Indoor Herb Garden

At this point of year, starting an inside garden is an inspiring idea. Add a couple of fresh parsley to the stuffing . Dress up boiled potatoes with fresh rosemary. Snip some fresh chives into eggs and hash browns. Sprinkle fresh oregano in soups and pasta dishes. Cooking with fresh herbs makes me desire a chef, not just the person whose turn it’s to form dinner. Plus, it’s so convenient to possess everything available . No checking of expiration dates on the windowsill basil!

I used the term “indoor garden ,” but which will be too intimidating. Although it’s magazine-beautiful to possess a basket of several different herbs of varied green hues and textures, a multiple-plant grouping presents challenges. While most herbs share an equivalent general needs, some herbs have specific preferences. Using individual potting containers makes it easier to cater to specific needs, promote air circulation, and supply ample space for every plant because it matures. If you wish the design of containers with multiple herbs, or if space may be a constraint, group herbs with similar light, water, temperature, and humidity requirements.

This article will specialise in growing indoor herbs to use in everyday cooking. We’ll check out a couple of basic herbs and their requirements. you’ll then add your personal favorites supported these general guidelines, plus your own additional research.



Light is that the most vital variable for growing herbs indoors. Herbs that aren’t exposed to their preferred light conditions will become thin and spindly, produce smaller leaves, and have a reduced aroma. make certain your herbs get a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day a simple thanks to judge this beforehand is to put an empty pot where you propose to place your herbs and watch how the sun changes throughout the day. Southern exposure is best, western exposure is next best. If plants are grown on windowsills, it’ll be necessary to rotate pots often in order that all sides gets enough light for uniform growth. counting on your home’s sun exposure, you’ll got to use supplemental lighting. Or, you’ll choose herbs which will thrive with the sunshine you naturally have, and eliminate the “sun-hogs” that won’t be at their best.


Countertop garden with herb pods, Photo: Jennifer Greenlaw

General advice is to put herbs 6-12″ from two 40-watt, cool white fluorescent bulbs for 14-16 hours. There are many sources for very handy, counter-top herb gardens with lights. you’ll also build your own fluorescent-enhanced herb garden; a google search will reveal many DIY plans, although these tend to be for “operations” larger than kitchen counters. Or, you’ll use a simple clip-on light that works on one small area at a time (presumably not on the brink of cooking activity), or tube-style lights which will hang from underneath kitchen cabinets. You’ll got to weigh the pros and cons of taking these extra steps.


Most herbs like loose soil that drains easily. Most had best during a soilless potting mix. For even more drainage, mix two parts good-quality, soilless potting mixture and one part perlite. Straight potting soil is just too compact and heavy permanently drainage. you’ll make a customized soil mix by using 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 organic matter (peat moss, compost, or leaf mold), and 1/3 perlite. (See this link for an outline of the differences between perlite and vermiculite, and when to use each.)


Water each herb as needed; many herbs wish to get on the slightly-dry side. Separate pots allow you to watch water needs for every plant. Bay, marjoram, oregano, sage, and thyme got to dry out between watering. Never allow rosemary or chives to dry out completely. Basil likes moist, but not wet soil, with excellent drainage to avoid plant disease . Generally, more indoor herbs die from overwatering than from underwatering. If the plant is limp or has yellow leaves, test the soil together with your finger before watering.


Herbs also require a correct balance between a damp environment and adequate air circulation. When grouped together, containers create a damp environment. However, the closely-grouped containers might not allow sufficient air circulation. Basil and rosemary are vulnerable to mildew . This again highlights the advantage of using separate pots. you’ll rearrange group containers to permit space for more air circulation. For herbs that like humidity, like rosemary and parsley, pots are often placed during a pan of moist pebbles, or misted twice weekly with a water sprayer.


Fertilize herbs with a coffee dose of liquid fertilizer, like fish emulsion, seaweed, or a general purpose, water-soluble fertilizer used at half the label-recommended strength. Some herbs require little or no fertilizer, some can enjoy applications every 4-6 weeks. Over-fertilizing may negatively affect an herb’s aroma and taste.


Ideally, herbs prefer room temperatures of a minimum of a 65-70°F during the day and 55-60°F in the dark . You and your plants may have different opinions on what temperatures are most comfortable! Some herbs like indoor temperatures warmer, some like them cooler. you ought to definitely avoid placing herbs by a hearth or a heat vent. Also avoid drafty windows, or placing the pot right next to the glass on a freezing night. A sunny windowsill can become a cold spot for basil after the sun goes down. you’ll need to shift plants around to stay them happy. But that’s what we do for our plants!


Choose pots that have drainage holes. All herbs need good drainage. There are pros and cons to using clay pots. Clay pots are porous which allows air and water to flow through them. This helps prevent plant disease . Clay tends to dry out quickly, however, so watering is required more frequently. A glazed or plastic container won’t dry out as quickly. This advantage can become a con if you tend to overwater. lookout with the saucers you select . Clay saucers can leave wet marks on window sills and furniture. Plastic saucers are less likely to go away water stains, but placing protection under any sort of saucer will help reduce the danger of water stains. If herbs are placed on a non-porous kitchen countertop, staining are going to be less of a drag . If you’re tight on counter space and don’t have a convenient area in proximity, combining herbs during a hanging basket could be an honest alternative. during this case, group herbs that have similar requirements. for instance , don’t put basil with oregano and thyme. get on the lookout throughout the year for fun and attractive pots for giving herbs as gifts. Just confirm to pick pots with drainage holes.


The easiest and quickest thanks to start is to get healthy starter plants. But, if you would like to start out from seed, see this text from the University of Illinois Extension. Many herbs are often easily started from stem cuttings of existing plants. See this text from The Garden Shed on starting plants from stem cuttings. It’s too late this year for taking cuttings from outdoor plants, but perhaps you’re overwintering an outsized , containerized herb within the house – you’ll start a touch stem cutting plant to stay within the kitchen. Or, you’ll simply tuck this concept away for next year.


Virginia Tech recommends that the majority of the herbs that have a mature height shorter than 12″ could also be grown in 6″ pots as indoor plants. Many dwarf sorts of larger herbs are appropriate indoors, as well, including, spicy globe basil, dwarf sage, winter savory, parsley, chives, and sorts of oregano and thyme. Any herbs with a taproot, like dill (Anethium graveolens), require deep pots. Consider the dimensions of plants your space can accommodate.


The following herbs are frequently used for cooking, and appropriate to growing indoors:

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil, Photo: Stephanie Studer, Unsplash

The leaves of basil have numerous oil glands with aromatic essential oil , which makes it such a pleasure to possess within the house. even as with outside plants, basil should be pinched back to market bushiness, and to stop flower heads from forming. This plant likes a sunny southern exposure and consistently warm room temperatures, both day and evening. Basil leaves will droop and fade after a brief time in cool air, so avoid putting basil during a drafty spot, or next to a window on cold nights. While the soil should be kept somewhat moist, it should never be soggy, which could cause plant disease . General houseplant fertilizer are often used at half the label-recommended strength every 4-6 weeks; apply to the soil, avoid getting it on stems or leaves. Spicy globe basil may be a compact variety suitable for indoors. Don’t be dismayed if you would like to exchange the basil and begin again. It’s alittle price to buy something that works in numerous recipes! Or, you’ll plan to label basil as a “sun hog” and advance to something else.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives, Photo: Katka Pavlickova, Unsplash

Chives are much less finicky about indoor conditions. They tolerate the lower light of the winter sun, also as temperature fluctuations characteristic of a kitchen windowsill which will range from 55-75⁰ F. Chives grow best when watered frequently, as long as there’s proper soil drainage. Soil should be moist but not wet. Tips of foliage will turn yellow if the plant is just too dry. Use a liquid fertilizer at half the label-recommended strength every four to 6 weeks. Once the plant is 6” tall, cut leaves with a scissors as required , leaving a minimum of 2” of growth above the soil. The plant will still grow. The Grolau variety, appropriately called Windowsill Chives, was bred for growing indoors. it’s extra strong flavor, thick, dark leaves, and is a smaller amount vulnerable to becoming leggy.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Oregano plant during a pot, Photo: (Cropped to spotlight oregano) Netha Hussain, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This perennial herb from the Mediterranean likes it hot and bright. If there’s no spot in your home that receives six hours of sun per day, you’ll need to supplement with fluorescent lights or grow lights. Water only the soil feels completely dry. Poke your finger about ½” into the dirt. you’ll fertilize occasionally with liquid fertilizer at half the label-recommended strength, but fertilization is usually unnecessary. Oregano are often grown from seed, or from cuttings of high-flavor plants. don’t allow the plant to flower; this may reduce growth or stop growth completely. Flowering also reduces the flavour of the leaves. When harvesting, remove the stem tips, leaving 4-6 pairs of leaves on the plant so as for it to supply side shoots for extra harvesting. Leaves should be stripped from the stems by running your fingers down the stems. Chop the leaves before use. Greek oregano, or true oregano, has a superb flavor. Another popular variety with an intense flavor is ‘Profusion’ ® oregano.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Flat-leaf Parsley, Photo: pintando la luz, Unsplash

The most common variety is common or curly parsley, parsley . Curly parsley typically grows 8-14″ tall, and may be a good candidate for growing indoors. Italian Italian parsley , P. neapolitanum, is another popular variety. The flat, serrated leaves have a way stronger and sweeter flavor than the opposite varieties, making it more desirable for cooking.

Set parsley during a sunny, preferably south-facing window where it’ll receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day . If your window doesn’t provide that much light, supplement it with fluorescent lighting. Turn the pot every 3-4 days in order that the plant doesn’t lean into the sun. Parsley also needs humidity, and you’ll got to mist the plants from time to time. If the leaves look dry and brittle, set the plant on top of a tray of pebbles and add water to the tray, leaving the tops of the pebbles exposed. The plants could also be a touch spindly when grown indoors due to lower light levels. Use a liquid fertilizer at half the label-recommended strength every 4-6 weeks. Harvest parsley by snipping off the stalks on the brink of the soil, beginning with the surface stalks. If you only cut the tops off and therefore the leaf stalks remain, the plant are going to be less productive.

Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)

Rosemary, Photo: Vincent Foret on Unsplash

Rosemary prefers a cool, sunny location where the humidity is high. The herb dries out quickly in an inside growing environment, and should exhibit brown leaf tips and die-back. don’t react to those signs by watering the plant more; this might cause plant disease and loss of the plant. Rosemary likes dry roots, and prefers to soak up moisture from the air through its foliage. Keep the plant cool, and place it on pebble-filled saucers. confirm there’s always some water within the saucer, but not above the extent of the pebbles. This helps to extend humidity round the plant and reduce foliage damage. Frequent misting, twice weekly, is additionally helpful. Rosemary doesn’t require much fertilizing outdoors or indoors. When the plant is 6” tall, cut leaves as required leaving a minimum of 2” of growth above the soil. Don’t let the branches get too spiky – trim them back to stay the plant bushy. you’ll use any R. officinalis for cooking, but upright kinds with broader leaves contain more aromatic oil.

‘Spice Island’ may be a variety normally sold within the herb section of the nursery. ‘Tuscan Blue’ is that the favorite of the many chefs; ‘Blue Spires’ and ‘Miss Jessup’s Upright’ also are good. Rosemary is definitely propagated from cuttings. See the section on propagation below.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Common thyme is native to the western Mediterranean region, and prefers full sun. It can, however, tolerate indirect light if you’re running out of prime sun spots for other needy herbs. the foremost popular thyme is English thyme (Thymus vulgaris), which isn’t native to England, but was introduced by the Romans. Its strong, distinctive flavor is what most folks accompany the herb. Another good culinary option is French thyme (Thymus vulgaris), a spread of English thyme that has narrower, grey-green leaves and a rather sweeter flavor. it’s often preferred by chefs, and is superb for seasoning meat, fish, soup, and vegetables. an alternative choice is lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus). It’s lemony taste and scent may be a welcome addition to chicken, fish, and salads which will use a citrusy overlay.

Thyme during a pot. Photo: Netha Hussain, CC BY-SA 4.0

Thyme may be a hardy plant and can do alright when kept trimmed and in good light. Water the thyme only the soil feels dry. Poke your finger about ½” into the soil. If it’s dry, give the plant an honest soaking, pouring in enough water in order that it drains into the saucer. Thyme has small, wiry stems; to reap , strip the leaves from the stems by running your fingers down the stems. Thyme’s primary oil, thymol, is taken into account an antiseptic.


Clipping your herbs to use for cooking is that the biggest reason to growing them. This “pruning” is useful to the plants also , as long as you clip but one-third of the plant at just one occasion .


The high concentration of essential oils in healthy, actively growing herbs repels most insects. However, aphids and spider mites are often a drag . If aphids are a drag , wash the leaves with water. Aphids seem to be more prevalent in crowded conditions. Spider mites thrive in dry conditions and may be controlled by spraying the plants with plain water at regular intervals. you’ll also use a soapy solution of 1-2 tablespoons of a light soap, like dishwashing soap, to at least one gallon of warm water. Spray infested plants with the answer once every week while pests are visible.


When using fresh herbs during a recipe, a general guideline is to use 3 times the maximum amount as you’d use of a dried herb. When substituting, you’ll often be more successful substituting fresh herbs for dried herbs, instead of the opposite way around. If you choose quite you would like , store the additional in an open or perforated bag (use a pointy object to form several small holes) within the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for a couple of days. After picking, wash smaller amounts of herbs thoroughly under running water, shake off the moisture, and pat off any remaining moisture with clean paper towels. For a bigger amount of herbs, you’ll use a salad spinner. Unlike dried herbs, fresh herbs are usually added toward the top in cooked dishes to preserve their flavor. Add the more delicate herbs – basil, chives, cilantro, dill leaves, parsley, marjoram and mint – a moment or two before the top of cooking, or sprinkle them on the food before it’s served. The less delicate herbs, like oregano, rosemary, tarragon and thyme, are often added about the last 20 minutes of cooking. Add fresh herbs to refrigerated cold foods several hours before serving; this helps the flavors to blend.


An indoor garden may be a sensory experience, adding fragrance to the kitchen, beauty to the attention , and flavor to food–flavor which will help reduce the necessity for salt, fat, and sugar. Researchers are finding that a lot of culinary herbs (both fresh and dried) have antioxidants which will help protect against diseases like cancer and heart condition . Providing sufficient light is that the most challenging a part of growing herbs indoors. When herbs are grouped in containers, confirm the selections have compatible light, water, temperature, and humidity requirements. An garden are often a variety of plants, or simply one or two favorites in single pots. Extend the season , and have some fun!

The Easiest Herbs To Grow Indoors In Edmonton

You’ll haven’t any trouble in the least getting these seeds started reception . Pick some up from our garden centre today, and before you recognize it, you’ll have tasty, harvestable herbs right at your fingertips!

Cilantro: Who knew a culinary herb could spurn such heated debates? Whether you’re pro-cilantro, otherwise you insist it tastes like soap, there’s no denying this spice may be a staple in cuisines round the globe. one among the simplest parts about growing cilantro is how quickly it sprouts up, so if you’ve got kids, this is able to be an excellent project for them. Fill a couple of cups with potting soil, enter two seeds to each cup, keep the soil moist, and within a couple of days, you’ll start to ascertain some green poking up!

Mint: This fragrant herb just about grows sort of a weed, so it’s hard to mess this one up. If you’re a beginner gardener, you’ll get tons out of growing mint at home—literally. With enough sun and a few regular watering, you’ll be ready to harvest bunches of leaves off your plant hebdomadally looks like a reasonably good excuse to form some mojitos!

Sage: a standard medicinal herb that has been used for hundreds of years for a mess of purposes, sage is pretty iconic. Personally, I’m all that sage and beurre noisette sauce—seriously, have you ever ever had sage butter on butternut squash ravioli? It’s a transcendent experience. Sage likes the sun, so it’s best if you place it on a south-facing window, but as far as watering goes, it’s relatively drought-tolerant. If it’s looking a touch tired, provides it some water, but you’ll usually wait until the highest few inches of soil have dried out before watering it again.

how to grow the best indoor herb garden ever windowsill herbs

Basil: Basil comes from an equivalent family as mint, and similarly, it grows pretty quickly. Plus, there are numerous cool varieties to settle on from! Thai basil, lemon basil, sweet basil—the list goes on and on. it’s a stunning ornamental appeal, too, since it also produces cute white flowers. Smells great, tastes great, looks great, and it can complement numerous different dishes—it’s just about the right herb plant.

Rosemary: There are endless ways to use this classic savoury herb, so it’ll never attend waste. It are often grown inside, but it are often a touch finicky sometimes , so it’s essential to form sure conditions are good . A pot with good drainage and loose soil is vital , so it doesn’t get waterlogged. many sunshine may be a must, and a touch of a draft or some air circulation will help too because, once during a while, it can fall victim to mildew if the foliage stays moist for too long. you’ll avoid that by watering the soil directly, rather than pouring it everywhere the plant.

Thyme: I’m not gonna lie, half the rationale i really like to grow this herb is for the puns. (“What thyme is it? It’s culinary thyme!”) However, it’s also pretty simple to cultivate, so that’s a bonus. Thyme grows inside as easily because it grows outside, as long as it’s getting enough sun. await the soil to dry up a touch between watering, add some diluted liquid fertilizer every fortnight , and you’ll have plenty to harvest—plus some cute purple flowers to enjoy!

Growing Herbs Indoors Without Sunlight

Now, if sunlight isn’t in high supply in your home, or if we find yourself having dreary grey skies for a touch longer than anticipated (certainly not out of the realm of possibility here in Alberta), your plants might start to wilt, and you’ll got to call in some backup. an inside garden light will provide your plants with an additional blast of rays in order that they can photosynthesize the energy they have we’ve a number of the simplest grow lights for herbs available at our greenhouse in Edmonton, so stop by Salisbury and we’ll hook you up with the right setup counting on the dimensions of your garden and therefore the available space you’ve got in your home.

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