How to Germinate Herbs From Seed


An herb garden allows you to have your favorite herbs available for kitchen use fresh and at your fingertips. Indoor herb gardens produce year around and herbs in outdoor gardens can be harvested and preserved for year round use. Starting herb plants from seed is the cheapest way to get started, as nursery plants are costly and the choice of herb varieties is limited. Starting seeds indoors is simple and only requires a bit of time and a few tools.

Step 1

Prepare pots and start seeds 4-8 weeks before the last expected spring frost in your area. Fill seed starting pots with good quality potting soil.

Step 2

Sow two to three seeds per pot. Plant to a depth that is twice as deep as the seed is wide. Plant small seeds directly on the soil surface and cover with ¼ inch of potting soil.

Step 3

Water the soil until it is evenly moist throughout. Cover in plastic cling wrap and place in a cool room---approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit--to germinate, which takes between 7 and 14 days for most herb varieties. Light is not necessary for most herbs to germinate.

Step 4

Remove the plastic wrap once seedlings emerge. Move the pots to a sunny window sill or place under grow lights that are elevated 3 inches above the top of the seedlings.

Step 5

Transplant seedlings to the garden after all danger of frost has passed and the seedlings have produced their third set of leaves. Transplant container herbs to a larger 6 to 8 inch diameter pot at this time.

Tips and Warnings

  • Dill, fennel, anise and coriander do not transplant well. Seed directly in the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Potting soil
  • Cling wrap
  • Grow lights


  • University of Missouri Extension
  • Penn State Extension
Keywords: planting herbs, starting herb seeds, indoor seed growing

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.