It can seem hard to know how to start growing your own herbs inside your home if you are inexperienced at gardening or at keeping a houseplant alive. But this beginner friendly guide can help give you some tips on how to ensure your plants are happy and healthy. If this is your first time growing plants indoors, be prepared that they might not all make it and that is okay! You can try again and make adjustments as you go and soon you will have a lovely indoor herb garden.
Why do it?
Not only is growing your own herbs, spices and vegetables better for the environment, but it is cheaper. Fresh or dried herbs can be pricey at local supermarkets, and sometimes they go bad before you use them up. Having your own means there is no pressure to use them up before they go bad, and they’re way cheaper. They also have a nicer, fresher scent! If you have the time and ability to tend to your little garden you can get a great return on investment.
Do some research
Figure out what you want to grow and where it will grow best. Some plants will prefer being in front of a south facing window if they like more light, and others prefer less light. You may decide to buy artificial light for some of your herbs or use natural light.
There are many herbs that can grow easily inside. Here’s a quick guide.
Herbs that grow well inside
Basil– Greek Miniature Basil is a good variety to grow indoors and can be used in the same recipes as Sweet Basil, and Spicy Globe Basil also grows well indoors. These varieties grow to 6 and 10 inches respectively, so you won’t have to worry about an out of control plant. Basil likes full sun and warmth so make sure to place it near a window that gets a lot of sunlight, such as a south-facing window. Basil is not a long term house plant, so, to ensure a consistent harvest, plan to plant new seeds every few weeks.
Oregano– Greek Oregano grows between 8-12 inches tall making it an excellent option for indoor growing. Water the plant when the surface of the soil is dry, but make sure to keep the whole plant from drying out. Oregano Likes full sun so a south-facing window is best. Oregano should be replaced every two years.
Rosemary– Blue Boy Rosemary is a great option for indoors as it grows up to 24 inches. Rosemary prefers full sun but a cooler location and less moisture than other herbs. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings. Purchasing a rosemary plant is your best bet at ensuring a strong and healthy plant.
Mint– Mint is a great option to grow indoors, as outdoor mint can quickly take over an entire garden. It is important to keep mint in its own pot or it will take over other herbs. Spearmint is often used for cookies and some cocktails and has a sweeter mint flavor. Other varieties of mint that grow well indoors are Peppermint and Chocolate Mint. Purchasing mint starter plants and growing them is the easiest way to grow them indoors. Mint requires a bit more water than other herbs, so expect to water it more frequently. Mint likes morning sun and partial shade, so an east facing window is best.
The video below gives an overview of growing basil, oregano, rosemary, and mint.
Chives– Chives take about 90 days to go from seed to harvest and prefer full sun or partial shade, so if you’re out of real estate on your south-facing window, an east-facing one will do just fine. To harvest, clip a couple of inches above the base of the plant to encourage new growth. Buying a chive plant and potting it in rich soil will allow you to have a steady supply of chives.
Cilantro– Most varieties of cilantro grow well indoors, Calypso Cilantro grows to between 12-18 inches, which makes it a good candidate for an indoor herb. Cilantro grows best in full sun or light shade so a south or east-facing window is best. Cilantro takes 3-4 weeks to go from seed to harvest and early harvest will help encourage it to become bushier.
Dill– Fern Leaf Dill grows up to 18 inches, so it is a great option for an indoor herb. Dill grows in full sun or partial shade. It helps to plant small bunches in a larger pot, for example three seedlings in an 8 inch wide pot. You know when it is time to start harvesting once your dill plant has 5 true leaves.
Parsley– Flat Leaf Parsley has great flavor and is used in most recipes. It grows well in a south or east-facing window and can handle cooler temperatures and more moisture than other indoor herbs. To plant the parsley, clip parsley from an outdoor plant (from a friend or a neighbor) at the base of the plant and plant it indoors. The new growth will come from the center of the plant. If you plant from seeds, it takes 2-3 weeks for sprouts to emerge, but if you soak the seeds overnight they will sprout sooner. Harvest parsley by pinching off a stem near the base.
Sage– Dwarf Garden Sage grows to about 10 inches tall making it a good choice for an indoor herb. It prefers full sun so it will grow best in a south-facing window. Sage grows best when the soil has a chance to dry out between waterings. It will need to be replaced every few years.
Thyme– English Thyme and Lemon Thyme are common varieties that are grown indoors. Thyme is easy to grow from seed to plant and grows best when the soil dries out between watering. You can plant small bunches in one pot to have a nice bushy pot.
If you want to learn how to regrow herbs from cuttings, watch the video below:
When you harvest make sure to harvest no more than ⅓ of your crop at a time. This can actually improve the herb’s growth. Keep your pots spaced apart to ensure no critters are moving between plants. In case you do have bugs or one of your plants gets sick, it won’t spread to the rest.
Growing herbs indoors can be a fun way to care for plants that you can use in your daily life. There is something very satisfying about using herbs you have grown when cooking or to make tea. It can also save you money and is better for the planet.
If you opt for grocery store herbs every now and again, you can keep them alive for longer by putting them in a cup of water in your fridge, and changing out the water every few days. Alternatively – and this works well with parsley – you can place them (unwashed) in a dry airtight container and in the fridge on a high shelf so they remain cool. That way, your herbs will keep nice and fresh for up to a week. If you want to freeze them you can wrap them in a damp paper towel and then some plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists and contributors are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Herbs in a Dish Featured Photo Credit: Gate74 Via Pixabay