How to Grow Herbs in the Winter

Overview

Growing herbs is rewarding to both the gardener and the cook. It's uplifting to see that little row of pots on the windowsill, and even more so when you taste the food seasoned with fresh herbs even in the winter. Let's get started.

Step 1

Find a spot with plenty of sunlight before you do anything else. Most herbs need full sun, which qualifies as 6 hours of sunlight or more, so a south-facing window is ideal. If you don't have a south-facing window, then plan on using a grow-light so that the plants get a total light exposure of at least 6 hours.

Step 2

Choose an herb that grows well indoors. According to John R. Shaffer, a Master Gardener and author of "Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors," basil isn't a good choice because it needs a lot of sun and a lot of heat. Good choices include mint, parsley, rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, sage and scented geranium.

Step 3

Ensure adequate drainage by using containers that have drainage holes on the bottom and a thick layer of pebbles or gravel inside the container. Set your pots on a small tray or saucer to prevent water from staining your windowsill or table.

Step 4

Use a rich soil so the plants have adequate nutrition; if they begin to seem a little under the weather and they have adequate water and sun, supplement with a little organic fertilizer such as bone meal, blood meal or fish emulsion.

Step 5

Water regularly but not too much; herbs like a well-drained soil and some, such as bay leaf, thyme, oregano and sage, need to dry out completely before being watered, according to Shaffer. Most of the others are ready for a drink when the surface of the soil is dry.

Step 6

Harvest as you use the leaves and stems. Try not to harvest large amounts all at one time, as this can slow the plant's growth significantly. Following with a fertilizer after a significant harvest can help promote new growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Herb plants or seeds
  • Container with drainage holes
  • Potting soil
  • Pebbles or gravel
  • Small tray or saucer
  • Water
  • Fertilizer

References

  • John R. Shaffer--Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
Keywords: winter herb growing, kitchen herbs inside, growing herbs indoors

About this Author

Annie Mueller is a writer, editor, professional blogger, website designer, and tutor. She attended Missouri Baptist College and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Mississippi State University, with a Summa Cum Laude standing. She has written extensively on gardening, parenting, education, and personal growth for women.