Growing herbs indoors is a great way for you to have fresh herbs at home within easy reach.
You’ll be pleased to know that most of the herbs that are commonly used in cooking, can be grown indoors on your window sill or kitchen counters.
In fact, some of the best herbs to grow indoors are the herbs most commonly used in the kitchen.
And there is simply nothing better than grabbing a handful of herbs when you need them and smelling their freshness as you chop them up to throw into your dish.
Although it’s nice to have a lovely outdoor herb garden, it’s much easier to just reach over to the window sill to grab some herbs while you are cooking.You also avoid having to go outside into the cold, wind, rain and perhaps darkness of an external herb garden.
Many people grow herbs outdoors and then bring the potted herbs indoors as required, having a multiple supply of the same herbs to avoid ever running out.
If you are growing your herbs from seed, then it’s a good idea to try planting a fresh pot of herbs every two or three weeks throughout the growing season.
This is another way of ensuring a constant supply of herbs throughout the year.
If the herb is an annual, then you can harvest the plant before winter to dry and store.
You can also extend the growth of your indoor herb garden with the use of LED grow lights.
The use of hydroponics is favored by many an indoor herb grower, especially those living in climates where winters can be severe on indoor plants.
Here are some more tips on growing indoor herbs;
How To Grow Herbs Indoors
Mediterranean herbs such as basil love lots of bright sunshine and struggle to grow in shady conditions. Try to give these types of herbs at least 6-8 hours of sunlight each day.
When this is not possible, the use of LED grow lights and even fluorescent lights can encourage or extend plant growth.
Store bought plants will often tolerate lower levels of light when you bring them home, as they are used to it.
When growing from seed, you’ll need to stick to the plant specific light instructions you’ll find in the relevant Indoor Plant Center article.
Generally speaking, herbs will grow better in warmer temperatures and go into hibernation during winter.
If you leave your potted herbs by the window sill during winter, make sure their leaves are not touching the window glass, as the cold may damage their leaves.
Also watch out for cold winter draughts, another pet hate for most indoor plants, including herbs.
Watering Indoor Herbs
Like most indoor plants, over watering is the biggest killer.
Too much water is usually worse than not enough moisture, so be careful not to over water your herbs.
Try to keep the soil moist, but not wet. In summer, give your plants a good drink when the top of the soil dries out. In winter, your herbs will need less watering whilst they are dormant.
In all cases, make sure that your pots have drainage holes in their base and stand them on sauces or the like, to avoid making a mess when watering.
When water has ceased to drain into the saucer, empty it to avoid over wetting the roots, something most indoor plants won’t tolerate.
As a general rule, herbs like a well-draining soil mix to avoid over soaking the roots. Regular potting mixes are usually fine, perhaps with some added perlite to assist with moisture.
The best advice is to stick to the instructions provided for each specific type of herb in the relevant Indoor Plant Center articles below.
Being indoors, your plants are entirely dependent on you for watering and feeding.
During the warmer growing season, feed your herbs weekly as you water them using a liquid fertilizer for tomatoes or another fertilizer high in nitrogen.
Nitrogen encourages leaf growth, which is what you are after with garden herbs.
There is no need for pellets or slow release fertilizers as liquid fertilizer, applied as per instructions on the labelling, will be fine.
You can cut back your feeding during winter as most herbs will require little nutrition when dormant.
Pests & Diseases
Indoor plants are usually less prone to pests and disease when compared with their outdoor counterparts.
Pests such as aphids and whiteflies may enter via open doors and windows, and if discovered, should be picked off or sprayed with water.
Where the attack is serious, take the plant outside and spray with an organic pesticide. Make sure when using store bought sprays, that they are suitable for edible plants.
Chemical spray residue can remain for quite some time, so wait for a few days before using in cooking.
The two most common ways of storing garden herbs are drying and freezing.
Freezing the stems of your herbs in an airtight storage bag is generally the preferred method of keeping herbs.
This is because freezing tends to better preserve the flavour and freshness of herbs, the very qualities that inspired you to create your indoor herb garden in the first place.
Generally speaking, the more you harvest your indoor herb plants in summer, the more they will grow.
Be patient though, as regrowth is not instant.
If you see flowers appearing during the growth season, squeeze them off with your fingers.
This will allow the plant to focus its energy on producing leaves, a practice you’ll obviously want to encourage.
Specific Indoor Herbs
How to grow herbs indoors is going to feature, over time, the ten best herbs to grow indoors.
So not only will you know which herbs you can grow indoors, but you’ll also get all the tips you’ll need, to successfully grow and maintain your own indoor herb garden, plant by plant.
Our series begins with “How to Grow Basil Indoors- A Beginner’s Guide”. Enjoy!
How to Grow Herbs Indoors – The Series
Mint: how-to grow-mint-indoors
Rosemary: how-to grow-rosemary-indoors