How to Plant Herbs Indoors

Overview

Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't garden. Grow herbs indoors year round to add flavor and color to your dishes. Growing herbs indoors also allows people without yard space or who cannot maintain large plots to still grow a little bit of their own food. Indoor herbs need lots of light and a precise amount of water and fertilizer, and you'll have better results if you choose herbs that are well-suited to life on a windowsill or under a grow light.

Step 1

Choose your herbs. Some herbs that grow well indoors include basil, parsley, rosemary, chives and mint.

Step 2

Sow herb seeds in potting mix according to the directions on the envelope, and try to start them in the spring or summer, when the days are long, warm and sunny. Herb transplants purchased from nurseries may be grown indoors at any time of year. If you are bringing in herbs from an outdoor garden, allow them time to adjust to being indoors by keeping the pots in a transition area, such as an open garage or an enclosed porch, for a week or two before moving them to their permanent location inside. Grow all herbs in pots with drainage holes in the bottom, and unfinished terra cotta allows the roots to breathe better than plastic or glazed ceramic.

Step 3

Set up a growing station. Herbs generally need lots of light and require a bare minimum of four hours a day of direct sunlight. Twelve or more hours of light every day is ideal. Place your herbs' pots in a south- or southwest- facing window, and supplement their light with a grow light or other bright fluorescent lamp as necessary.

Step 4

Rotate the pots every other week so that every side of the plant gets plenty of sun.

Step 5

Water the herbs only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Herbs don't like having wet feet, and slightly drought-stressed herbs often have stronger flavor.

Step 6

Fertilize herbs once a week to once a month during the growing season, and every other month or not at all when they are dormant in the winter. Use a fertilizer that is low in phosphorus, like fish emulsion or liquid seaweed.

Step 7

Harvest the herbs as needed. Cutting the plant encourages new growth, but never remove more than one-third of the plant at any one time, and be conservative with your harvests in the winter time when the plant is resting or dormant.

Things You'll Need

  • Herb seeds or transplants
  • Pots
  • Potting mix
  • Fertilizer
  • Grow light (optional)

References

  • Richters Herbs: Growing Herbs Indoors
  • Organic Gardening: 10 Best Herbs for Indoors
  • Chow: How to Grow Herbs Indoors
Keywords: grow herbs indoors, indoor garden, grow light, fish emulsion, south facing window

About this Author

Sonya Welter graduated cum laude from Northland College in 2002, and has worked in the natural foods industry for nearly seven years. As a freelance writer, she specializes in food, health, nature, gardening and green living. She has been published on Ecovian.com, LIVESTRONG.com and several local print publications in Duluth, Minn.