Growing herbs indoors
Fresh herbs can turn a meal that’s just okay into something bursting with flavor. When you grow your own herbs, they’re always on hand to transform a dish — whether you’re scattering fresh cilantro on tacos, shredding basil into a pasta dish or adding parsley into a Cajun recipe.
If you don’t have much experience growing plants or keeping them alive, you’re probably wondering how to grow an indoor herb garden. We have all the information you need below to help you set up your herb garden and keep it thriving.
Why grow herbs indoors?
First off, you might not have any outdoor space to grow herbs. Even if you can grow herbs outdoors, it’s nice to have them growing in or near the kitchen, where it’s convenient to pick them when it’s time to cook.
Herbs grown indoors also tend to have fewer pests problems. There’s also the fact that many herbs won’t survive the winter outdoors unless you live in a climate where it’s warm year-round, while you generally keep even tropical herbs alive through the winter in a heated house.
Pick your plants
Now it’s time to decide which herbs you want to grow. All herbs are reasonably easy to take care of, so we’d recommend growing whichever herbs you’re most likely to use. You can choose to grow your plants from seeds, which can be a cost-effective way of growing many herbs, but we’d recommend buying herb seedlings or small herb plants from a garden center or online retailer.
Choose a container
Choose the correct containers in which to grow your herbs. It’s worth considering the individual needs of the herbs you wish to grow. Basil, for example, has deep roots and prefers tall containers to shallow ones. Most people prefer small plant pots for growing herbs indoors, though if you want your herb plants to grow large, choose a bigger container.
Use separate containers for each herb
You’ll often see long trough-like herb planters designed to plant several varieties of herbs side-by-side in the same pot. These might look nice, but it’s much more practical to use an individual container for each herb. All herbs have their own watering and lighting requirements, so it’s hard to meet different plants’ needs in the same pot.
Get your growing medium
Once you have your containers, you’ll need to fill them with a suitable growing medium before planting your seeds or seedlings. We’d recommend a standard indoor plant potting mix, though it’s best to avoid those containing peat because the harvesting of peat from peat bogs is destroying them at an alarming rate.
Grow your herbs in the sunniest spot
Herbs thrive on plenty of sunlight, and it’s best to position them on a windowsill that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. Of course, you might not get that total amount of sunlight in the winter months and on cloudy days. South-facing windows are ideal, but as long as you don’t set them in a north-facing window or the middle of a room, your herbs will get enough light to grow.
Consider using an LED herb garden
If you don’t have a sunny windowsill where you can grow herbs, or the whole process just seems like too much hassle, consider using an LED herb garden. These are essentially self-contained herb planters with built-in LED lights and which usually run using a hydroponic system. They come with pods containing herb seeds that you set in the planter and leave to grow. Other than occasionally adding more water, there’s minimal effort involved in growing herbs this way.
Water your herbs, but don’t overwater
You must remember to water your herbs, but often when people can’t seem to keep plants alive, it’s because they overwater their plants. Wait for the top inch or two of soil to dry out before you water your herbs. Different herbs have different water requirements, so look it up if you’re unsure how often to water.
Allow air flow between plants
Allowing air to circulate between plants helps to prevent disease. Therefore, you shouldn’t cram your plant pots too close together. Space them out to allow proper airflow between them, and you’ll be rewarded with healthier herbs.
What you need to buy for an indoor herb garden
If you want to start your herbs from seed, this kit provides everything you’ll need. It includes basil, cilantro, parsley, sage and thyme seeds.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
This set of three plant pots is ideal for growing herbs. The pots sit on a tray large enough to space the pots out for airflow.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
A great alternative to peat potting mixes, which have environmental implications, this coconut-based option allows plenty of airflow for solid roots.
Those who’d prefer to grow herbs the easy way or don’t have a sunny spot for their plants to thrive will love the AeroGarden Bounty. It comes with salad pods, but you can buy herb pods separately.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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