Mint comes in many different varieties, but today we’ll look at one of the more popular kinds to grow indoors, spearmint. Spearmint is a fairly easy plant to grow, and it can last for many years if it has been properly cared for. Spearmint can be quite invasive though, so best to give it it’s own space. Today we’ll look at growing spearmint indoors!
Important to note, a lot of these tips will be specifically aimed towards spearmint, but many other mint plants, such as peppermint, require similar care. If you’re looking to grow a different variety of mint, many of the same ideas will still be true!
When looking to grow spearmint, there are two main ways to do so. The first is the traditional seed route. The other is to take a cutting from an existing spearmint plant.
When starting from seeds, plant them about 1/4″ inch deep in the soil, and give them around 24″ of space between. Mint is a very fast growing plant, so ample room is required or it will quickly overgrow its neighbors. Mint typically will begin to sprout in about 2-3 weeks, and this can be sped up by providing a heat source from the bottom. The top of a refrigerator is a great place to keep your seeds before they sprout because of this.
Another good way to start is to take a cutting from an existing mint plant. To do so, take a 6″ cutting from an existing mint plant and remove the bottom leaves. Submerge the bottom 2-3″ in water in a container, and allow this to sit. The cutting should begin to sprout new leaves and begin to produce roots, at which point you can replant it into a more traditional container. During this process, make sure to change the water out every 2-3 days, and provide it with bright, indirect sunlight.
In addition to either of those you can also start with a seedling grown at a nursery. This is probably the easiest route, but neither of the other options are overly difficult for those lacking a nursery or are starting out of season.
Watering & Feed
Spearmint likes the soil to remain moist, but not overly wet. Check the top inch or so of soil, and once that begins to feel dry give it a healthy dose of water. A few inches weekly should be more than enough, but may be a bit less especially in the winter. Take care not to overwater, and if nervous about not watering enough try lightly misting the plant daily with a spray bottle.
For fertilizing, spearmint should only be fertilized infrequently if at all. Too much fertilizer can actually dull the flavor of the plant which is the exact opposite most people want from a herb. Using a half strength, water soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks at most, or an organic compost. It’s also a good idea to repot once a year or so to swap out with fresh, nutrient rich soil.
Like most herbs, spearmint should be given a decent amount of sunlight in order to grow correctly. Give the plant at least 4 hours of bright sunlight, but try to get closer to a full 6 hours.
Using lights is also good for those having trouble hitting these numbers. They’re especially important when starting from seeds as for the first few weeks the seed/plant will need additional sunlight. Spearmint however can be damage by excessive heat, so make sure your lights are not too close or that they are not getting overheated during intense summer sun.
Either way, spearmint does enjoy periods of shade as well. When planting outdoors, traditional advice is to give it morning sun and afternoon shade. Try your best to replicate this pattern when indoors as well for optimal growth.
Harvesting spearmint is simple, and the leaves can simply be picked off as needed. It’s also a good idea to clip back the stems a bit to stimulate healthy growth. Mint is a very aggressive plant, and will grow quickly, so don’t feel bad about cutting it back!
One thing to note, make sure to clip off any of the flowers buds before they open. This prolongs the time for which the plant will produce the mint leaves
Growing Spearmint Indoors
Spearmint is a great plant to grow for any gardener, and is delicious for many culinary uses. It’s an easy to grow plant that is perfect for any level of gardener. While the above info was aimed at spearmint growing, most mints such as peppermint will respond to similar care routines.
Can I plant Spearmint with Other Plants?
Generally no, spearmint is a very aggressive plant that will quickly choke off other plants grown near. A good way to grow in close proximity though it to keep the spearmint in it’s own container to prevent it from spreading to neighboring plants.
What Type Of Container Is Good For Growing Spearmint?
Use a container that is wider than deep. The mint roots don’t grow particularly deep, but do like to spread out. Give them enough room to do so or they may encircle themselves and choke the plant.
What Temperature Is Best For Growing Spearmint?
Try to keep temperatures above 60°F, spearmint is not very frost tolerant. Also keep it away from any sources of dry heat such as from a furnace vent or heating unit as these can damage the plant.