Nothing adds flavor to your favorite dish like fresh herbs. Wouldn't it be great to have your own herb garden that you could access year-round? Thankfully growing herbs indoors is easy and can be done no matter how much space you have. Once you learn how to grow herbs indoors, you might want to learn more about indoor gardening with other plants. Here's what we will be discussing in case you want to jump ahead:
Alright, let's start with getting your indoor herb garden set up so you can start harvesting herbs for your meals.
How to grow herbs indoors: 6 steps to get started
Getting your indoor herb garden set up just takes a little bit of planning. Other than that, it is fairly simple to get started with growing herbs indoors. Perhaps you might also want to check out how to create compost for your herb garden.
- Pick which herbs you want to plant: You want to grow herbs you know you will use. Don't like cilantro? Don't grow it! It's your herb garden, so you get to choose what you grow.
- Find a good container: Herb pots with good drainage holes and something to collect the excess water works great for herb plants. Clay pots work well, but they can dry out quickly.
- Find a good spot: Herb plants need a lot of sun (at least six hours), so a sunny windowsill is ideal for your herb garden.
- Use the right amount of water: Most herbs like to have regular waterings, but some prefer to let their soil dry between waterings. Also, be sure you are using some well-draining soil mixed with some compost to give your herbs a good head start.
- Harvest a little at a time: This encourages new growth, but take no more than one-quarter of the herb. Taking more than this can cause too much stress to the plant and it could die.
- Transplant as necessary: Sometimes herbs outgrow their pots. If you notice roots creeping out of the drainage holes or stunted growth, it is time to repot.
7 easiest herbs to grow indoors
There are so many different herb plants to choose from, but some require more work or are more tender than others. Here are 7 of the easiest herbs you can grow indoors.
Basil is used in a lot of Italian-flavored dishes. It is an annual herb that grows best when started from seed, but you can take cuttings from an established plant to root in water. The dwarf Greek variety works well in a windowsill herb garden.
- Grows best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil
- Water regularly
- Snip away flowering stems as soon as you see them
Cilantro is another annual and is best started from seed as it grows quickly. You want to use this plant before it flowers, but you can keep starting new herbs from seed as needed.
- Requires full sun
- Needs rich, well-drained soil
- Keep soil moist
- Feed regularly with a water-soluble plant food
- Avoid harvesting more than 1/3 of the plant at a time
Oregano is a perennial herb that is best started indoors as a young plant or propagated through root division. If you do start from seed, it can take a few months to be able to harvest.
- Plant in a full sun window with well-drained soil
- Pick leaves throughout the growing season and before flowers bud
Parsley is a biennial herb meaning it produces roots, stems, and leaves in the first season and goes to seed in the second season. If you are using an existing plant, use a deep container to prevent damage to the tap root. New plants can be started from seed.
- Check the soil often and water when the top inch is dry
- Promote leaf production by fertilizing with a water-soluble plant food
- Remove flower heads as they appear (this means the plant is getting past its best and you should probably plant replacements)
- Don't harvest until there are at least 8-10 leaves
This perennial herb is easiest to grow from small plants or you can take cuttings from an established plant. Parsley can be fussy, but you will be rewarded for your hard work with its beautiful blue blossoms.
- Needs bright light
- Choose a cool location
- Provide lots of air circulation
- Mist frequently
Many cooks use sage leaves in their cooking, but you can also use the flowers in a salad. This perennial herb can be grown indoors from softwood cuttings or through division. Tri-colored and golden varieties grow better in an indoor herb garden than traditional garden sage.
- Needs well-drained soil to avoid rot
- Needs full sun
- Pick throughout the growing season
- Replace your plant every 3-4 years if using in cooking
Thyme herbs (caraway, lemon, English garden, etc.) are perennial herbs from the Mediterranean that are best started as small plants or divided from a parent plant. They are naturally grown in areas with rocky, poor soil and are prone to root rot if they don't have proper drainage.
- Need an extremely well-draining soil
- Work well in a rock or container garden
- Needs full sun
- Prune after it blooms- cut it back by about 1/3 to encourage fresh growth
5 tips for a thriving indoor herb garden
Now that you have your indoor herb garden established, let's look at what you can do to keep it thriving so it can provide fresh herbs year-round.
- Provide lots of natural light: A south-facing window will work best for herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano. East and west-facing windows are better for parsley, chives, and chervil.
- Use a grow light: If you don't have a spot that provides adequate light for your indoor herbs, try using a grow light to supplement.
- Know how much water your plant needs: Tropical and semi-tropical herbs need less water and you should let the soil dry between waterings. Most indoor herbs should be kept moist, but not soggy.
- Use the right soil mix: Some plants need a good mix of soils to get the right drainage. Tropical and semi-tropical herbs should have a soil mix that is equal parts cactus mix and regular potting mix. Most herbs do just fine in regular potting soil.
- Keep your herb plants fed: All indoor herbs need to be properly fed. Using a liquid fertilizer 1-2 times a month keeps herbs happy and green. You can even try making some homemade fertilizer if you want to avoid chemicals.
Try Lomi for an unlimited supply of natural fertilizer for your plants
If you are looking to grow herbs indoors, you need good fertilizer. Look no further than the Lomi electric composter. You can easily turn your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer for your indoor herb garden. Combine Lomi with garden soil in a 1:10 ratio to provide all your plants with nutrient-rich dirt. Users are loving how much Lomi dirt has improved their gardening.
Growing herbs indoors does not have to be hard and can provide your meals with an extra flavor boost. Providing food for your herbs doesn't have to be hard either. You should try Lomi to make composting quick and easy.
Written by: Sarah Kendal