Having a source of escape amid today’s busy lifestyle is a must. So, what could be a better way than to curate your very own indoor herb garden! Not only will this provide a year-long activity, but it will also freshen up your home with a burst of liveliness. Even though there’s a lot of information in the category of growing herbs indoors, this comprehensive guide will leave nothing uncovered. Soon you’ll know how to grow herbs indoors while garnishing your bowl of tomato soup with fresh basil that’s a hand’s reach away.
Growing Herbs Indoors – The Basics
If you’re a newbie at indoor gardening, then it’s important to follow through to ensure that your herbs can reach their potential. The process of setting up your indoor herb garden is not a difficult one; its a one that requires dedication and time, as well as some attention to detail.
Here’s how to set up your indoor herb garden, and some tips to help it flourish. But before we move any further, I need to tell you about our other post about herb gardening. Growing Herbs Indoors: 3 Tips So You Can Do It The Right Way is an excellent to-read if you consider setting up an indoor herb garden.
1. Select A Permeable Container
The best thing about growing herbs is the lack of restrictions. They fit into any container, but make sure that the box allows for drainage to avoid excess moisture. It’s a good idea to line your chosen container with a protective covering on the bottom to make sure it gets some added support. Even something as simple as a small plate or piece of corkboard works correctly. There are no real size requirements when it comes to herb pots, but the general rule is that the smaller your chosen container, the sooner it needs replanting.
2. Bright And Sunny Is The Perfect Spot
Most herbs love to “bathe” in the sun’s warm and golden rays as its essential to their growth. Herbs that grow indoors need at least six hours of sunlight a day. The ideal placement is near a south-facing window because this way, they have access to direct sunlight exposure. If you live in a place that the sun tends to skim over, it might be a good idea to invest in a grow light, so your plants won’t miss the essential, which is LIGHT! This will also come in handy during the darker winter months!
If you want your plants to grow well in winter, remember to keep a couple of things in mind, and this applies to herbs too! Don’t forget to check out our post – Indoor Gardening In Winter (4 Simple Things To Keep In Mind).
3. Moderate Watering
Herbs are by no means greedy plant varieties, especially when it comes to their tendency for water. These plants can get by with minimal and spread out waterings. This, in turn, makes them the perfect pick for busy people who can’t afford to spend hours caring for their plant. You also need to make sure that the soil is moist but avoid waterlogging as this can deteriorate your plant’s health. A secure tell-tale sign of a herb that’s receiving more water than needed is yellow or wilting leaves as these are most likely saturated.
– Remember to keep a small spray bottle or watering can on hand to freshen up your plants.
4. Quantity Matters
When it comes to harvesting your herbs, quantity makes a big difference. Under no circumstances should you cut more than a quarter of the plant’s length at any one point as this is detrimental to the plant’s health. In some cases, it could even kill your plant. But, regular, minimal trimmings are a must as they help rejuvenate your plant. Our recommendation is to cut off a couple of sprigs with scissors or pinch off some with your fingertips. Enough to serve as the perfect addition to any made dishes without compromising on your plant’s wellbeing.
The sad fact is that at one point, your indoor herb plants will grow too large to be able to live in an indoor environment. While you might want to hold onto your leafy companions, it’s important to recognize when the time for transplantation has come. Roots are usually the critical indicator; when the plant starts to sprout roots that don’t stay within its pot, it’s time to shift them into the ground or a bigger container/pot.
Some herb plants can be adjusted, so they serve as periodic indoor and outdoor plants. Lavender and mint are common in this category.
6. Temperature, Temperature, And Temperature Again!
The ideal indoor environment for growing herbs rests at a temperature range of around 65 to 75°F (about 18 to 24°C). This is a temperature that makes for a comfortable living condition. For people who want to slow down the growth of their herb plants, adjusting the temperature to around 60 to 65°F (about 16 to 18°C) will do the trick.
If you’re placing your herb next to a window to meet the temperature needs, make sure that the leaves are not in direct contact with the glass as this could lead to burning. Windows are also a source of a draft, so this placement could act as a disadvantage in both ways. A simple solution to this is quick and easy window insulation.
7. Keep Them Separate
When growing herbs indoors, it’s best to nurture each of them in a separate container. This is what gives you the flexibility to conduct the perfect growing environment for every individual herb type, helping your herbs flourish.
By keeping your herbs separate, you can help prevent the spread of any diseases or infestations. Additionally, different herbs have different water and light requirements. So growing them apart from each other would make fulfilling these needs much easier! So, grab a multi herb planter and get growing.
8. Fishy Fertilizers Are The Best!
Herbs, like all other plants, need fertilizer to meet peak nourishment. The best of these is either fish or seaweed-based fertilizer as they hold a particular knack for your herbs. Their high nitrogen content boosts healthy plant growth.
As a general rule, you should treat your plants with fertilizer once a month. But, you can also create a watered-down solution that works along with your weekly watering cycle. To do this, mix your fertilizer with a quarter of the recommended amount.
9. Circulation Is Key
Good air circulation is vital when it comes to growing healthy indoor herbs. Air circulation prevents the spread of diseases and guards your plants against contamination. To ensure this, leave ample space between your plants, so each gets their fair share of air from their surroundings.
Rearranging your indoor herb garden is also another recommended task. Otherwise, the surrounding air could become stale and stagnant.
–Remember, even your herbs want to breathe well!
Now you know how to set up and take care of your indoor herb garden, and the next step is to start looking at the components. The herbs, the ways you can grow them, and specific products that can help support this growing process. So, let’s take a look.
Indoor Herbs – Unique Ways To Grow them
There are loads of unique ways how you can set up your indoor herb garden. Here are some that stand out from the crowd:
1. Chalkboard Wall Planter
Chalkboard wall planters make for a great indoor herb growing arrangement. They are easy to use because of their vertical positioning, but they also allow the user to customize their ‘garden’ with labeling and other add-ons. Most wall planters fit up to ten different varieties of herbs, making for a diverse and flavorful collection. And the best part, watering is a breeze with the inbuilt irrigator. Fill-up the compartment, and your herbs will get water while any excess water gets collected to the underlined tray.
2. Herb Grow Bar (Light)
Transform any spot into a herb grow bar by adding a nifty ceiling-mounted grow light. This is a great way to spruce up any dull corner by placing a collection of herbs as a stylish decor element. Stick your herb plants into small ceramic pots and pop them right under the grow light. This makes it the perfect environment to help an indoor herb garden. And the best part? They’re easy to manage and move around.
3. Vintage Milk Crate Herb Garden
This idea for an indoor herb garden makes for an especially cute aesthetic. All you need to do is fill up some mason jars with potting mix and plant your chosen herbs in them. Arrange these jars in a vintage milk crate, and there you have it. They are movable, you can place them wherever you like and adjust it to allow for the best light reach.
4. Window Herb Garden
The lack of a windowsill shouldn’t stop you from having an indoor herb garden. This is where adhesive window planters come in. Fill them up with soil, plant your herb, and stick them onto your window. What a pretty little addition to any room! Use a washable marker to mark the herb type on your window, and THAT’S IT. These planters are available in a variety of shapes and colors, so you can pick the one that goes with your home’s interior.
5. Macrame Hanging Herb Garden
Macrame hanging nets are a great way to add some creativity into your indoor herb garden. Plant your herb of choice in a regular ceramic pot and insert it into a hanging macrame plant net. You can even customize the macrame net by playing around with colors, designs, and textures, adding a unique element to any living space.
I hope you’re now able to decide what you want your herb garden to look like, whether that’s a wall planter or an herb grow bar. But, now it’s time to choose what you’ll be putting in this arrangement, that’s right, your choice of herbs.
Indoor Herbs – What To Grow?
Here are some herbs that are best suited to an indoor growing environment.
One of the most renowned culinary herbs, basil, is a perfect choice for your indoor garden. Favoring both natural and artificial light, the only real need that basil has is abundant light, as much as six to ten hours a day.
Used in cooking, such as Thai and Italian style, basil is said to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Excellent addition to your indoor herb garden!
Chervil doesn’t usually survive in the outdoor environment, as the heat and direct sunlight are too much for it to bear. This makes it an excellent choice to grow as an indoor herb. All they need is a light shade and relatively low temperatures, and soon you’ll be able to see them flourish.
This scented plant acts as a medicinal herb. Chervil is used to treat coughs, eczema, digestion issues, infections, high blood pressure, and to promote fluid retention. But most importantly, it’s also used in cooking!
Chives are an excellent herb, and their growth requirements make them suitable for an indoor garden. Supply them with ample sunlight by placing the pot near a south-facing window and maintaining the soil moisture at a moderate level. If provided with proper care, indoor chives can grow to be a foot tall (about 31cm).
A rather flavorful herb, chives have a variety of purposes other than enhancing edibles. They are known to lower cholesterol levels, cure parasitic worms, and reduce the likelihood of heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and strokes.
Rosemary is an excellent herb to grow indoors because of its flexible nature. The plant is known to thrive in several environments. It is best suited to bright light, minimal to moderate watering, and a temperature condition that ranges from 50 to 80°F (about 10 to 27°C).
The plant is used in baking, rosemary also carries several health benefits. Of these, the most common are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping improve digestion, preventing cancer, and protecting against brain and muscle degeneration. Their light scent is an added benefit.
Oregano is a staple herb and a must-have in every indoor herb garden. Oregano’s perfect growing environment is a combination of bright light, enough water, and moderate temperature. Additionally, they need airy soil and an occasional dose of fertilizer.
Apart from being used as a seasoning for dishes, oregano is also known to have a medicinal side. It’s known to treat respiratory tract disorders, menstrual cramps, gastrointestinal disorders, and urinary tract disorders. Oregano is also a good cure for skin conditions like dandruff and acne, making it a useful herb to have around the house.
Parsley is one of the least demanding herbs to grow indoors. The soil or potting mix should be a bit damp at all times. Proper drainage should also be possible through the container to prevent the roots from dipping in the water. Parsley has a special relationship with fertilizer, and you should give it every two weeks or so.
Parsley is used in cooking as a flavor enhancer. Apart from their use as a culinary ingredient, parsley carries several health benefits. The most known of these is its ability to reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, particularly skin, breast, and prostate. Additionally, parsley also helps strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation and infection.
When growing sage as part of an indoor herb garden, it’s essential to place the plant near a south-facing window. Doing this means that it can soak up lots of sunlight. Sage is well suited to minimal waterings, making it the perfect plant choice for busy folks. It’s best to wait until the soil dries out before going through with the next watering.
Sage is often used to freshen up any living space due to its mild aroma. Many people prefer sage as an edible, in their tea, or as garnishing on a savory food item.
Additionally, it also holds several health benefits thanks to its high antioxidant concentration. Sage is known to boost oral health, lower cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Thyme is a popular favorite when it comes to herbs. When growing thyme indoors, it’s essential to pay proper attention to its care. While it doesn’t have a lot of light, watering, or temperature requirements, it does need care to detail in other aspects. Biweekly fertilization, regular trimmings, and soil that is allowed to dry out between waterings are the things that a thyme plant needs.
Thyme is one of the most diverse herbs that comes to usage. It serves as a medicinal, dietary, and ornamental herb that is used to treat diarrhea, arthritis, stomach ache hay, and sore throats as well as colds.
Cilantro, or coriander, as it is also known, is a great herb to grow indoors. Water only once the soil has dried out, and make sure that the soil doesn’t have excess moisture as this can lead to your plant wilting. Cilantro also requires four to five hours of sunlight a day, so placing it near a south-facing window is recommendable.
Cilantro is a common addition to several foods, although its also used for medicinal purposes. It is used as a treatment for toothache, measles and to remove things such as lead, mercury, and aluminum from the body.
Dill can be a delicate plant to grow indoors as it requires low temperatures, around 70°F (about 21°C), to grow to its best. It might be a good idea to place them in a separate room with the temperature turned down as exposure to high heat could result in your plant’s death. As for light needs, dill requires about five to six hours of sunlight a day.
Apart from being used as an ingredient in cooking, dill is also used for its medicinal properties. Dill is used in treating kidney disease, urination problems, fevers, colds, bronchitis, infections, nerve pain, sleep disorders, and menstrual cramps.
So, you’re down to the last step; you’ve picked out your herbs, and now the only thing to do is go ahead with the setup.
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Indoor Herb Gardening – The Products
It’s a good idea to invest in certain products that can help make the indoor gardening process easier. Here are some of our top picks:
1. AeroGarden Harvest
The AeroGarden Harvest indoor hydroponic herb garden is the perfect choice to curate your herb collection. Super easy to use, all the product requires you to do is fill it up with water, add the seed pods and mix in some plant food and voila! The herb garden is ready to grow.
Fitted with LED lights that enhance photosynthesis, the system supports up to six plants at a time, each a foot (about 31cm) tall.
Get it from Amazon.
2. HYDGOOHO 2 Layer Herb Drying Rack Net
HYDGOOHO’s herb drying rack is excellent for drying out any herbs or flowers that you grow. The net is easy to use with a hook for hanging and a simple zippered design that keeps your herbs safe. The dual-layered design means that herbs can be dried in large quantities without fear of mixing.
Get it from Amazon.
3. Handy Pantry Self-Watering Microgreens Growing Tray
Handy Pantry’s microgreens growing tray has a two-cup water capacity, which makes it ideal for growing herbs of all kinds. The structure is perfect for indoor growing as it is functional as both a hydroponic and soil-based growing system. Easy to use, the tray can be used for multiple batches of herbs, making it a great option.
Get it from Amazon.
How Can I Grow, And Will Herbs Grow Indoors All Year Round – (In Winter For Example)?
We both now know how to grow herbs indoors, and that we can do it all year round. The best thing is that you can grow the same herbs indoors that you might already grow in your outdoor garden plot. And if you’re asking whether it’s better to grow herbs indoors or outdoors, it’s much easier indoors when you don’t have to worry about the bad weather. And HOW? The easiest way is with an automated hydroponic herb garden like the AeroGarden above.
Which Herbs Grow Best Indoors?
We already covered this question a little bit by introducing you to some fantastic herbs like basil, dill, chives, chervil, cilantro, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and parsley. But if these options didn’t get you into the “growing mood,” I’ll tell you a couple of bonus plants.
Plants like coriander, marjoram, lemongrass, and mint are other excellent herbs to take a closer look at when you’re building your herb garden. But the choices won’t end here, and pea shoots, sprouts, and other microgreens are great plants to consider. And our source for this info was – Passthepistil.com.
What Herbs Can Grow Without Sunlight?
Unfortunately, every single plant needs at least a little bit of light, so growing in your basement where you don’t have any light source (sunlight or grow lights) is hard or almost impossible. But don’t worry, there also are herbs that don’t need that much sunlight. Plants like lemongrass, parsley, mint, garden cress, chives, catnip, lemon balm, dill, chervil, sage, thyme, and cilantro are superb herbs to your home’s darker corners.
Which Herbs Grow Better Outside Than Inside?
Growing herbs is possible inside and outside, but it’s good to know the features of the plants you’re planning to grow. So, let’s have a closer look at herbs, that might survive better outside than inside:
- Dill – Dill might be a better plant for your outdoor garden because the plant can get big.
- Basil – Nutritious soil and lots of bright sunlight are what basil wants, and it might be a good idea to grow it outdoors.
- Fennel – We already talked about plants that might get big (a reminder = basil), so its recommended to keep this herb outdoors.
- Cilantro – Growing cilantro indoors might be too hard because it needs a lot of direct sunlight.
- Chamomile – The plant needs enough sunlight to produce flowers, so placing it indoors might not be the best idea.
But before we jump to any conclusions, I want to remind you that it’s possible to grow the herbs that I mentioned above indoors too. If you’re afraid that they don’t get enough sunlight indoors, then you should consider growing lights.
So, there you have it; A comprehensive guide for starting and sustaining your very own indoor herb garden. Follow these steps, and you’ll be good to go, with the results of your hard work showing up in no time at all! Moreover, I hope our post helps you, and now you know how to grow herbs indoors in your house or apartment, which you might know by now, isn’t hard at all.
If growing “traditionally” doesn’t interest you, I recommend you take a look at more simple solutions. The AeroGarden we introduced above, which only requires you to add the seed pods and water to the system from time to time, might be the thing you need.
Featured image credit – © Kalim – stock.adobe.com