves you give the plant the chance to replace them and the end result will be a nice healthy plant with lots of useable leaves.