Indoor Herbs

How to grow and maintain an indoor herb garden.

Instead of lamenting the absence of fresh herbs in winter, create a mini herb garden on a sunny windowsill and savor the flavor of your favorite herbs all year long. Chives, mint, parsley and thyme are only a few of the herbs that grow indoors. Read on to learn what you need to grow and maintain your favorite herbs indoors.

What You’ll Need

Location. Herbs do best when grown in sunny conditions. For the best results, select a window that receives at least six hours of sunlight. South-facing windows are best, but east- and west-facing windows can also work. North-facing windows don’t provide enough sunlight for herbs to grow. Supplemental lighting, from fluorescent bulbs or grow lights, placed 8 inches from the herbs can be added in areas that don’t get enough sunlight.

The ideal temperature for growing herbs indoors is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 to 21 degrees Celsius, during the day, dipping down into the low 60s to mid-50s at night.

Containers. The container type isn’t important, but it must have holes for drainage. Pots should be at least 6 inches across to allow enough space for roots to grow. Larger pots are better because the soil dries out more slowly and needs less watering.

Soil. Well-drained soil is a must for herbs. Use a potting or planting mix, which is best for containers, as it doesn’t get overly moist as many potting or garden soils can.

Paintbox Garden, original photo on Houzz

Herbs. Many kinds of herbs can adapt to growing indoors. Chives, lemongrass, mint, oregano, parsley and thyme are the easiest herbs to grow on a sunny windowsill. Other herbs, like basil and rosemary, can be grown inside with a little extra care.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting, original photo on Houzz

Planting Herbs

The herbs for your indoor herb garden can come from a variety of sources. If you have herbs growing outdoors, you can bring them inside in fall and transplant them into your windowsill containers. Some herbs, such as rosemary, may lose their leaves temporarily as they adjust to the lower light levels indoors but should soon recover and grow new leaves.

Purchasing herbs as transplants from your local nursery is an excellent way to get started growing herbs indoors as well. If growing herbs from seeds appeals to you, try basil and chives, which are the easiest to start from seed.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting, original photo on Houzz

Another way to obtain herbs for your indoor herb garden is to root them from cuttings. This method is inexpensive and can be done using cuttings from herbs growing in your garden or using a sprig of fresh herbs from your local grocery store. Rooting herbs from cuttings works well with basil and mint.

Simply take a leafy stem of the herb you’d like to grow and remove the lower leaves. Place it in a clear container filled with water so that no leaves are submerged. Roots will begin appearing within a few days. Change the water every other day. Once the roots reach 1 inch in length, transplant the herb into a pot filled with potting mix.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting, original photo on Houzz

Caring for Indoor Herbs

Watering. Herbs don’t like wet soil, so it’s important not to overwater them. Check the soil moisture by inserting your finger 1 inch into the soil. If it’s barely moist or almost dry, water until water runs out the bottom drainage holes.

Fertilizing. It’s important not to over-fertilize herbs, which will promote flowering when all we want are the leaves. Fertilize monthly with a liquid fertilizer at half strength, or use an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion, for best results.

Other Tips

●Rotate your potted herbs weekly to ensure that the entire plant receives the sun and grows evenly.

●Keep the herbs from touching the window, where outside temperatures can cause their leaves to freeze in winter or burn in summer.

●It is important to note that herbs will grow more slowly indoors, and the leaves will be thinner and a lighter green than those grown outside due to the weaker sunlight indoors. This is especially true of basil, which needs a lot of light to grow well indoors.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting, original photo on Houzz

Harvesting. Cut off up to one-third of an individual herb at a time, concentrating on the oldest stems first, which will promote new growth of more flavorful leaves.

Growing herbs indoors takes a little effort, but the rewards are great when you can enjoy their fresh flavor all year long.

This article was originally published on
For related content see:
Control the Amount of Sunlight House Plants Get With These Blinds and Shades
Root Herbs in a Clear Vase
Easy Herbs for Every Space

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Categories: Home Grown