How to Plant Herbs from Seed


Herbs come in annual, biennial and perennial varieties and can be planted indoors or in a garden bed. Indoor herb gardens provide fresh herbs even in winter. Growing herbs from seed is less expensive than buying seedlings; choose three or four herbs to start with and gradually add more as you define your needs in the kitchen. Start most herb seeds in the spring.

Step 1

Prepare planting pots six weeks before the last frost date in your area. Choose pots with drainage holes in the bottom and a drip tray to catch excess water.

Step 2

Fill pots with a potting mix. Mix 2 parts sterilized potting soil with 1 part perlite to facilitate drainage. Fill the pots to within 1 inch of the rim.

Step 3

Sow seeds in the soil following the depth and spacing requirements on the seed envelope. In general, sow seeds at a depth twice that of their circumference. Sow fine seeds directly on the soil surface and cover them with 1/4 inch of soil.

Step 4

Water the soil until it is moist, taking care not to wash out the newly planted seeds. Cover the pots with plastic wrap and place them in a warm place. Germination occurs in seven to 14 days for most herb varieties.

Step 5

Remove the plastic after the seeds germinate. Move the pots to a sunny south- or west-facing window in room kept at 65 to 75 degrees F. Keep the soil moist.

Step 6

Transplant herbs outdoors once all danger of frost has passed for your area in spring. Plant the seedlings in well-drained soil at same depth they were in the pots.

Step 7

Fertilize potted plants every three months with a 1/2-strength balanced liquid fertilizer. Outdoor plants do not require fertilization.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting herbs in the mint family in garden beds--they will take over and crowd out other plants. Plant them in a container instead. Cover outdoor perennial herbs with a layer of straw mulch to prevent frost damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Plastic wrap
  • Fertilizer


  • West Virginia University Extension
  • University of Illinois Extension
Keywords: planting herbs, seed sowing, indoor herb garden

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. 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.