Do you always find yourself wishing you had fresh herbs on hand for cooking and making beverages?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just walk across your kitchen and reach a supply of fresh-grown herbs any time you need them?
Did you know that it’s not as difficult as you might think to successfully grow herbs indoors?
In this article, we’re here to tell you how!
Growing herbs indoor may seem like a bit of a challenge, but with the right information to help you get started, it doesn’t have to be hard. Below, we’ll give you plenty of tips to help you better understand the right lighting, water and humidity, temperature and more that your herbs need to grow healthy and strong all year long.
Just in case you’re not sold on the idea, we’ve also got a quick list of five benefits you can enjoy from growing your own herbs indoors. Check out that list, too, and you’re sure to find at least one compelling reason for you to give this a try right away!
No matter what leads you to learn more about indoor herb garden growing and maintenance, we hope the information below can help you improve your current garden or start a brand-new one. Now, let’s get started learning more!
5 Benefits of Indoor Herb Gardening
You may have a basic idea of what makes indoor herb gardening such a great option for you, but there are plenty of benefits you might not have thought about yet. In this section, we’ll tell you about five of the best benefits you can experience and enjoy from growing your own herbs at home. No matter what you’re looking to accomplish by participating in this fun and relatively simple home DIY project, you’ll be able to make it happen and so much more.
1. It’s easy to get started.
While getting set up with an outdoor garden can take a long time and may be a very costly and long-term endeavor, you can usually set up an indoor herb garden over the course of just one or two days. These gardens take almost no time to put together, and as long as you have a good place for them set aside in your kitchen or in another room of your home, there’s really not a lot more you have to worry about other than planting your seeds or cuttings.
2. It’s easy to maintain.
After your herb garden is set up, it’s pretty easy to keep it going strong, too. In the section below, we’ll discuss a lot more tips for healthy and thriving growth of your herb garden, but for now, just know that it’s generally much easier to keep herbs alive than it is to worry about an outdoor garden. Even plants that are grown in flower pots outdoors are susceptible to a lot more potential problems than those grown inside your home, so your herb garden is sure to enjoy a long and healthy life with minimal effort from you.
3. It smells and looks nice.
Keeping herbs in your kitchen or in another part of your home can really help liven up the space! These plants are nice to look at and can help make any room feel more comfortable and inviting. They also smell very fragrant and aromatic, which can be even more inviting when you walk into the room where they’re located. Depending on which herbs you choose to grow, you might find yourself surrounded by pleasant smells like rosemary or basil on a daily basis. You can’t beat natural aromatherapy like that!
4. It’s easy to harvest your herbs.
Think about how difficult it is to go out into a garden, even if it’s just in your backyard, and pick vegetables or flowers when they’re ready to be harvested. At the very least, even with the most perfectly cared for garden, it’s challenging and takes some effort to perform this regular task. However, when you have an indoor herb garden, all you have to do is walk across the room and pluck the leaves from the plants before you can use them in your cooking. It’s easier than any other type of gardening, and its rewards are quick and simple, too!
5. Your outdoor plants will thrive, too.
If you’re the kind of person who loves to grow things both indoors and outdoors, you might have tried growing herbs outside before. And if you have, you may have noticed that they tend to become invasive pretty quickly in just about any gardening situation. Herbs are usually hardier than vegetables and flowers, so they take over, and they can choke out your other plants quickly if you aren’t careful. By keeping your herbs indoors, you can have the best of both worlds with no potential issues!
6. Bonus: it’s affordable!
If you’re still not sold on the idea of growing your own herb garden, consider this. It’s very affordable to keep herbs on hand at all times! If you do a lot of cooking at home, chances are good you have to purchase fresh or dried spices more often than you might want to. These can get expensive fast, but if you have herbs on hand right across the room, you can cut back on the cost of these seasonings significantly. You’ll be able to spice up your food without going over your shopping budget to do it, and isn’t that a benefit for all of us?
So, do you feel a little better about growing herbs indoors now? As you can see, there are a lot of great reasons to do so. You might even come up with more compelling reasons to give this project a try, too—for example, if you have little ones at home, this can be a fun way to get them involved in gardening and teach them how to grow and care for plants without having to get dirty or risk growing something that isn’t very hardy. Whatever reason gets you started, in the next section, you’ll find plenty of tips to keep you going strong.
Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
Are you ready to learn more about growing and indoor herb garden? We’ve got a lot of great tips ready for you, so be sure to take your time and explore this section a bit before you run out and purchase your necessities. You’re sure to find everything you need to know to get started, plus maybe a little more than you haven’t thought about yet, too!
1. Give your herbs enough natural light.
Many indoor herb growers tend to argue a little bit about what constitutes the best lighting situation for their gardens. If you’re looking for a solid number of hours per day, it’s best to aim for around six, but this can vary depending on the type of lighting your herb garden gets.
- Be sure it’s not sitting in direct, beating sunlight for too long or the leaves will dry out quickly.
- On the other hand, make sure the natural light is as direct as possible without filtering through too many curtains, blinds, or other blocks.
2. Consider using growing lamps if your home doesn’t provide adequate lighting.
This may seem like too much of an expense for some indoor herb gardeners, and if you aren’t interested in spending the money on a growing lamp or two, that’s okay—you don’t have to. It’s all about what your budget looks like and how much you want to put into your herb garden.
- If you do use a growing lamp, try to choose one that has a timer so your plants will get the perfect amount of light every day. You can even set up the timer to come on while you’re at work or at other times when it won’t be in the way of your normal daily routine.
3. Water well, but drain enough.
Herbs need water just like any other type of plant, and if you hear someone telling you that you don’t have to think about watering your indoor herb garden often, don’t listen to them! This is a myth. However, it’s still very easy to keep up with watering your garden, and it won’t need any kind of special treatment like purified or distilled water. Plain old tap water is fine for just about any herb.
- Be sure you sit your herbs on top of a plate or drain pan no matter what kind of container they’re in. This will catch the drainage from regular watering and make it much easier to keep the area clean and free from leaks.
4. There’s no need to worry about temperatures—unless they’re extreme.
One of the reasons why herbs are so often chosen for indoor gardening is because they tend to thrive in the same temperatures that keep humans comfortable. They can also handle slight swings in temperature one way or the other, so you don’t have to worry too much about little changes as the seasons change as long as you keep your herbs indoors.
- However, herbs still don’t tolerate very extreme temperatures very well. If your home stays over 80 degrees most of the time or drops well below 50 for many nights in a row, you may need to make some adjustments to improve the quality of your herbs.
5. Consider the drier air in your home during winter.
When you’re running a furnace or other source of indoor heating for more than a couple of days in a row, it will dry out the air in your home significantly. This can take a toll on your plants, which may start to shrivel up without enough humidity.
- If you keep your herbs in clay pots during the winter, you may need to water them every day to keep their water levels up enough for this dry time of the year.
- If your herbs are in other types of containers, check them every couple of days and be sure to adjust your watering accordingly.
6. Remember the warmer air coming in from your window during summer.
Many home gardeners grow their herbs on a windowsill or otherwise right next to a window. This is great for lighting, but it can be bad for temperature control, depending on where you live and where your plants are located.
- In the summer months, hot air can blow in around your window and raise the temperature around your plants much higher than the temperature in the rest of the room. Once again, you may need to adjust watering to keep up with this.
- If it’s very hot outdoors, you may need to move your plants slightly away from the window for a few months.
7. Use the tried-and-true finger test for watering.
Home gardeners have been using this method for years to tell whether or not plants are getting enough water, and it’s still a great way to determine the moisture in your herbs.
- Stick your finger slightly into the dirt surrounding your plant. Press it down about an inch or so into the soil, then take it out again. If your finger is dry then your plant needs water, but if not, then there’s still enough moisture in your soil for the time being.
- This isn’t 100% accurate, so be sure you’re checking on your plants visually for signs of overheating and drying out, too.
8. You don’t have to fertilize constantly.
Herbs grow well without much fertilizer at all, but they can still benefit from a little bit of extra nutrition—just like anything else! If you find that your herbs are looking a little spindly or stretched out, you may need to increase the amount of fertilizer you’re giving them regularly.
- If you move your herbs indoors during the winter and outdoors during the summer, cut back on the fertilizer you use for them when they’re inside. This can help extend their lives.
9. Use a good quality potting soil for indoor herb gardening.
Potting soil is even more important for herbs than fertilizer is. Choosing one that’s very good quality and designed for use with herbs is a great way to give your plants a jump start and help them grow big and strong.
- The potting soil you buy may be the most expensive part of your setup. However, you can usually buy it in bulk enough to keep you well supplied for a long time to come with your indoor herb garden.
10. Keep the humidity levels decent around your herbs.
Herbs are not naturally very humid plants, but they still need a little bit of humidity to keep them growing strong and thriving in any climate. Depending on where you live, you might find that you don’t have to do anything for the humidity in your home. For example, home gardeners in Florida often have plenty of humidity without any extra effort!
- If you do need to increase humidity a bit, set your herbs in their planters on top of dishes filled with marbles and a little water (but do not set them down into the water). As the water evaporates, it will create plenty of humidity to keep your plants healthy and happy without investing in an expensive humidifier.
11. If you’re moving plants from outside to inside during winter, always check for pests.
Unfortunately, if you aren’t very careful, this can be the downfall of your indoor herb garden. Introducing pests to your home during the winter months can encourage these insects to set up shop and stay there all season long, destroying your plants in the process.
- It’s always a good idea to give your plants a quick “quarantine” if possible. Set them in an enclosed patio before bringing them all the way indoors if you have the option to do so. If not, make sure you check them every day for the first week they’re inside to catch any signs of passenger pests.
12. Even though your herbs are indoors, you will still have to think about pest control at some point.
- Fungus gnats can be one of the biggest problems for indoor plant gardening, both herbs and otherwise.
- You may also develop an ant problem, especially if you’re keeping your plants inside during the hotter parts of the year.
- Even if your herbs never go outside, they may attract aphids, which like to munch on their leaves.
- No matter what type of pest problem you may be facing, there are indoor-safe sprays and pesticides you can use to combat this problem. You may also need to use fly traps to battle certain types of pests.
13. When harvesting your herbs, don’t cut too much at once.
It may be tempting to grab a big bunch of rosemary off of your plants for cooking purposes, but most of the time, a little goes a long way in terms of fresh herbal ingredients, and you simply don’t have to use this much of your plants at a time.
- It’s very bad for your plants to cut off too much at once. They may never fully recover and may have trouble growing in the future if you shock them too much in this way. It’s always best to just take a little at a time and give your herbs a couple of days to get back to normal in between harvests.
14. Choose the right container.
There are plenty of options in terms of containers, and the right one for you may differ depending on the garden’s location in your home and the climate in which you live. Here are some of the most popular choices.
- Clay pots – This can be a great solution in the summer months when humidity is higher, but the clay may dry out your plants in the winter if you aren’t careful.
- Ceramic planters – This is usually the most traditional option for most indoor herb gardeners. Ceramic may be a great way to drain your plants and keep your humidity stable, but it can be harder to find space for larger ceramic containers.
- Mason jars – Growing herbs in mason jars is becoming more and more popular. You will need to drill holes for drainage in the bottom of your mason jars, however, so you’ll need access to safety wear and power tools if you go this route. Pebbles or marbles in the bottom of the jar can then be topped with potting soil to make a cute planter. Always use cuttings instead of seeds if you grow your herbs in a mason jar.
15. Choose the right herbs.
While any type of herb can be successfully grown indoors, there are some that work better in certain locations and climates than others. Some are also hardier than others, so the herbs you select may differ slightly depending on your personal needs and preferences. Of course, don’t grow anything you don’t like the taste or smell of!
- Basil – Basil enjoys being grown in a lot of direct warm sunlight. If you live in a hot climate, this can be a great option for your indoor garden.
- Cilantro – It’s very easy to convince cilantro to thrive in almost any situation. This hardy little plant tastes great and grows nicely under most circumstances as long as you keep it well watered.
- Rosemary – Many indoor herb gardeners love growing rosemary because of its smell and pretty appearance. It can be grown in almost any climate and is a very forgiving herb.
- Thyme – Plant your thyme in full sunlight, but don’t worry as much about warmer temperatures for this herb. It grows better if you start with a cutting, but you can also grow it from a seed if you’re patient.
- Chives – Chives can be a little more complicated to grow than other types of herbs, but if you have a slightly cooler climate, they can be a delicious and aromatic addition to your garden.
16. Practice safe herb growing around pets.
Like most houseplants, many herbs are not safe for dogs or cats to eat. Place your plants in an area where your pets can’t reach them and remember that dogs and cats both may be more capable of getting to places than you realize. If all else fails, close your pets out of the room where your plants are located when you aren’t home to keep an eye on things.
17. Be ready to re-pot your plants if necessary.
Last but not least, remember that your herbs may eventually outgrow their pots. If you’re regularly harvesting them, this might not be an issue, but be prepared to move them into larger containers or even outdoors if they get a little too unwieldy for indoor gardening.
Now that you’ve made your way through our list of tips, we hope you feel a little more inclined to give indoor herb gardening a try. Although it might seem daunting, there’s nothing too complicated about growing herbs inside, and you might discover a brand-new hobby that you’re sure to love for many years to come, too. There are plenty of reasons to get you started growing your herb garden, and with all this information to help you, all that’s left for you to do is pick up the containers of your choice, grab some seeds or cuttings, and get started growing your plants right away.
Hopefully, the tips listed above have given you plenty of information to get started growing herbs indoors in winter, summer, and anytime in between! There’s a lot more to learn about this fun and useful home project, however, so don’t hesitate to research a little further and find out more about the types of plants you’re interested in, the specifics of growing herbs in your own climate, and much more.
And just in case you’re wondering whether it’s better to start with seeds or with cuttings, keep this in mind: the choice is entirely up to you and what you hope to accomplish with your plants. Are you looking for quick results and plants that will be able to supply you with fresh herbs almost right away? If so, cuttings might be right for you. But if you’re more concerned with improving the quality and taste of your herbs and you aren’t as worried about seeing instant results, then growing your herbs from seeds may be the best route for you.
There are pros and cons to both choices, and in the end, it all depends on your own preferences. A fresh herb tastes great whether you’ve grown it completely yourself from a seed or you’ve started it from a cutting, and both of these options have their place in the indoor herb garden.
Whichever way you choose to start your plants, remember to have fun and keep our growing tips in mind. You’ll be able to start up your herb garden and enjoy it in no time by remembering the information listed here!