How to Start Herbs From Seed


Herbs make a great addition to any garden. Fresh herbs can add fragrance to your yard as well as flavor dishes you make in the kitchen. When dried, your herbs can be used for months in meals, teas and sachets in drawers and closets. Whether you plan to grow annual or perennial herbs, start them from seed in your home six to eight months before the last spring frost for your area, and have them ready for transplanting outdoors when warm weather arrives.

Step 1

Place the base of your seed tray in a sunny window where it can rest flat without being disturbed for a few months. A south-facing window is best, but if that isn't available you may want to set up a grow light just above your seed tray for best results.

Step 2

Place the seedling pots into the base of the tray and be sure they are resting flatly on the bottom. Add enough soil to each pot to fill it up to the top edge of the rim.

Step 3

Check on the seed packets to see how deep your seeds need to be planted, which can vary depending on the type of herb you're growing. Set a few of the same type of seeds into the center of each pot according to the depth on the packet.

Step 4

Write the name of the herb you are planting on a plant marker as you plant the seeds. Stick the labeled plant marker down into the soil of your pot to clearly tell you what each pot should have in it.

Step 5

Add an inch of water to the seed tray and wait while the soil in the pots draws the water up. If all of the water is absorbed and the top layer of soil in the pots doesn't look moist, add more water in 1-inch increments until all the pots appear wet and the water is all gone.

Step 6

Close the seed tray by setting the clear plastic lid over the tray. Leave the tray alone, adding water only when needed, until the seedlings have reached the lid. Once the seedlings have reached the lid, remove it and set it aside.

Step 7

Keep adding water when needed to the seed tray to maintain a moist soil in all of the pots. Once the threat of frost has passed you should be able to plant your herbs outdoors or transfer them to a more permanent container.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you are using Popsicle sticks for your plant markers, use a pencil or dark crayon to write the name of the herb. Doing so can ensure your lettering doesn't smear or run when the wood of the stick becomes wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed tray with lid
  • Grow light, if necessary
  • Small pots
  • Potting soil or a seed starter mix
  • Herb seeds in packets
  • Plant marker or Popsicle stick
  • Pen or pencil
  • Water
  • Spray bottle, optional


  • "Success with Seeds"; Chris Wheeler and Valerie Wheeler; 2004
  • "Seed Sowing and Saving"; Carole B. Turner; 1998
Keywords: how to start herbs from seed, starting herbs from seed, how to plant herbs from seed

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.