Mint (Mentha species) is a perennial that produces new foliage all year long if the stems are not killed by frost, making it one of the easiest herbs to grow inside.Unlike many other herbs, mint is very easy to grow indoors, as long as you give the plant enough light and consistent moisture (more on both of these in a later section).I love mint’s crinkly green leaves and how the stems of some varieties tumble down over the sides of the pot.We grow them for their flavors, and what could be better than snipping your own fresh, homegrown mint leaves to make a cup of hot tea on a cold day?Since mint is constantly making new stems and leaves, you’ll always have a few sprigs ready for harvest.Whenever I need a little pick-me-up on a dreary day, I simply pinch off a leaf, rub it between my thumb and index finger, and inhale.Aside from the occasional fungus gnat, I’ve never had any houseplant pests attack my mint plants.For me, the easiest route is to purchase a starter plant at my favorite local nursery.However, if it’s autumn or winter and you’re just learning how to grow mint indoors, you might find your local nursery out of stock.If this is the case for you, consider starting a new mint houseplant from a root division or a stem cutting.Mint grows fast, so even if you start with a tiny division, before you know it, the plant will fill your pot.To maximize the growth of your indoor mint plant, you’ll need to provide it with a few things.If you don’t have a sunny, north-facing window that receives sun through the better part of the day, consider purchasing a small grow light to install over your mint plant.If you don’t have a sunny, north-facing window that receives sun through the better part of the day, consider purchasing a small grow light to install over your mint plant.Water the plant only when the soil feels dry to the touch and the pot is light.Unlike other houseplants, indoor mint will still be actively growing through the winter months, so feeding it is a good idea.Regular “haircuts” are necessary to keep your mint plant bushy and to encourage new growth.Use a pair of herb scissors or needle-nose pruners to trim the stems back on a regular basis, ideally once every few weeks.However, keeping a few water-rooted stems in a jar above the sink means you’ll be able to make the occasional harvest.They will quickly develop roots and can be grown in the water-filled jar for a few weeks or months, depending on the growing conditions.In fact, mint is a great crop to grow using a commercially made or a DIY hydroponic system.The lack of soil definitely translates to less mess, but hydroponic systems are more expensive than soil-based growing.To harvest your indoor mint plants, remove individual leaves as needed, or clip off entire stems for drying or fresh use.Don’t be afraid to cut the plant back substantially a few times a year. .

Growing Mint Indoors & How To Care For It

All you need to do is to take tip cuttings of about 5-6 inches length from an established mint plant.Remove the bottom leaves and place the cuttings in a water-filled glass or bottle.Growing mint indoors is rewarding, it complements vegetables, salads, yogurt, and meat, and freshly picked leaves taste so great.There are a few simple needs you need to care about– use a medium-sized pot (2-3 gallon would be fine) when growing mint in containers, a window box would be better as mint spread through runners, and a planter like this will give space to plant to cover.Mint can tolerate some shade outside, but it needs a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight to grow well.Quality potting mix that is light and soilless is what you need to grow mint indoors.You should be careful (especially in winter) with watering and don’t soak the plant both in the morning and evening to pamper it.Herbs growing indoors or anywhere shouldn’t be fertilized heavily, or else they lose flavor.Pinch off the tips regularly to encourage the plant to grow more branches and become bushier.Prune off the lanky, spindly, and dried branches regularly to keep the plant in shape. .

How to Grow and Care for Peppermint Plants

), or the idea of peppermint tea sends you running to the kettle, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t grow this marvelous herb at home.Peppermint is a natural mint hybrid that grows wild throughout Europe, North America, and Australia.The name comes from the Latin word Mintha, the Greek name of a nymph who was transformed into a mint plant (it’s a whole story) and piper, meaning pepper.The “pepper” part of its name is particularly apt since it has a spicy, pungent flavor derived from a unique combination of menthol, menthone, and menthyl acetate, as well as limonene and other terpenoids.Like most mint varieties, the history of peppermint is a little unclear because it can be found growing wild in many parts of the world.In his book “The New Healing Herbs: The Essential Guide to More than 130 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies,” available on Amazon, journalist Michael Castleman notes that both peppermint and spearmint were considered to be the same plant until 1696, when English botanist John Ray differentiated the two plants.For centuries, peppermint has been distilled to extract its essential oil for use in flavorings and herbal remedies.The earliest record of its medicinal use comes from the ancient Egyptian text Ebers Papyrus.Today, extracts are used to aid digestion and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and when applied to the skin they may help alleviate headaches, itching, and sore muscles.Early mint farmers were forced to gradually move across the country until the only commercial growing land that wasn’t infected with the fungus was largely in the west.Peppermint is a an important commercial crop in the US, and is primarily grown in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wisconsin, and Indiana.About 90 percent of the peppermint grown in the US is in the Pacific Northwest, which has the kind of climate it loves: moist, with cool nights and warm days, and more than 14 hours of sunlight during the summer months.Any seeds claiming to be peppermint will likely be a type of spearmint that may turn out to have an unpleasant flavor and scent.Peppermint is so vigorous that some commercial growers plow up their plants in the fall to chop up the roots and stolons and spread them around.Rooting stem cuttings is the preferred propagation method for commercial growers because it’s reliable and easy.Take a four to six-inch cutting from the top of a healthy stem and remove the leaves from the lower half.Dip the cut end into a food-safe powdered rooting hormone, and then place the stem in a glass of water.Find a bright, airy location, out of direct sunlight, and change the water every two to three days.Harden them off over the course of a week or so by placing the pot outside in the sun for a few hours and then bring it back indoors.Peppermint reproduces vegetatively by sending out runners, aka stolons, in the summer after flowering.To identify a stolon, look for what appears to be an above-ground root or horizontal stem extending from the parent plant.You can always take a larger division – as long as you leave about six inches of root behind, your plant will come back quickly.Peppermint is an incredibly adaptable plant, but ideally it prefers a cool, moist climate with well-draining, loose, organically-rich soil.I’ve even grown it as a groundcover in full shade, but the flavor was noticeably diminished.Variegated cultivars require protection from the heat of the midday sun, or the white and cream areas of the foliage can become scorched.That said, the oil concentration is stronger if you let the soil dry out a little between waterings as harvest time nears.If you live in a hot or dry area, add a layer of organic mulch like grass clippings, straw, or leaves.Be aware that the soil in containers tends to dry out much more quickly than it does in the garden – so be vigilant with your watering schedule.Peppermint can also grow indoors in containers with one caveat: it will rapidly outgrow small pots.A half-gallon container is the minimum size I’d recommend for one plant, and even then, it will become rootbound pretty rapidly, depending on the growing conditions.If it does become rootbound, you can either divide it, put it out in the garden and start with a new plant, or transplant it into a larger container.Keep plants in check through pruning and dividing Cultivars to Select As mentioned, peppermint will not grow from seed.Plants will often be generically labelled as “peppermint,” but in addition, there are a number of cultivars available – though these can often be difficult to find.It has a compact growth habit, topping out at about 16 inches tall, with deep red stems.It has a slightly fruity taste, which makes it ideal for use in drinks and cocktails, or as a garnish on summer salads.‘Variegata’ You can manage this by either planting it in a spot that gets afternoon shade, or growing it in a container so you can move it out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.The problem is, it’s even more susceptible to disease and has a slower growth habit than M. x piperita var.One of the things I love about mint besides its flavor and scent is that it’s less bothered by pests and disease than some other plants.You can identify a looper because of the way it arches the middle of the body as it moves, so its back and front legs meet.The bioinsecticides Bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad are effective controls if you have a large problem on your hands.It can vary in appearance, with coloring that ranges from pale green to black, and it may have yellow lines along its body.They start to appear in late June or early July, nibbling on the leaves of your mint plants.Mint cutworms are the largest of the bunch, measuring one to two inches long, with yellow, tan, or green bodies and black spots.Spotted cutworms are about an inch long and are dark brown or black, with triangular markings on their backs.Variegated cutworms are the same size and are brown or tan with white or yellow irregular markings.They do the same damage as armyworms, nibbling on leaves, but they don’t tend to cut plants off at the base like some other types of cutworms.Flea beetles are common garden pests that chew holes through plant leaves.The mint flea beetle (Longitarsus waterhousei) loves plants in the Mentha genus.The larvae feed on the roots and tunnel into the rhizomes, stunting growth and causing plants to wilt.The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) is a tiny arachnid that is usually found on the underside of plant leaves.As a side note, I will say that in my two decades of growing mint, peppermint and its cultivars tend to have problems with rust and powdery mildew more often than spearmint, so be diligent about prevention.If the disease continues to spread, pull your peppermint plants and don’t grow anything in the Mentha genus in that area for at least five years.This disease causes round, powdery lesions on foliage that can look a bit like your plant has been dusted in flour.This helps to control its spread and gives you a last-minute batch of tasty herbs for the coming winter.If you plan to use your leaves within the week, you can wrap them in a damp paper towel and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.I lay the stems out on a screen for a few days in a dry, protected area with good air circulation.Drying the leaves mellows out the menthol flavor a bit, so you lose some of that pungent, peppery bite.I can’t even imagine the winter holidays at my house without peppermint bark and ice cream.Add a handful of fresh or dried leaves to a teapot and allow to steep for a few minutes for a refreshing hot drink.


Grow Mint Indoors: Spearmint and Peppermint

), mojitos, peppermint hot chocolate, and other delectable food and drinks rely on mint for their signature taste.Take a look at the questions and answers below based on my “Mint 101: Grow Spearmint and Peppermint Indoors” segment on the Home & Family Show on the Hallmark Channel.Other herbs in the mint family include basil, lemon balm, catnip and lavender.Both spearmint and peppermint share the same physical hallmarks of the Mentha genus including opposite leaves, a square-shaped stem and a recognizable fragrance.An interesting fact is that menthol imparts a “cool” sensation when we taste it, or a cold feeling on our skin when we rub peppermint-scented oil.Menthol activates sensory receptors that are interpreted as a cold feeling, although there’s no actual temperature changes in our mouth or skin!Different uses: Both offer essential oils but peppermint is considered more medicinal because of the menthol content and it is used in muscle rubs, foot powder, toothpaste and other hygiene products.Some will argue that cooking with fresh peppermint will impart a very strong, acrid menthol flavor to the food.Pennyroyal mint, or Mentha pulegrium contains a toxic chemical for humans and pets.Select a wide surfaced container such as a window box and fill with well-drained potting soil.One of the most important details is to select a container with a wide surface, rather than a deep one, to keep the mint roots from encircling themselves and choking a plant.I bought white microwave containers with lids at the Dollar store, drilled a drain hole and used the cover as a saucer!Keep in mind that clay pots are porous and lose moisture easily, so opt for plastic containers, especially if you are one who forgets to water your plants!Cut a 3-inch mint stem, remove the lower leaves and place in a glass with water and it will root in 7-10 days.Cut off flower buds from your mint plant for a prolonged period of delicious leaf productivity.By the third year, most mint plants have outgrown their container space around the root area, compromising the quality of flavor in your leaves. .

Growing Mint Indoors: A Minty-Fresh Primer

Mint (Mentha in taxonomical terms) herb gardens are lush, full of pleasant aroma, and prolific.Mint leaves can be used for delicious teas, meat marinades, or even in homemade cosmetics.Mint can tolerate many extreme conditions and will continue to produce leaves even when stressed.Whether you want to grow mint in an herb garden on your balcony or in a more complicated setup like a hydroponic system, you’ll find these plants to be resilient, pleasant, and fast-growing.One benefit for those who grow mint indoors is they circumvent the risk of planting a somewhat invasive herb in their garden.I’ve grown peppermint in containers outside, and it somehow managed to make its way into a nearby bed.So planting mint indoors is a way to avoid damaging the hard work you’ve done in the earth.Grow mint indoors in a window sill or an enclosed balcony with a good amount of direct sunlight.If your windows don’t face the proper direction or can’t access enough sunlight, grow lights can help your mint flourish.However, there have been advances in hydroponic technology that provide herbs with the proper nutrients for rich flavor.Fluorescent lights often require some kind of structure to hang from above your mint plants, so you’ll want to factor this into your plan.They should also be hung close to your plants to emulate the sun members of the mint family typically need.Growing indoors is such a great solution for mint because most homes sit right around that temperature range.Mint often thrives on neglect, but indoors you’ll need to keep a close eye on your HVAC system.Try not to place any containers or setups near the outflow of your air conditioner as a heater can dry out mint soil quickly and easily.When the pot feels underweight due to a lack of moisture, it’s time to water your mint.In a windowsill, you’ll find that direct sun evaporates moisture more quickly than other methods.Leave it in the sink without a catchment tray underneath to drain off the excess water, and then return it to the windowsill.Grow tents and hydroponics will provide adequate humidity and shouldn’t require extra watering.Growing mint in an evenly proportioned mixture of vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss works just fine.In hydroponics, you can grow in lightweight expanded clay aggregate which moves moisture into pockets that can be absorbed by your mint plant.The great thing about LECA is it’s reasonably priced when compared to coconut coir or even some potting soils.You don’t have to fuss too much, though, because even indoors mint will do just fine with a regular schedule of water and light.Once you can see root poke out below the plug, and the seedling is at least a few inches tall, you can plant whatever species of mint you’ve chosen in your system.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 into rooting hormone and place them directly in the soil.Different species will have different specific requirements, but generally, mint likes high humidity and evenly moist soil.In hydroponics, keep the nutrient solution fresh to give mint the care it needs.This could also be related to fungal root rot, which can damage the overall mint plant and eventually kill it if not kept in check.To rid your plant of fungus gnats, set apple cider vinegar traps.Pour a little bit of ACV in a small cup, add some soap, and cover with plastic wrap.If you’re using a windowsill for mint gardening, you may need to purchase a grow light to eliminate excess shade. .

How to Grow Mint Indoors

Because it contains less menthol than peppermint, it is best used in savory cuisine and sauces, as well as in cold drinks, cocktails, and teas.It is an excellent addition to chocolatey desserts, ice cream, teas, and potpourris.Amazon Apple Mint It is notable for its fuzzy and fragrant leaves and has a fruity and minty flavor.It’s perfect for making iced and hot teas, salads, and homemade jelly.A strong grow light that can give the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day].If the soil dries out completely the roots will die back and it will be tough for the plant to recover.Fill up the planter with dry soil from the bag, gently tamping down the top.If you are using a regular pot instead, it should be a little bit bigger (at least 8″ / 1 gal and will need drainage holes to prevent it from being over watered.We prefer to sprout from seed or propagate from a stem cutting, as it results in plants that are adapted to your growing conditions and limit the chances that you accidentally bring home pests.).Place in a glass of 3” of water, making sure the cut leaf spots are underwater.Cut 6” section of new growth Remove leaves halfway and place them in the water on a sunny window sill Wait 7-14 days for a few ½ inch roots to form and carefully transplant into its final container.Live starter plants give you a big jump start on your first harvest.When you’re in a garden center – pick the bushiest plant available (tall and lanky ones will be weak growers) and give it a good inspection for pests.A best practice is to actually “quarantine” your plant for about a week after bringing it home to make sure it’s free and clear of ride-on pests.Hold on to the base of the stem with one hand, and turn the pot over while gently pulling the seedling.In order to provide an equivalent amount with a grow light, it needs to be pretty bright!When they sense over 12 hours of light per day, they’ll start the end of their lifecycle and work on making seeds.Where you plant them can have some effect on the temperature – lower positions on a growing rack, ceramic planters, and hydroponics with air bubblers tend to run cooler.By getting rid of the smaller seedlings, you’re allowing the biggest and strongest one to flourish by reducing its competition for water, food, and space. .

6 Amazing House Plants that Repel Spiders

Using indoor houseplants to help control insect pests isn’t a new idea, though it tends to be more common to get rid of flying bugs like mosquitoes.The crisp and unmistakable scent of peppermint is an excellent insect deterrent, and can be very effective in discouraging spiders from taking up residence.Splitting this prolific herb into multiple smaller parts is another option, especially if you need to spread more mint around the house.It grows just fine indoors as long as you can provide it with direct sunlight for at least 4 to 5 hours a day, and a location that doesn’t get too cold.This traditional purple perennial is an outdoor garden staple, and its aroma will deter insects even though its very pleasant for people (see some of the other health benefits of lavender in my post about indoor plants that good for us).It’s not quite as easy to grow indoors as some of these others, but it can be a lovely and helpful plant if you have the right conditions in the house to keep it healthy.Lavender can outgrow a pot in no time, so prune your plants back each year once it has finished flowering to keep things in check.These are plants suited for tropical living and will do best indoors if there is a lot of sun and warm temperatures.Popular in herbal tea, you can use the leaves for your own enjoyment as the plant helps drive away common insects, like fruit flies.The insect repelling compounds in chrysanthemums are known as pyrethrins, and are a common ingredient in many natural pesticides.You can put them outside for the rest of the season and the natural sunlight rhythms may trigger more blooming in the future, and then you can bring the plants back indoors for more insect duty.That’s where you should focus your houseplant collection, providing these areas get enough sun to keep your plants healthy.Hanging baskets can be an effective approach, as you can place your plants near those out-of-the-way ceiling corners that always seem to attract cobwebs.You can also take a more active technique to repelling spiders with your indoor plants, instead of just leaving them to do their jobs on their own.Plucking a few aromatic leaves, crushing them, and rubbing their strong oils in the corners or crannies where spiders are a problem will speed up their departure.Though seeing spiders in the house can send shivers up your spine, don’t forget that they do play an important role in keeping other insect populations down. .

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