Here's everything you need to know about successfully growing herbs inside and outside too. Get lot of tips and ideas for planting, caring for and keeping herbs healthy. And see which herbs will work best.
If you want to know how to grow herbs indoors you have come to the right place. Winter into spring is the perfect time to add a bit of life to your kitchen by potting and enjoying delicious herbs! Not only are they pretty they amp up what you are cooking too! Let’s grow herbs indoors!
I love that I can snip off the herbs that are on my kitchen island and put them right into my cooking or top off a dish with their fresh taste!
Here are some things that will help you grow herbs successfully indoors! And then when you are ready you can plant them outside!
THERE ARE ANNUAL AND PERENNIAL HERBS
Did you know there are annual and perennial herbs.
Many of each kind can grow successfully indoors but know that the annual (or biannual) herbs will last a season and the perennial herbs can grow for years!
Here are a few common herb garden perennials that will work indoors…
- creeping thyme
- lemon verbena
This is a short list, but these are the ones I like to plant.
I keep to the perennial list for planting and growing herbs indoors. They tend to be hardier and a little clipping of them goes a long culinary way!
I also love…
I’d have to plant a barrel of basil and parsley to match my cooking love and use of basil and parsley!
HERBS CAN SUCCESSFULLY GROW INDOORS
So, how do you grow herbs indoors?
Here’s the truth…
They can be finicky! They need the right conditions to grow but if you can find that sweet spot they will bring life and beauty to your home and your cooking will never taste so good!
I choose herbs that are know for indoor success.
Right now I have variegated oregano, two types of thyme, curly mint and rosemary (not shown) growing indoors.
I’ve been looking for chives but have not found any in our local greenhouse. I’m off to an Amish greenhouse later this week to add more mint and chives to our kitchen island.
I’ve had great luck growing these perennial herbs before.
THE RIGHT LIGHT
Indoor herbs need bright indirect sunlight. To be honest, if you have one little window they probably won’t be terribly long-lived. Think of them as long-lasting cut flowers. When they start to get leggy you can always dry them, freeze them or use them right away.
But you can grow indoor herbs very successfully if you have a bright room (who says it has to be a kitchen).
Our kitchen is such a sun-filled bright room so my herbs will love the island/bar!
It’s also a good thing to give perennial herbs a bit of direct winter sunlight every once in a while. We have a banquette across from the island that gets lots of direct sunshine so the herbs will hang out there once a week on a sunny day.
It sounds like it might make sense to put sun-loving herbs on a windowsill but that is not a friendly place for them.
Drafts and too much direct sun will kill them!
So be kind and keep them near, but not on, a south or east facing window.
They may love sun when planted outdoors but indoors they have special needs.
Turn plants a little bit each day so they don’t “reach” for the sunshine.
If you want to grow herbs in your kitchen but don’t have lots of light think about getting a grow light.
They are compact and inexpensive and work GREAT! I just ordered THIS ONE to use on our rosemary herb plant tucked away on a side counter.
UPDATE: I’ve been using my grow light all night for my herbs for about a month and I can really see a profound difference in the health of my herbs.
How do I grow indoor herbs?
Well, if you want them to thrive keep them on the dry side.
One of the best ways to know if your indoor herbs need watering is by looking and feeling.
Look at the plant. Is it droopy or do the leaves look shriveled?
And put your index finger a good 2 inches into the soil. If it is damp don’t water but if it is dry then water the plant.
Most plants don’t like “wet feet”! If their roots are in standing water or are waterlogged it won’t take long for them to languish. Yellow-ish leaves or dropping leaves may be a sign of root rot from leaving the plant in standing water.
I have a little moisture reader that is so handy and easy to use. I just stick it into the soil and when it reads dry I water my herbs. You can see it HERE.
Make sure herb pots have good drainage holes.
My indoor herbs are still planted in their original pots. So I give them a good drink, let them completely drain in the sink, and slip them back in their pretty pots.
Water the soil around the herbs and try not to get water on the herb’s leaves.
The rule of thumb to remember is to water less often but to water more thoroughly.
If you follow this regime you will not have drowning plants. They will repay you with lots of new growth!
INDOOR HERBS LIKE THEIR ROOTS TO BE COZY
Indoor herbs like to be snugly situated in their posts. Not root bound but cozy!
They do better in a pot that is not too big.
I’ll keep my herbs in their nursery pots and when they get root bound I’ll put them in a post just one size bigger. This is a smart trick. Only go up one size when repotting herbs.
This will almost guarantee a happy plant!
Think about Goldilocks to remember what size pot to plant your herbs in. Not too big, not too small but just right!
SOIL AND FERTILIZER FOR INDOOR HERBS
Let’s make it easy and get a good quality potting soil that drains quickly. You really don’t need fancy soil.
Use fertilizer for indoor house plants. Use one-fourth the recommended strength and add it to the water you water your plants with.
Start by fertilizing the herb plants in the spring and twice in the summer. Herbs do not need much fertilizer to grow.
A weak solution of Fish Emulsion works great instead of an all-purpose fertilizer!
BUGS AND PESTS
Herbs are pretty pest free, however once in a while, a plant will bring pests home with it from a greenhouse.
Swish the leaves in cool sudsy water, rinse them well and let them air dry. Don’t let diseased plants get near any healthy plants until there are no more bugs.
It’s sad, but it may just be best for the health of your other plants to get rid of the buggy plant.
OTHER WAYS TO KEEP INDOOR HERBS HEALTHY
Here are a few other things to do to keep your indoor herbs growing and healthy…
- don’t crowd them together so good airflow can get around and between them
- when they get leggy give them a good haircut
- snip herbs regularly to keep them growing
- keep them away from cold drafts
- when cutting make sure to leave one-third of the plant uncut, plants need leaves to make food and grow
- herbs need attention and care
I love the idea of having fresh, organic herbs at my fingertips all winter and spring. I usually plant them in our outdoor herb garden when all danger of frost has passed.
But this year I think I’ll keep them and enjoy them and care for them indoors!
You might like these other HERB GARDENING POSTS…
And here’s another way to plant a MASON JAR KITCHEN HERB GARDEN. So easy!