How to Grow Herbs with Light


Many herbs grow well both indoors and out, allowing you to have fresh herbs even if you don't have a traditional outdoor garden bed. One of the primary concerns with an indoor herb garden is providing enough light for the plants to thrive. If you don't have a suitable window, grow lights are available. These fluorescent bulbs provide the proper light range for healthy plant growth. When paired with an adjustable grow light stand, it is no more difficult to grow herbs under lights than it is to grow them in more traditional ways.

Step 1

Fill 6- or 8-inch-diameter pots with potting mix. Moisten the mix thoroughly, and then sow one or two herb seeds to a depth twice that of their diameter.

Step 2

Place a plastic bag over each pot, and put the pots in a warm room, 70 to 75 degrees F, to germinate. Remove the plastic once sprouts appear, approximately 7 to 14 days after planting.

Step 3

Adjust the grow light so the fluorescent tube sits 6 inches above the top of the herb plants. Leave the light on for 14 to 16 hours a day. Generally herbs require twice as much fluorescent light as they do natural light.

Step 4

Water the herbs when the top of the soil begins to feel dry. Water until the excess begins dripping from the bottom drainage holes in the pot. Empty the drip tray once the water stops draining, as standing water can lead to disease or root rot.

Step 5

Adjust the light as the plants grow, maintaining the 6-inch distance between the light and the plants. If you are growing several plants and they are at different heights, set the light 6 inches above the tallest plants but ensure that it is no more than 15 inches above the shortest plants.

Step 6

Fertilize the herbs with a liquid, balanced fertilizer every two weeks. Follow fertilizer label instructions for exact application amounts and method.

Tips and Warnings

  • Leaving the lights on for too long or too short a time can kill or damage the herb plants. Plug the light into a timer if you are likely to forget about it.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Potting mix
  • Seeds
  • Plastic bags
  • Grow light and stand
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Herbs Indoors
Keywords: grow herbs indoors, using grow lights, indoor herb garden

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.