Robust and wonderfully fragrant, mint plants thrive indoors as much as they do outdoors. Mint is an excellent used in sweet and savory dishes, and it is therapeutic, as well.
This easy to grow herb is super adaptable and finds ways to flourish wherever it is planted. If you’ve ever planted it outdoors, you know what I’m talking about! It is well-known for taking over garden beds in its enthusiasm to grow.
Mint’s vigor is what makes it such an excellent choice for growing indoors. It will expand to fit any pot you plant it in and grow vivaciously.
Added bonus: mint is widely considered a repellant for many insects including fleas, roaches, ands, and even spiders. (Learn more about plants that repel spiders.)
Types of mint
This post includes affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission on purchases made at no additional cost to you.
First, the fun part – what type of mint do you want to grow? There are so many types beyond the standard peppermint. Have you ever tried chocolate mint or orange mint? A cup of hot cocoa with a few orange mint leaves is divine.
Mint Varieties to Grow indoors
Mint is easy to grow. You can purchase seedling starter plants, take cuttings from existing plants, or grow mint from seed.
When you purchase a live mint plant, you can start harvesting mint leaves almost immediately. When you start mint from seed, you can expect to wait about 3 months before harvesting.
The classic, most widely grown species of mint. Peppermint is actually a hybrid of wintermint and spearmint that was developed in England in 1750. Since its introduction, it has become the standard in gardens around the world. The flavor is strong and is best used in sweet dishes or teas.
Wrigley's Spearmint Mint Plant
Native to the Mediterranean, spearmint is a bit sweeter than peppermint. It is used mostly as a flavoring for gum, toothpaste, and candies. Spearmint’s sweet, mild taste also works wonderfully in savory dishes, like tabbouleh salad and dolmas.
This sweet, mild mint is subtle and aromatic. It doesn’t taste like apples, but it does have a slightly fruity scent, which is how it got its name. It’s best used in jellies or savory salads or to flavor teas and infused waters. Unlike spearmint and peppermint, the leaves are fuzzy and are unpleasant eaten raw or used as a garnish.
Menta piperita citrata
Orange mint is a powerfully aromatic variety that smells like a mix of citrus and lavender. It livens up gardens, drinks, and potpourris. Adding a few springs to whipped cream, sweet tea, lemonade, salad dressings, or jellies creates a dish to remember.
Pineapple Mint live plant
Mentha suaveolens ‘variegata’
This mint variety is a cultivar of apple mint and is light and citrusy, sweet, and tropical. It is best added to salsas, mojitos, or fruit salads to give them an exotic flavor boost. Pineapple mint is one of the prettiest mints, with exquisite dark-green leaves with cream-colored bandings.
Hummingbird Mint Live Plant
Hummingbird mint has large, beautiful blossoms that are sure to attract the pollinators to your garden.
Mentha x piperita ‘Chocolate’
A complicated hybrid created from spearmint, wintermint, and orange mint, this variety really does taste and smell like chocolate. It’s not super pungent, but the fragrance is unmistakeable and delightful.
Because it is a hybrid, take cuttings to propagate new plants instead of saving seeds. Seeds will not be "true" to the parent plant and will produce mint with different characteristics.
Licorice mint plant
Licorice mint has sweet, mildly anise flavored petals and blossoms that pollinators love. Licorice mint is one of the least invasive mints - plant it in the corner of your garden to make sure you have plenty of butterflies and bumblebees to pollinate your fruits and veggies!
How to grow mint inside
Mint is extremely easy to grow indoors and out.
Mint plants will grow for many years, but they are best replaced or repotted every three years. Take a cutting from the old plant to start a new one – no need to get seeds or buy a new plant!
We’re going to take a look at growing mint from seed indoors, growing mint from cutting indoors, then general mint light, soil, water, and fertilizer requirements.
How to grow mint indoors from seed
- Plant mint seeds 1/4” deep in a wide container filled with a well-draining seed starting mix. Put several seeds in one pot – they’re super small and hard to plant separately.
- Make sure the pot has drainage holes, or else the roots may rot, and the mint will die.
- Use a wider container as opposed to a deep one because it facilitates the mint plant’s roots better. Mint is a sprawler that likes to spread.
- After planting, water the soil well, but gently. Using a mister can help you avoid moving the small seeds.
- Place the container in a warm location.
- Mist the soil regularly to keep it moist, but not soggy.
- Mint seeds germinate in 10-15 days.
- Once the seeds sprout, move the container to its permanent location.
- Water regularly, about once per week, letting the water drain thoroughly to prevent soggy roots.
- As the seedlings grow, thin them, if desired. It’s best to have just 1-2 plants per pot since they will grow readily and fill the pot easily.
In the image below, you can see many mint seedlings in a pot. These seedlings need to be thinned out. To avoid disrupting the plants you do want to keep, pinch or cut unwanted seedlings off at soil level.
Seed starting mix is a sterile medium that’s best for starting seeds. Non-sterile grow mediums, like your garden soil or regular potting soil, may contain various mold and fungi that can damage seedlings.
A common seedling problem is “damping off.” Damping off is caused by various mold and fungi that prefer cool, wet conditions. It can kill seedlings or severely stunt their growth. (source)
If you don’t have seed starting mix, you can bake your potting soil to sterilize it. Place it in a rimmed baking sheet in a 200ºF oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 180ºF. This typically takes 30-60 minutes. (It also makes your home smell like cooked dirt, which isn’t all that pleasant.)
If you decide to check out the essential oil planner linked above, you’ll be taken to a page on my printables blog. I don’t want you confused and wondering what happened to the gardening blog you were reading when you see the url!
How to grow mint indoors from cuttings
Stem cuttings are the easiest and quickest way to grow mint. You can easily replicate plants you already have or get a cutting from a friend who already has a mint plant. Because mint cross-pollinates easily, it’s better to cut off any flowers that form and use propagation instead of saving mint seeds.
- Using sharp scissors, cut a 6” piece off the stem just below a node (the intersection between the stem and branching off section). Make sure to get fresh growth, not hard, old, woody growth.
- Carefully remove the leaves from the lower 2” of the stem.
- Place the stem in a small vase or jar of water and place it on a sunny windowsill. If you don’t have a windowsill, or if you have kids/pets that might knock it over (I do), consider using some inexpensive LED grow lights.
- Change the water out daily.
- Let the stem grow in the water until it forms 2-3” roots. Honestly, I’ve planted mint with shorter roots and had them do fine, but it’s better to have longer roots if possible.
- Once there are sufficient roots, plant the stem in a wide pot with good quality well-draining potting soil. Be patient – this can take a couple of weeks.
- Use a container with drainage holes, and one that is wide instead of deep. Mint roots prefer wide, shallow growing containers.
Mint does not typically need a rooting hormone, but using a dusting of rooting hormone on your mint cutting can speed up the rooting process.
If having a jar of water sitting around in your window is unappealing, you can stick mint cuttings into Root Riot cubes or a similar hydroponic grow medium. You do not need a hydroponic system to start plants in these cubes. Place the cubes in a seed starting tray with cells and provide plenty of moisture. Root Riot cubes are my favorite way to propagate mint and start seedlings.
Growing mint hydroponically indoors
Hydroponics, and aquaponics, are great ways to grow mint indoors if you’re interested in getting a little bit more “fancy” with your growing.
The biggest “problem” with growing mint hydroponically is that it will send out runners and try to invade other plants. You have to remove the pod from the system from time to time and cut away “below ground” runners. (Read more about trimming runners in this post on how to pick mint.)
The easiest, all in one system to begin indoor hydroponics with is an AeroGarden. It has built-in lights and a timer so it’s very convenient to use. You can grow herbs, greens, and even some vegetables in larger AeroGardens.
The AeroGarden 360 is ideal for growing kitchen herbs, and even comes with a seed pod for mint.
- INCLUDES GOURMET HERB SEED KIT (6 POD) - Genovese Basil, Curly Parsley, Dill, Thyme, Thai Basil and Mint & a 3oz bottle of our patented, all natural...
- PLANT TO PLATE - Up to 6 plants grow at a time, up to 12 inches Tall with this indoor garden; Grows in water no soil, no mess, Made simple
- EASY TO USE - Control panel tells you when to add water, reminds you when to add plant food (included), automatically turns lights on and off for your...
I used an older AeroGarden model for several years to grow lettuces and kitchen herbs. It is easy to use, but the light is quite bright so you need to have a place where it won’t bother you while turned on.
Here you can see a few lettuce and herb seedlings under the light. Most AeroGarden systems have an adjustable light so you can keep the light at the correct distance from your plants. This is in contrast to some countertop grow systems that do not have an adjustable light. Avoid these systems because they can create leggy, weak plants.
For a larger grow system, my top pick is the LettuceGrow Farmstand. I personally own one that grows outdoors in the summer and indoors in winter. If you decide to order one, be sure to use the code FRIEND-MMT9 for $50 off. In the picture below, taken from this post on how to harvest mint, you can see spearmint from my Farmstand in its grow cup:
The peppermint below came from a cutting I rooted indoors in RootRiot cubes before placing it in the FarmStand.
How to care for mint plants indoors
Let’s take a look at mint’s light and water requirements to ensure your plants stay healthy and strong:
Mint indoor light requirements
To grow mint successfully indoors, choose a location where it will get a lot of indirect sunlight. East-facing windows are best. This is another great thing about mint; it doesn’t need the prime south-facing window location that other plants require.
If you have children or cats, placing plants in windowsills can be a gamble. I have a toddler and a cat, so I grow my indoor mint under these inexpensive LED grow lights.
I place the clip-on grow lights on a shelf and position the lights just a few inches above my mint. Bonus: I also use these lights to start seedlings for transplanting in my garden and for my LettuceGrow Farmstand hydroponic grow tower. (If you decide to order one, make sure to use code FRIEND-MMT9 for $50 off!)
- 【Sunlight White + Red LEDs】Eqquiped with 5 Red+37 Sunlight White LEDs in each bar,which is similar to the sunlight at noon,and ideal for all sorts...
- 【Timing Function & Versatile Settings】 Indoor plant lights offer 3 timing options-4H/8H/12H lighting time everyday. Auto on/off and no more...
- 【Sturdy Gooseneck & Strong Clamp】with anti-slip clamp and 360-degree adjustable gooseneck,it allows you to place the plant light in any direction...
Mint water requirements
Mint likes moist, but not soggy soil. Touch the top of the soil, and if it is dry, water the plant. This is usually about once a week indoors, but your plants may need more or less frequent watering depending on conditions. Mint does need consistent moisture to grow, so make sure not to let your soil dry out.
There is no need to fertilize mint. In fact, it often negatively impacts the flavor if it is over-fertilized.
If you’re using a hydroponic system, make sure to add nutrients as described by your particular system.
Ideal temperature for mint
Mint prefers cooler weather, but can tolerate warmer temperatures. too. If you’re comfortable in your house, your mint should be fine. Keep the plants away from any drafts, and do not place them near heat radiators.
Outdoors, mint is a perennial herb that dies back in winter and regrows in the spring. You can bring potted outdoor mint inside for the winter to keep it producing. Fresh mint tea is a wonderful pick me up on a cold winter day!
Indoor mint growing tips:
- Water regularly. Mark it in your calendar to check your plant once a week. Do not let the soil surface dry out. Water the plant thoroughly, allowing the water to flow out of the bottom of the container. Drain off any excess water.
- Mint plants will grow towards the closest source of light. This causes the stems to bend, become spindly, and grow unevenly. Rotate the plant every time you water to keep it growing proportionally. It will be healthier this way.
- Avoid adding fertilizer. Mint plants don’t need it; they grow robustly enough on their own.
- Pinch off flower buds to encourage the plant to grow more foliage and produce longer.
- Harvest or prune the plant regularly to prevent it from getting leggy and maintain a bushier appearance.
Mint is ready to be harvested anytime after the plant reaches 6-8” high, or has produced multiples of leaves.
For a detailed look at harvesting mint, complete with pictures showing you exactly where to cut to ensure your plant grows back healthy and strong, please see this guide on how to harvest and preserve mint.
Mint is easy to preserve and save for later. It’s delicious for herbal teas and you can even make your own homemade mint extract!
Herb Gardening Resources
Are you thinking of starting an herb garden? Discover these herb gardening resources including which herbs to plant together, plants that repel spiders, and herb harvesting tips!
Planting Herbs Together (Which herbs to grow together & mistakes to avoid)
Do you know which herbs to plant together in containers? Discover the best herbs to grow together and how to tell if herbs will do well when planted together in this ultimate guide!
11+ Plants That Repel Spiders (plus a DIY spider repellent spray recipe that works!)
Did you know that many delicious kitchen herbs repel spiders? Discover which plants you can grow indoors and outside to help keep spiders away!
How to Harvest Basil (Must-know tip for an abundant harvest!)
Discover how to harvest basil for abundant yields all summer long!
How to Harvest Parsley
Learn how to harvest parsley to increase your parsley yields! Bonus tips for keeping your parsley fresh in the fridge and drying your parsley to use it later.
How to Harvest Thyme: tips for picking thyme & preserving your harvest
Thyme is an easy herb to grow and harvest. Once you learn how easy it is to pick and dry thyme, you'll never buy it from the grocery store again!
How to Harvest Mint (and what to do with lots of mint)
Mint is a delicious, easy to grow plant. Learn how to harvest mint and what to do with lots of mint.
Natasha Garcia-Lopez is an avoid home-gardener and proud owner of 88 acres of land in rural West Virginia. She was a member of the Association for Living History Farms and Agricultural Museums for many years and is currently enrolled in the Oregon State University Master Gardner Short Course program so she can better assist you with your gardening questions.She holds a certificate in natural skincare from the School of Natural Skincare.
Leave a Reply