How to Garden Indoor Herbs


Although herbs prefer full sun and well-drained soil to thrive outdoors, several varieties of herb will grow well indoors under lower lighting conditions found there. These herbs are useful for the indoor kitchen garden because they will also tolerate being grown in smaller pots. Not all herbs will grow well indoors in container gardens, but plants with a smaller top growth and roots will adapt well to containers.

Step 1

Learn which herbs have smaller top growth. The roots system of herbs is about the same size as the herb above ground. Smaller herbs, such as mint or chives, will grow well in containers due to their smaller root size. Herbs with a large growth habit, such as rosemary or lavender, may not adapt well to containers, where their roots may be confined too much.

Step 2

Purchase a good commercial potting soil with a balanced, granulated (10-10-10) fertilizer mixed in. Potting soils of this variety will feed the herb and help it to thrive in the container. Never use garden soil in a container. Microbes present in garden soil will attack the roots of plants when confined to a container.

Step 3

Place a pottery shard over the bottom of a container and fill the container one-third of the way with soil. Place the herb's root ball into the soil. Fill in around the sides of the herb with potting soil up to the soil line of the herb.

Step 4

Set the herb containers under a fluorescent light so that the tops of the herbs are less than six inches from the light source. Raise the light as the herbs grow. Plug the light into a timer and set the timer so that the light will remain on for 16 hours daily. Plug the timer into a wall socket.

Step 5

Check the soil of herbs daily. Water herbs as the soil dries out. Herb soil should remain as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Things You'll Need

  • Herb transplants
  • Containers
  • Pottery shard
  • Potting soil
  • Fluorescent light
  • Timer
  • Watering can


  • Utah State University Extension:Herb Container Gardens
  • University of Missouri Extension: Lighting Indoor Houseplants
  • University of Missouri Extension: Herbs

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Indoor Herb Garden
Keywords: growing herbs indoors, indoor container garden, herbs in containers

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."