How to Start Herb Seeds

Overview

Whether you are planning on growing herbs indoors or outside in a garden bed, starting the seeds successfully is the first step. Most herb seeds do best when started indoors. This allows you to protect them from pests and diseases while they are small and then later choose the healthiest plants for outdoor planting. Starting herb seeds inside does not require special equipment. Start most seeds four weeks before the last expected frost date in your area, though always check the seed packet for precise instructions for each plant type.

Step 1

Fill individual seed-starting pots with a loose well-draining potting mix. Water the mix until it is moist but not soggy.

Step 2

Sow two seeds per pot. Plant large seeds to a depth twice their width. Plant small, fine seeds directly on the soil surface; then gently press on them with a fingertip so they make full contact with the soil.

Step 3

Place the pots in plastic bags, which helps retain soil moisture during germination. Set the pots in a warm room until they sprout, usually within seven days of planting though the time differs depending on herb varieties.

Step 4

Remove the plastic from the pots once seedlings appear. Move the pots to a warm, sunny window sill where the herbs receive at least six hours of sunlight daily.

Step 5

Thin the seedlings down to one per pot once they produce their second set of leaves. Pluck out the weakest seedling from each pot, leaving the stronger one in place.

Step 6

Keep the soil moist at all times, watering as needed. Begin using a half-strength liquid fertilizer weekly when the plants are two weeks old.

Tips and Warnings

  • Grow herbs in the mint family in containers; otherwise they quickly overtake a garden bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Potting mix
  • Plastic bags
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
Keywords: starting herb seeds, growing herbs, seed starting

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.