How to Grow Herbs Successfully

Overview

Herbs are plants that lack a woody stem and die back every winter to a perennial root system. They are used to season food and for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Growing your own herbs has a lot of advantages--they are inexpensive, you can grow them indoors in the winter to get a head start on their production and you can pick them as needed. You do not need a large plot of land to grow herbs--a small container or pot placed on your windowsill will suffice.

Step 1

Select your planting site. Herbs prefer a spot that gets full sunlight to partial shade and has well-drained soil with a pH level of 6.6 to 7.0. If planting indoors, select a sunny south or southeastern facing windowsill, or one that gets at least 7 to 8 hours of direct sunlight everyday.

Step 2

Use a 6-inch pot for individual plants, or a long, wide planter for multiple indoor herb plants. Make sure your container is 6- to 12-inches deep. Fill it with good quality, light, soil-less potting mix, tol an inch below the rim. Insert a pencil into the mix to make holes spaced 2-inches apart and insert the herb plants. Tamp down the soil around the stems with your fingers to remove air pockets.

Step 3

Plant your herb transplants or seeds in the soil outside, as soon as the danger of the last frost has passed. Dig holes the size of the root ball with a hand shovel and lower transplants into the holes. Firm the soil around the plants.

Step 4

Water the herb plants well, to ensure the soil is evenly moist. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch around the herbs to help retain moisture and discourage weeds.

Step 5

Fertilize the herb plants biweekly with half the recommended strength of fish emulsion when they are actively growing. Snip your herb plants to encourage them to grow bushy, using the cut foliage appropriately. Make sure you never trim more than one-third of the plant at a time.

Step 6

Spray the herb plants with an insecticidal soap solution if pests such as white fly, aphids or spider mites become a problem. Misting the foliage prevents pests as well. Make sure you cover the entire surface of the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots or containers
  • Potting mix
  • Pencil
  • Herb transplants
  • Hand shovel
  • Watering can
  • Mulch
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Spray bottle

References

  • West Virginia University Extension Service: Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
  • Savvy Gardener: Growing Herbs at Home
  • Richters Herbs Magazine Rack: Growing Herbs Indoors
Keywords: growing herbs, grow herbs, grow herbs successfully

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.