Apart from getting to eat fresh spices or herbs, growing plants have a therapeutic impact on the human mind. The freshly growing herbs are not only pleasing to look at but they also fill your space with a soothing fragrance. If you’re a plant lover but are short on space or do not have a garden, we have got your back. Read this comprehensive guide to know everything about how to grow herbs indoors.
Growing herbs indoors is as simple as planting herbs in the garden. You just need to know the right type of soil, temperature, and water, that is suitable for your plant. Find some amazing tips towards the end of the guide.
How to Grow Herbs Indoors?
If you are a newbie, follow these steps to plant your favorite herbs indoors.
1-Choose the right plant
Though you can grow almost any plant or herb indoors, some plants do not grow the best in artificial light or with minimal exposure to sunlight. If you have no prior experience in gardening, start with simple herbs like parsley, basil, mint, or rosemary. These plants are not only easy to grow but easy to maintain as well.
You can get the seeds of the selected herb from the nearest nursery or cut a branch from an existing plant and replant it. Make sure that you cut the branch at the node, As this procedure involves a specific technique, planting seedlings is the easiest way to go.
Interested in growing plants from cuttings? Watch the video below.
2-Pick some pots
Plant pots are available in various materials including clay, metal, resin, and wood. You can choose any kind of pot as long as it provides the right amount of drainage to the plant. This means that the pot can drain any amount of excess water present in the soil. For this purpose, the right kind of pots has small holes beneath them.
As long as the plant fits in, you can use any size of the pot. Do not choose a relatively smaller pot as you will have to re-pot sooner or later. The size of the pot should not be too large in comparison to the size of the plant either. As the plants would be utilizing more of its nutrients in growing the roots, it will take longer to grow.
3-Get the right soil
When wondering how to grow herbs indoors, what soil to use is an important concern that arises in your mind. The type of soil you fill the pot with effects the plant growth as well. It is suggested to use potting soil rather than garden soil. Potting soil is lighter and more porous than garden soil which is dense and thus blocks moisture from escaping.
4-Select the spot with maximum light exposure
Plants depend on light for the process of photosynthesis to generate energy. Some plants need more sunlight than others to grow. Make sure that you place the pot at the sunniest spot available for maximum exposure to sunlight.
You might see reduced plant growth in the winter season due to obvious reasons. To save your plants from the damage, consider investing in grow lights.
5-Watering the plant
Small herbs require a little amount of water. For significant plant growth, make sure that the soil is consistently moist but not water-logged. If the leaves start turning yellow it’s time to cut back on watering.
6-Harvest small bunches at a time
Plants need constant care and time to flourish. That means they should get regular water and sunlight. You should harvest small bunches at a time to make room for new growth. It s preferable to pinch the leaves of the herb instead of cutting off the branches.
Do not remove more than a quarter of a plant at one time as it would stop the growth and the plant may even die.
7-Transplant when needed
One drawback of planting herbs indoors is that you will have to shift the plant to a bigger pot sooner or later. Indoor plants are not eternal. If you take good care of them, they will outgrow their pots and would require a larger container.
Tips For Flourishing Indoor Herbs
1-Provide sufficient sunlight
The intensity of light affects the taste of the herb as well. The more light they get, the better their growth will be, and thus more intense the taste is.
For significant growth of the herb, 6-8 hours of exposure to light is preferable. Locate them near the western or southern window where they can receive direct sunlight for long hours. Place a table near the window which is large enough that the pots can easily stand on them and won’t break in case a fast wind blows.
If you can not find any such place in your house and are worried about the growth of your herb, buy some grow lights from the garden center or online retailers. Grow lights have a specific light spectrum that resembles that of the sun and hence encourages plant growth.
2- Keep the temperature between 18-30°C
Temperature plays an important role in the growth of the plant. Most of the herbs grow the best when the temperature is between 18-30°C.
When the outside temperature is higher, just make sure that you do not place the plant so close to the window that the leaves touch the glass. It could burn the leaves when the glass heats up.
If you have drafty windows, it might get too cold during winters that the plant growth is altered. To remedy this problem, you can add some insulation e.g. some towels to cover for the leakage.
3-Do Not Grow more than One Herb in the Same Pot
When you are doing indoor gardening, do not overcrowd the pot with multiple herbs. Mostly, every herb demands a different protocols. It becomes easier to manage when you have different pots for every herb. You can addresses the individual needs of the herb separately.
Moreover, if you grow more than one herb in one pot and any one of those herbs comes under the pest attack, you might lose your little herb garden entirely. However, growing more than one herb in the same pot can be practiced if you are planting them in your garden.
Planter boxes are easily available from garden stores or online retails. They are available in different colors and materials which add to the beauty of the room as well. These boxes can be hung with on the windows as well.
Tip: If you are growing more than one herb in different pots, keep them at a distance so air can pass between them.
4-Look out for any Pests
Before buying the plants, make sure to look for any pests. Herbs provide the best habitat to scale, spider mites, and aphids. Spider mites create their web between the leaves of the plant while aphids and scales form droppings around the leaves.
If you have unknowingly brought such a pest-affected plant, make sure to wash it with soapy water.
5-Add Seaweed or Fish-Based Fertilizer to the Soil
When growing herbs, make sure that the major portion of the fertilizer consists of nitrogen which contributes to the leaf growth. The best options are seaweed and fish-based fertilizers that have a significant amount of nitrogen. The plant growth is increased during the summer season so it is suggested to add fertilizer once a week. While in the slow-growth phase i.e. winter season, adding fertilizer once in a month is enough.
Another option is to make a solution of the fertilizer for a week and add it every time you water the plant.
6-Enable Good Air Circulation between plants
Placing the pots close to each other can hinder plant growth. There would be less air circulation between the plants and they might wither. Moreover, there is a higher chance of spread of disease among closely placed plants as well. Give your plants good breathing space and rearrange them every now and then.
7-Prefer infrequent and slow watering
Watering is crucial to plant growth. But you must let the soil dry between watering. The best tip is to check the soil using your finger. Insert your finger vertically into the soil. If it is dry about two inches below the surface, know that it is ready to be watered again. Some plants are more damaged by frequent watering than not watering them for long.
Do not worry if the surface appears to be dry, as long as the roots are surrounded by moisture, the health of your plant would not be compromised.
8-Talk to your plants
Yes, you read it right. Just like humans, plants feel the love of their gardener. Talking to the plant releases carbon dioxide which is utilized by the plant in making food. Give a gentle pat to the leaves. It will stimulate the wind movement which would strengthen the stems.
Best Herbs to Grow Indoors
We suggest that a beginner should plant herbs that are easy to plant and do not require a high protocol. Herbs that are used in everyday cooking like basil, rosemary, coriander, parsley, and mint are a good choice. They are easily available at every garden store.
This culinary herb with amazing health benefits is easy to grow. It belongs to the mint family and gives a distinctive flavor to the Mediterranean and especially Italian cuisine. You can either plant seeds or buy small plants from the garden store and plant it in rich potting soil.
The Basil plant is heat-loving so prefer to keep it near the western or southern window. Avoid keeping them at a cool, shadowy place. In case you can not find an appropriate place with lots of sunlight, get some grow lights.
Chervil is one of the four herbs that is used to make French fines blend. It is an important ingredient of Béarnaise sauce which goes well with chicken, potatoes, and fish. Chervil is an annual plant, thus you will need to replant the herb after a few months. Plant some seeds in moist soil and keep it in a cool place once the seeds start sprouting.
Mint is a genus of plant with 13 to 24 species (you have a hell lot of options to choose from). Mint leaves, which are known to provide a cooling sensation, are a popular ingredient in various foods and beverages ranging from teas, drink, margaritas to salads and sauces.
Mint plants usually grow in proliferation (share them with your neighbors as a gesture of love). To experience the best growth and health of the plant keep the soil moist and provide moderate to strong sunlight. Perennials like mint can tolerate temperature up to 30°C.
Oregano with its strong aroma and slightly bitter to pungent taste is a very popular species of the mint family. It is considered a must for Mexican, Italian and American cuisines. Widely used in tomato sauce, soups, casseroles to pizzas, and pasta, oregano is one of the all-time-favorite seasoning herbs.
The dried leaves provide a better taste than fresh leaves. Grow them just like any other herb, pinch the leaves, dry them, and store them in a bottle. Water the plant when you feel like the soil is dry but avoid leaving the soil dry for long hours. Give them moderate to strong light.
When added to salads and soups, parsley gives a vibrant color and distinctive flavor. It is commonly used in stuffing, chicken, and fish. Apart from the taste, parsley has amazing health benefits and healing properties. If you visit a garden store you will find two types of parsley which differs based on their origin and the shape of the leaf. The Italian parsley has flat leaves while the leaves of French parsley are curly.
Whichever type you choose, grow them in deep and rich potting soil. Avoid cutting off branches and pinch the leaves off from the base whenever needed.
This evergreen herb belonging to the mint family is native to the Mediterranean. They give a distinctive taste when added to chicken, fish, soup, or potatoes. It increases the flavor of tomato and cream sauces. It is often used to make perfumes and has potential health benefits when orally taken. Generally, rosemary grows better in hot and dry places during summer but in winter, prefer to place the pot in a cool place with sufficient light.
Thyme has a herbal flavor and due to its versatile nature, it is used in almost every cuisine. It has various medicinal and culinary uses. Lemon Thyme due to its citrus fragrance is very commonly used for seasoning and garnishing. Every bit of this plant is as useful as the others. The leaves, flowers, and stems are independently used for different purposes.
Plant thyme in a fast-draining pot and keep it where it can get direct sunlight for long hours. Water it when the soil appears dry but do not skip watering for so long that the leaves start wilting.
Frequently Asked Questions
1-How to grow herbs indoors?
To grow plants indoors you need a container filled with potting soil, some seeds of your favorite plant or a stem of the plant, regular watering, and the sunniest spot of your house.
2-Is it better to grow herbs inside or outside?
As long as you are providing everything a plant needs to grow, you can literally grow them anywhere. But yes, indoor plants need a little more care and accessories than the outdoor plants.
3-How long do herb pants last?
Sage, Basil, and Dill being annuals, need to be replanted every year. On the other hand rosemary, mint, oregano, and thyme are perennials which means that they are everlasting plants.
4-What herbs should not be planted together?
Anise and dill should not be planted in close proximity with tomatoes or carrots. Similarly, Rue will inhibit the growth of basil, sage, and cabbages. At the same time, rue will benefit figs, anise and dill will contribute to the growth of coriander, onions, and lettuces.
Though planting herbs indoors sounds to be difficult, it is not much different from growing plants in your garden. As long as you water your plant when needed, feed it through quality fertilizer, provide sufficient light and temperature, your indoor herbs would grow just perfect. Follow the tips above and you would no longer have to wonder how can you grow herbs indoors.