How Can I Grow Herbs in My Home?


Nothing's better than the sight and smell of a pot of basil growing on a warm, summer day. Mixed with salads or simmered in aromatic stews, fresh herbs spice up the blandest of meals. Unfortunately, fall signals the end of the growing season for herbs. But don't despair. Many gardeners make a moveable feast of herbs by bringing them indoors. Herbs need between four to six hours of direct sunlight a day, but if you have a sunny windowsill, you can grow herbs indoors.

Step 1

Acclimatize your herbs to reduced light. Three weeks before you plan to bring your pots indoors, move them to a partially shaded area. One week before bringing herbs indoors, move them to a fully shaded area. This process helps them adjust slowly to the lesser light they'll receive indoors and reduces leaf drop and plant shock.

Step 2

Plant seeds or pot herb plants. Mix 1/2 quart of perlite with 3 quarts of potting mix. Fill the pots to 1 inch below the brim and plant seeds according to package directions. Or transplant herbs from the garden by digging a hole in the soil large enough for their root system. Place the plant in the pot. Backfill the pot with soil, pressing down gently to remove any air pockets. Water until water comes out of the bottom of the pot.

Step 3

Place the herbs in a sunny window. Most herbs are native to the Mediterranean region and thrive in full sun. Mint, parsley and rosemary survive on less sun. Even on a window sill, herbs don't receive as much sun as they did in the garden. Place them under a grow light for healthier, fuller plants. Make sure the tops of the plants are 6 to 9 inches below the grow light.

Step 4

Water your herbs only when the soil feels dry to the touch, and then water them thoroughly until water runs out the bottom of the pot. Herb's growth slows down in the winter, so they need less water. If your herbs seem spindly, they may need a dormant period to revive them. Store the herbs in an unheated shed or garage for four to five weeks and give them no water. Place them back in the windowsill and you'll see renewed growth.

Step 5

Feed your herbs biweekly with a liquid fertilizer or diluted fish emulsion, according to package directions. Manage pests by spraying the leaves with an insecticidal soap.

Things You'll Need

  • Perlite (found at garden stores)
  • Compost-based potting soil
  • Ceramic, clay or plastic pots at least 6 to 8 inches tall
  • Herb seeds and plants
  • Grow light
  • Liquid fertilizer or fish emulsion
  • Insecticidal soap


  • National Gardening Association: Growing Herbs Indoors
  • Emmitsburg: Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors

Who Can Help

  • University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Office: Healthy Cooking With Fresh Herbs
Keywords: growing herbs indoors, growing herbs, planting herbs

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a full-time freelance writer and former teacher with writing credits from several regional and national publications, such as Colorado Parent and LDS Living. She specializes in parenting, education and gardening topics. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College, and spent 20 years as a teacher and director in university and public school settings.