My best tips and tricks to successfully grow mint indoors, yes even in the winter.
Any kind of greenery in your home is a welcome addition, and taking care of plants can be very rewarding. For me personally, I love the idea of taking back control — even if it's a teeny tiny portion — of the food supply into my own hands.
And I strongly believe in the mental health and happiness aspects of getting your hands dirty through direct actions. Growing at least some of your own food can be a great step towards sustainability in your personal life, which I talk about in more detail in my article:
Whatever advice you take away from this particular article on how to grow mint indoors, remember this one rule very, very carefully:
Grow Your Mint In A Separate Container From Other Herbs
Mint is insanely invasive. It will take over everything and is difficult, if not outright impossible to eradicate once that happens.
Always, always, ALWAYS keep mint in its own separate container.
Can Mint Be Grown Indoors?
Yes. It is quite likely the easiest culinary herb to grow, indoors or out.
Not only is mint easy to grow, but it is also hard to kill which makes it a great choice as you can always have some fresh mint on hand without needing to invest a lot of maintenance or special care into the plant.
Think of mint like a weed, a very tasty and adaptable weed with countless culinary uses.
How To Grow Mint Indoors From Seed
Growing mint from seed is easy. Here is how I do it.
- You can use special seed starting mix if you prefer, but I grow my mint directly in my potting soil mix and in the container where they will stay.
- Fill your chosen container with the potting soil mix (more on that further down in this article) and then water the soil thoroughly.
- Sprinkle the tiny seeds over the top of the soil, being careful not to overcrowd before covering the seeds with a ¼th inch of the same potting soil mix.
- Gently tap down the soil with your hands.
- Gently water the soil until damp.
- Cover the container with a plastic bag and place it in a warm spot or on top of a germination heating pad.
- When the seedlings begin to first pop out (usually about 7 days, sometimes longer) remove the bag entirely and place the mint in an area where it will get at least 7 hours of sunlight daily, or underneath LED Plant Grow Lights.
- If you're growing mint year-round indoors, it will absolutely need to grow underneath LED Plant Grow Lights after the summer months.
- Keep the soil moist at all times. Mint does not like dry soil.
- Thin out if necessary or watch the seedlings battle it out for supremacy while musing about how survival of the fittest works in the plant world.
- Start harvesting once your mint plant is about 5 inches big.
Can Mint Be Grown From Cuttings?
Mint can absolutely be grown from cuttings, so you can buy some fresh at the grocery store and then easily regrow it at home.
- Take several 4-6 inch cuttings of mint, making your cut right below a node which is the small bumpy point at which the leaves grow out of.
- Remove the bottom leaves. The two most bottom nodes on your cutting should be bare of leaves.
- Stick the cuttings into your prepared potting mix about 1.5 inches deep and press down the soil surrounding each cutting you have planted.
- Keep the cuttings two inches apart.
- Gently water the cuttings, get the top inch of soil wet but dot pour water directly on top of your newly planted cuttings as this can dislodge them from the soil.
- For the next two weeks, keep your mint cuttings in a bright spot or underneath LED Plant Grow Lights.
- Keep the soil constantly moist but not soaking wet.
- You should see new growth merge in two weeks.
- After 1-month the cuttings will be robust and healthy enough to harvest.
How Much Light Does Mint Need To Grow Indoors?
Mint requires at least 6-7 hours of sunlight each day, but if you're using LED Plant Grow Lights, follow the instructions for your particular brand.
Keep mint in daytime temperatures ranging 18-22 Celsius (65-70 F) and nighttime temperatures in the 13-15 Celsius (55-60 F) ranges.
How To Grow Mint Indoors With an LED Plant Grow Light
If you want to grow culinary herbs indoors throughout the cold months for any real use in the kitchen, you need an LED Plant Grow Light. Period.
The weak winter sunlight is not enough and your windowsill can be too cold besides that depending on where you live (I'm in Toronto).
You can find these lights second-hand online quite often, but also brand new on Amazon and in Costco. They're becoming wildly popular and less expensive by the day.
Read some reviews and pick a unit that can work for you and your space. I will cover my own recommendations in another article in the future, so subscribe for my monthly newsletter if you want updates.
I have a big wire rack in my second bedroom for starting seedlings and growing food indoors year-round, but I also have a set of lights mounted underneath one of my kitchen cabinets where all of my herbs go to eventually live once they're big enough and I can use them in my cooking.
I got those particular lights in Costco for $40 Canadian and they're completely invisible underneath the cupboard.
Keeping the lights on only at night means I don't have to stare at LED lights when I'm using my condo living room, and I pay next to nothing in higher electricity costs as it is significantly cheaper at nighttime in Ontario to use electricity, most of which is coming from green sources.
How Often Should You Water Your Mint Plant?
Mint does not like dry soil although it will likely survive quite some neglect.
Keep the soil damp at all times, using your finger as a gauge. I tend to water my plants daily, even if its just a light misting of the soil.
Selecting The Right Container & Potting Soil Mix
Mint is a fast-growing plant, choose a large enough container that reflects the size of mint you want according to your own use of the herb in the kitchen.
Materials don't matter that much. I personally love unglazed terracotta as it is inexpensive, sustainable, extremely durable, and very attractive in a natural and rustic way. I avoid plastic as much as possible unless I'm resuing containers.
A 5-litre pot works best. It will allow you to grow a decent amount of mint while also not overwhelming a small space. A 5-litre pot will typically have a 6.5-inch diameter at the base.
A container with drainage is essential for every plant or herb you grow regardless of what material you choose.
Check out second-hand and thrift stores for cheap pots.
For the potting soil mix, you can either buy that in any garden center or mix up your own.
To make your own potting soil mix for mint:
- 25% garden soil
- 25% fine sand
- 25% coconut coir peat
- 25% vermicompost or composted manure
But also mint will literally grow anywhere in anything most of the time. Feel free to use what you have on hand.
Vermicompost is compost made by worms, I built a little vermicomposting system for underneath my kitchen sink for next to nothing. If you want to read about how I did that, check out my article:
Varieties of Mint
There are over 600 varieties of mint in the world that we know of.
Some have very little to no noticeable difference between them, making them completely interchangeable for culinary uses.
Others have a distinct note or taste that makes them more experimental when cooking.
Some varieties of mint you can grow includes:
- Pineapple mint
- Korean mint
- Chocolate mint
- Licorice mint
- Basil mint
- Red Raripila mint
- Apple mint
- Lavender mint
- Grapefruit mint
- Korean mint
Indoor Mint Pests & Diseases
Your mint plant is a hardy survivor, but sometimes even indoor mint can fall prey to certain diseases or even aphids.
Often this is coming from reused or outdoor garden soil being brought inside to grow your mint.
Just keep an eye out for strange discolouration or holes and proceed accordingly.
How To Preserve Fresh Mint
Mint can be successfully dried and stored, frozen in ice cube trays, or used in compound butters recipes and then frozen.
Check out my guide:
Recipes With Mint
Related Articles of Interest
Tell me what you think in the comments. Are you growing culinary herbs or anything else in your home year-round? Got any tips or tricks I may have missed? Let's share the knowledge!