How to Grow Herbs in the House


Most plants that require full sun do not adapt well to indoor container culture. But herbs are an exception. A collection of potted herbs will thrive throughout the winter months on a sunny windowsill or beneath a grow light. Herbs tolerate being pruned, and can be regularly harvested for use in the kitchen. The key is to select perennial herbs that do not shed their leaves.

Step 1

Select herb seeds for varieties that grow well indoors. Herbs such as oregano, thyme, parsley and sage all grow well indoors in a sunny, south-facing windowsill or when placed 12 inches away from a fluorescent bulb. Spearmint and peppermint grow well in a west-facing windowsill.

Step 2

Fill an egg carton with peat moss and make planting holes for herb seeds with a pencil point at a depth that is 2 times the width of the seed at its widest point.

Step 3

Place the seeds into the holes and cover with peat moss. Mist the soil until it is as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Cover with plastic to help hold the moisture in.

Step 4

Place the carton under a fluorescent light to help the plants germinate. Remove the plastic once the seedlings brush against it. Continue to mist to keep the plants moist.

Step 5

Fill 4-inch containers with peat moss. Place the seedlings in the containers once their roots fill the egg carton cups.

Step 6

Place the pots in a sunny windowsill or beneath a fluorescent bulb. Check the plants daily and water them as needed to keep the soil as damp as a wrung out sponge.

Step 7

Harvest your herbs regularly for kitchen use. This will keep them trimmed back and prevent flowering. Preventing flowering will increase an herb's longevity.

Things You'll Need

  • Herb seeds
  • Peat moss
  • Egg carton
  • Saran wrap
  • Misting bottle
  • Fluorescent light
  • 4-in. container


  • Extension: I would like to grow herbs indoors during the winter months.
  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing herbs indoors
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Herbs

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri Extension: Lighting Indoor Houseplants
Keywords: growing herbs, container garden, kitchen garden

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."