All herbs of the Mentha genus have a culinary use and cultural context from which they originate. Whether it's spearmint, peppermint, or one of the hybrids like chocolate mint or apple mint, you have fresh mint all year round. But say you live in a house without a garden or have mobility problems and gardening is difficult. There is a solution. Growing mint indoors is one way to try gardening in a more accessible way.
Mint (mentha in taxonomic terms) herb gardens are lush, full of pleasant aromas, and fertile. Some who grow mint outdoors remove it shortly afterwards because it takes over! You can grow mint plants indoors and harvest from your herb garden year-round. Mint leaves can be used in delicious teas, meat marinades or even in homemade cosmetics. Mint can tolerate many extreme conditions and will continue to produce leaves even when stressed.
If you are new to indoor growing, fear not! Mint is an herb that won't disappoint. Whether you want to grow mint in an herb garden on your balcony or in a more complicated setup like a hydroponic system, you will find that these plants are resilient, comfortable, and fast growing. With the right growing conditions, you will have mint all year round.
One benefit for those who grow mint indoors is that they avoid the risk of planting a somewhat invasive herb in their garden. I grew peppermint outside in containers and it somehow managed to get into a nearby bed. It would have taken over if I hadn't taken a lot of time to harvest it well. So, planting mint indoors is a way not to spoil the hard work you have done in the soil. It's ecological gardening!
Ways to grow mint indoors
Growing mint indoors is incredibly rewarding. Source: scchiang
Grow mint indoors on a windowsill or closed balcony with plenty of direct sunlight. Unless you have any blockages from nearby trees or buildings, your mint plant will thrive. However, if the sunlight is blocked, you might find it harder to grow mint this way.
If your windows aren't facing in the right direction or aren't getting enough sunlight, plant lights can help your mint flourish. Place your container in an area where a fluorescent grow light can be plugged in nearby. Fluorescent lights must be on for at least 12 hours to grow mint indoors. Many grow lights come with a timer, but some may require manual operation. Find one that best suits your needs and the needs of your mint plant.
Grow tents are another option for those looking to grow mint indoors. They may even be the best option for indoor growing because of their capabilities. With a grow tent, you can not only control the heat and light around your mint plants, but also the humidity. This is a big plus as mint enjoys high humidity. Grow tents are good for those who have the space to house them. Smaller grow tents start at dimensions of 2 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet.
Mint is also suitable for indoor growing in a hydroponic system. It was previously thought that herbs grown in hydroponic systems didn't have as much flavor as herbs grown in the ground. However, there have been advances in hydroponic technology that provides herbs with the right nutrients for rich flavor. So this is an option for people who have at least a few feet of work space to work with.
There are many options, including aquaponics systems roughly the size of a small aquarium. However, mint tends to draw nutrients away from the soil and water, so caution should be exercised in this regard. Whether you choose to grow in a container or a system, mint plants will do well if ignored for a while.
Care for indoor mint
All types of mint grow happily in the house. Source: srqpix
So what does it take to grow mint indoors? Since mint is an herb that isn't picky about it, just a few simple things will help you get from A to B.
Lighting & temperature
A mint plant needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. As mentioned above, fluorescent lights should be on your mint plant for at least 12 hours a day. In the northern hemisphere, a south-facing window offers the full spectrum of sunlight, while a north-facing window in the southern hemisphere does the same. To prevent your plant from reaching for the sun through too much shade, rotate it frequently in both settings: direct sun and grow light. This will also strengthen the roots of your mint plants.
Fluorescent lights often require some sort of structure to hang over your mint plants, so this should be included in your plan. They should also be hung near your plants to mimic the sun that members of the mint family typically need. When making a purchase decision, think about the space requirements.
If you're limited on space, a single lightbulb can be enough. With space to spread out, a set-up about four feet long would do wonders for your plants. Grow tents and hydroponic systems come with light, so follow the specific instructions for that system to provide enough light for your spirit plant.
Mint likes a temperature range between 55 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Growing indoors is a great solution for mint as most homes are in this temperature range. Mint often thrives from neglect, but indoors you need to keep a close eye on your HVAC system. Try not to place containers or constellations near the drain on your air conditioner, as a heater can dry out mint soil quickly and easily. And dry cool air can cause root rot.
Water & moisture
A mint planter will keep your mint from spreading like wildfire. Source: Unconventional Emma
Mint is easy to grow and difficult to over- or underwater. However, if mint is left in soil that is too moist, its roots can be damaged. Mint can also be damaged by too much drought. If the pot feels underweight due to a lack of moisture, it's time to water your mint.
On a windowsill, you will find that direct sunlight evaporates moisture faster than other methods. Just check your pot once or twice a week to make sure it's not watering time. Then take the container to your sink and flush the water through. Leave it in the sink with no drip tray underneath to drain the excess water, then place it back on the windowsill.
Mint is a plant that enjoys high humidity. Therefore, lightly spray the leaves with a spray bottle between waterings. You can also place the container on a tray of pebbles that is submerged in water, which will add moisture to the surrounding area as the water evaporates. This is not necessary if you water enough.
Grow tents and hydroponics ensure adequate humidity and should not require additional watering. Try to keep the humidity at least 40%. In a hydroponic system, you will change the water the same frequency: once every 5-7 days.
Growing medium & container
For indoor growing mint, plant mint in high quality potting soil in a pot large enough to accommodate the productive growth of a mint plant. At least 8 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep will house a happy indoor mint plant. Make sure your pot has large drain holes. Self-watering pots work well with mint, especially if you find that the soil dries up quickly between waterings.
There are also solutions for those who want to grow in soilless media instead of earth. Growing mint in an even mix of vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss works well. For those who want to avoid peat moss, coconut coconut is also great. You can try this in a container or start in a coconut fiber starter pellet and then transfer to a saucepan.
In hydroponics, you can grow in lightweight expanded clay aggregate that transports moisture into pockets that can be absorbed by your mint plant. The great thing about LECA is that it is inexpensive when compared to coconut coconut or even some potting soil.
The bottom line from all of this is that you need good drainage for mint. It doesn't mind damp soil, but it appreciates the slightly dry soil between waterings with plenty of moisture. You don't have to make too much of a fuss though, because even indoor mint will do just fine with a regular water and light schedule.
You don't necessarily need fertilizer for your indoor mint plant. However, mint benefits from a liquid fertilizer that is applied every three weeks in warmer seasons and every six weeks in winter. In hydroponic systems, use a liquid fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and adjust the pH of your nutrient solution after adding fertilizer as needed. The same schedule applies to a container.
Long, narrow planters fit well on window sills. Source: nsdis
All aromatic herbs – including mint – appreciate a good prune. Pruning the foliage of all mint varieties will encourage more growth, which will result in more mint leaves. And do we ever have enough mint? Never!
To prune, simply cut or break off the top leaves of your plant just before the next growing point, where the two leaves grow on either side of the mint stem. It is best to cut cuttings that are at least a couple of inches long to avoid cutting stems that are too young.
When grown indoors, mint has the same requirements as outdoors when it comes to flowering. Remove flowers to prevent nutrient drainage towards flower production. Break off the flower growth at the top of the plant just before the first growth point.
Outside it is sometimes nice to have flowers for pollinators, but since you want bees outside instead of inside, there is no need here. Flowers also allow a mint to form seeds and multiply.
Growing mint indoors can be done initially by seeds or by cuttings – essentially by harvesting mint. You can plant seeds in the soil of a pot or container and wait for them to sprout. Try to keep only a few seeds per container as mint grows quickly and gains the upper hand.
Each shoot needs about two feet of space to thrive, so make sure you plant them far enough apart. For most containers this means that only one plant can live there.
Here you can experiment with a few different varieties of mint. Try growing spearmint and apple mint along with your piperita. Try not to overfill each of the containers with too many seeds. Give light to your mint seeds because they need it to germinate.
Start sowing in Rooter Plugs for hydroponic systems. In both containers and hydroponics, seeds take one to two weeks to germinate. You should keep the soil moist and set the temperature to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you see the root sticking out from under the plug and the seedling at least a couple of inches, you can plant any variety of mint you have selected in your system.
It is also very easy to propagate mint from an established plant. This is also faster than growing from seeds. Harvest mint stems from an established plant over the lignified parts that will stick to the fresh green part of the stem. Then, soak these cuttings in a cup of water and keep them out of the direct sun. Within a week or so, healthy white roots will grow into the water, and stems can be planted in soil or plugs for your hydroponics.
You can skip the water step and dip harvested cuttings in rooting hormone and place them directly in the soil. You will have a new mint plant within a week.
If necessary, take your plants outdoors to meet their lighting needs. Source: gpshead
Fortunately, the menthol chemistry of most mint plants keeps many pests at bay, which is why many choose to garden with mint. When growing indoors, it's even easier to keep track of your plants and make sure everything is going according to plan.
Uneven humidity in soil or growing medium, and uneven humidity are often the main problems people deal with when it comes to growing herbs like mint indoors. Different species have different specific requirements, but in general, mint likes high humidity and evenly moist soil.
If the soil stays too dry, add water. Too much dryness can brown the green leaves and damage the taste of your mint. In hydroponics, keep the nutrient solution fresh to give the mint the necessary care.
The stems will turn brown as your mint ripens, but when you notice premature tanning, a mushy stem, and a Lack of growth there may be a problem with overhydration. This could also be related to mushrooms Root rotwhich can damage and ultimately kill the entire mint plant if not kept in check.
When you water overhead, you create optimal conditions for Mint mushroom, a mushroom that makes every mint its host. Pour properly at the root level to prevent this from happening.
Optimal conditions for mushrooms can lead to optimal conditions for Mushroom mosquitoes, Insect pests, which can damage the roots of the mint if the infestation is more severe. To rid your plant of mosquitoes, set up apple cider vinegar traps. Pour a little ACV into a small cup, add some soap and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic and you're done. The mosquitoes will grab the ACV and the soap will keep them from leaving the trap. Discard the trap when all mosquitoes have been eliminated.
Too little light or too much indirect light causes green leaves to both turn brown and etiolate or expand towards a light source. Plants in the mint family don't like too much shade or indirect light. If your mint plant is suffering from a lack of light, remove the browned leaves and adjust your lighting schedule. If you are using a mint garden windowsill, you may need to purchase a grow light to get rid of excess shade.
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