How to Plant Herb Seeds Indoors


Although herbs prefer full sunlight to thrive, many varieties of herbs such as mint or parsley grow well in lower lighting conditions found indoors. Herbs are a plant that you can keep in containers on a kitchen windowsill for quick and easy harvesting when making soups, salads or roasted meats. You can also start herbs from seed indoors before the last yearly frost date for your area in order to get the jump on your growing season.

Step 1

Select herb seed from reliable sources. You can purchase herb seeds from most hardware or building supply stores, garden centers and even some chain grocery stores. Name-brand seeds are fresher and have more detailed instructions regarding planting times, seed spacing and planting depths.

Step 2

Plant herb seeds from 6 to 13 weeks before the last average frost date if you plan to move them outdoors. Exact planting times should be listed on the back of your seed packets. You can also find this information in a farmer's almanac or from your county extension agent.

Step 3

Fill a seedling tray with peat moss and water until the peat moss is as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 4

Hollow out a planting pocket in the center of each individual cell in the planting tray. Find planting depths listed on the back of each seed packet. As a general rule, plant each seed between 2 and 4 times as deep as the seed at its widest diameter and cover it with soil. Fine seeds such as stevia or chamomile should be gently pressed directly into the surface of the soil and left uncovered.

Step 5

Cover the seedling tray with a layer of plastic wrap. This helps to hold in moisture until the seedlings germinate. Place the seedling tray 6 inches beneath a grow light or fluorescent light. Put the light on a timer so that the herbs receive 16 hours of light daily.

Step 6

Remove the plastic cover when the herbs sprout. Continue to check the herbs daily and mist them from the top with a water bottle to water them.

Step 7

Transplant the herbs into 4-inch peat pots filled with peat moss when the plants develop two true leaves or the roots begin to crowd out the individual compartments in the seedling tray. To do this, fill each peat pot one-third full of peat moss. Place the herb's root ball into the peat pot. Fill in around the sides of the root ball with peat moss.

Step 8

Water the herbs with a watering can and place them back under grow lights. Raise the grow lights as the herbs grow so that they always stay 6 inches above the tops of the herbs. When herbs fill peat pots completely, you can decide whether to grow them indoors by transplanting them into containers or move them outdoors to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Herb seeds
  • Seedling tray
  • Peat moss
  • Plastic wrap
  • Grow lights
  • Light timer
  • Misting bottle
  • 4 inch peat pots
  • Watering can


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Starting Seeds Indoors
  • MU Extension: Growing Herbs at Home
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Growing Herbs

Who Can Help

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Herbs
Keywords: planting herb seeds, growing herbs, starting herbs indoors

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."