An indoor herb garden is a favorite of many home gardeners and cooks who prefer homemade meals with fresh, organic vegetables and herbs. Not only do potted herbs look beautiful sitting on a kitchen window, but it’s also super convenient to snip off some fresh leaves and elevate the taste, looks, and aromas of your dishes.
Suppose you’re planning on starting a kitchen herb garden or extending one, count chervil in, especially if you’re a fan of French cuisine. Not to mention, the feathery, fresh green foliage offers a charming sight.
These delicacies are hard to find at grocery stores but will grow easily indoors to provide a continuous supply of fresh herbs for culinary use. Even if you’re new to gardening, nurturing potted chervil shouldn’t be a problem, especially once you’ve read this post on how to grow chervil indoors.
Together with the necessary guidelines, you’ll also find the specific growing conditions the plant requires together with the best varieties for indoor growing.
What Kind Of Plant Chervil Is?
Belonging to the carrot family, chervil is also known as French parsley or garden chervil. These popular culinary herbs are native to western Asia, southeastern Europe, and southern Russia. It’s a delicate annual plant that grows up to 2 feet (about 61 cm) tall and is well-suited to container growing.
How To Cook With Chervil?
The thin hollow stems and feathery leaves are very aromatic and offer a subtle anise flavor. They are a vital ingredient in many French recipes and make beautiful garnishes on fish and seafood. Bearnaise sauce and ravigote sauce also include chervil as one of the main ingredients. With chives, tarragon, and parsley, chervil makes the upstanding set called the “fines herbes” in French cuisine.
Since the herb is too delicate to store, commercial cultivation isn’t feasible. Most cooks who use it often prefer to grow their own. If you’re one of them, you should know that they’re easy to care for and won’t take much of your time to grow. Once you’ve sown the seeds, you’ll be harvesting these delicious herbs in just about six weeks.
How To Grow Your Chervil Indoors?
As long as they get cool, moist conditions and some shade, which is easy to provide in an indoor garden, chervil won’t bother you much. They’re easy to care for. There are some basic guidelines to follow about sowing, growing, and harvesting that you should know before growing chervil. Here’s how to grow chervil indoors in a pot:
What Kind Of Seeds?
Buy fresh chervil seeds from a local garden center. Seeds over a year old or more won’t germinate well, so it’s important to choose fresh ones.
How Big Should The Pot Be?
The pot should be deep enough to accommodate the long taproot of chervil plants. A depth of 10 to 12 inches (about 25 to 30 cm) and a width of at least 8 inches (about 20 cm) can grow a fair amount of chervil for a small to medium-sized family. Make sure they have drainage holes at the base before adding potting soil.
What Kind Of Soil Is Best For Growing Chervil In Pots?
Since chervils are moisture-loving plants, either buy a mix that’s designed for moisture retention or add some extra peat moss to your usual potting soil.
How To Plant Chervil Into Pots?
Moisten the soil mix before adding it to the container. Sow the seeds ¼ inch (about 0,5 cm) deep, 3 to 4 inches (about 7,5 to 10 cm) apart. Moist soil and a temperature of 70°F (about 21°C) are ideal for germination.
In perfect conditions, chervil seeds will sprout in a week or two. Once you see sprouts, move the pot to a sunny window or place it under grow lights.
Once the seedlings are a few inches (about 5 cm) tall, thin them to a single, strongest plant per 8-inch (about 20 cm) width. If you have a wider container, you can allow more plants.
When To Harvest Chervil?
You can start harvesting the leaves in about 45 to 60 days once the plants are at least 6 inches (about 15 cm) tall. Cut the stems with sharp scissors as needed to use them in the kitchen. For the best flavor and aroma, harvest them before the plant goes to seed.
Chervil Works As An Ornamental Too!
The plant gives lovely white flowers. Once chervil bolts, it’s not very flavorful to use in the kitchen, but you may move it to a mixed flower pot for an ornamental addition.
What Growth Conditions Does Chervil Need To Grow Well?
So you now know the basics for sowing, growing, and harvesting chervil indoors. But, before you get on with the project, some specific growing conditions will help you get the most out of the plant. Here’s what you need to know:
How Much Sunlight Does Chervil Need To Grow Well?
Since chervil is a cool-season crop that thrives in 4 to 6 hours of indirect sunlight, it’s well suited to most indoor environments. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so place it a little distance away from the window if it gets too bright during the day.
Other than enough indirect lighting, chervil is also particular about its surrounding temperatures. The herb likes it cool, with daytime temperatures below 70°F (about 21°C) and nighttime temperatures below 50°F (about 10°C). If the temperatures rise for more extended periods, the plants will bolt.
How Much Water Does Chervil Need?
Chervil likes its soil moist at all times but avoid overwatering. Underwatered plants will quickly wilt, so remember to check the soil for moisture every few days, especially in warm weather.
How Often Should You Fertilize Chervil?
Chervil doesn’t need much supplemental fertilization and will do well even if you don’t apply any. You can feed them once when the seedlings are 3 to 4 weeks old with a balanced indoor houseplant fertilizer applied at half strength. Keep in mind that an overdose of fertilizer may cause the leaves to lose their flavor and aroma.
Should You Cut The Chervil Flowers?
Once chervil flowers, the leaves will start losing their flavor. You can extend the harvesting period and prevent the leaves from losing their flavor by pinching off the flower buds as they appear.
The flowers are edible, with a mild anise flavor, and you can add them to your dishes for an exquisite presentation.
What Chervil Types Are Good For Indoor Growing?
There are quite a few varieties to choose from, depending on your climate and features of the plant itself. There isn’t much difference in the flavor, but the texture of the foliage will vary. Based on the leaf type, chervil can be divided into two broad categories:
1. Curly Chervil
Curly chervil is the more widely available form at most garden centers. As you can guess from the name, the leaves are slightly curled, like parsley. “Brussels Winter” is a popular cultivar in this category since it’s slow to bolt and tolerates frost better than others. Generally, you can start harvesting in 40 days.
2. Flat Chervil
Also called common chervil, flat chervil has flat, dark green leaves, like Italian parsley. “Vertissimo” is a popular variety in this category that gives off a denser and compact growth compared to others. It’s slow to bolt and matures in just about 60 days.
What Mistakes To Avoid When You’re Growing Chervil Indoors?
Though you already know much about growing chervil at home, there are some tips you should keep in mind if you want a thriving herb garden. When growing chervil, here are some mistakes that you need to avoid:
- Chervil has a long taproot and doesn’t handle transplanting well. Avoid starting them in seed starter trays so you won’t have to move them to bigger containers. Instead, plant them in their permanent container right from the start.
- Chervil prefers cooler conditions, so avoid placing it next to radiators or heat ducts.
- If you’re growing chervil under artificial lighting, avoid high-intensity lamps as they give off heat and can scorch the delicate leaves.
- Don’t overwater the plants. Maintain moist soil and make sure it’s never soggy.
- Although this isn’t wholly related to growing chervil, remember that chervil loses its flavor quickly when heated. To enjoy the best taste, avoid cooking it. It should either be added near the end of cooking time or just before serving.
How To Grow Chervil Indoors? – In A Sealed Package
|Temp Required||55 To 70°F (About 12,7 To 21°C)|
|Sowing Time||Spring And Fall|
|Type Of Soil||Loamy|
|Transplanting Time||Not For Transplanting. Sow Once The Soil Temperature Is Above 50°F (About 10°C).|
|Harvesting Time||45 To 60 Days|
|Light Duration||4 To 6 Hours|
|Watering||Maintain Even Moisture|
|Fertilization||Balanced Indoor Fertilizer At Half Strength When Seedlings Are Three Weeks Old.|
Now that you know how to grow chervil indoors, it’s time to get started! If you still doubt whether you should grow it, remember that chervil is an attractive and aromatic houseplant that gives you a convenient source of fresh herbs when placed on your kitchen windowsill.
Since it thrives in indirect lighting and cool temperatures, chervil can be a fantastic addition to your indoor herb garden this year. Use it fresh as needed, or store it in the form of infused oil or butter and use it for weeks!
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