How to Grow Herbs Using Indoor Lighting


There is no need for an extensive garden bed to grow herbs at home. Indoor gardening is an option if you have no access to an outdoor garden. Even if you live in a north-facing apartment or other home that receives little light, you can still grow a variety of herbs with indoor lighting. Choose herbs that require minimal light, such as parsley, thyme and chives. Light requirements are listed on plant tags or on the seed envelope. Look for herbs that thrive with six hours of sunlight a day or less.

Step 1

Fill 3- to 5-inch pots with moist potting mixture. Leave a ½-inch space between the top of the potting mix and the rim of the pot so the soil does overflow over the edge when watering.

Step 2

Sow two to three seeds per pot. Plant the seeds to a depth twice their width. Most herbs are planted ¼ inch deep.

Step 3

Cover the pots with a plastic bag and place in a warm area to germinate, such as on top of the refrigerator. Remove the bags once sprouts appear, usually within 7 to 14 days of planting for most herb varieties.

Step 4

Place the herbs in an area where they receive about 10 hours of indoor lighting, preferably from a fluorescent fixture as incandescent bulbs overheat plants and do not provide the proper light spectrum. Fluorescent kitchen lighting or a purchased grow light bulb in a portable fixture is preferable.

Step 5

Water the soil as needed to keep it moist but not soggy. Let the soil surface dry slightly between waterings as overly moist soil and low light can lead to fungal problems.

Step 6

Harvest the herbs as needed. Remove the outer leaves from the plants and use immediately or freeze for later use.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plants may become leggy and weak-stemmed in low-light conditions. Cut back leggy plants to half their height and place them 2 inches beneath a fluorescent light so that they begin growing fuller.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Potting mix
  • Seeds
  • Plastic bags
  • Fluorescent lights


  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Herbs at Home
Keywords: growing herbs indoors, herb gardening, indoor garden

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.