Growing Herbs Indoors

Flower pots

Our homes have taken on a new meaning of late. What was once mainly a place that we’d return to after a long day has now become an office, school, gym, playroom, restaurant, and anything else that we need it to be during the global pandemic. So, if you’ve ever wanted to create an indoor herb garden in your home, the thyme is now! 

Benefits Of Having An Indoor Herb Garden  

There are many great reasons to consider growing an indoor herb garden. For starters, indoor herb gardens are fairly low maintenance and offer us easy access to fresh herbs all year long. Indoor herb gardens also allow us to eliminate unnecessary waste since we can use as much (or as little) of the herbs that we need, rather than buying a large bunch of a specific herb at the farmer’s market (or grocery store) that we’ll eventually just end up throwing out. 

In addition to making our cooking experience more efficient, potted herbs can also add a decorative touch to our homes. Plus, indoor plants are beautiful to look at, can improve our mood, and also freshen the air in our homes.  

Where To Grow An Indoor Herb Garden In Our Home 

Since there are so many wonderful benefits of having an indoor herb garden, we might be tempted to just go out and buy a bunch of herbs. While that enthusiasm is certainly something that we should embrace, we should also probably know where we’re going to be growing our herb garden before we even buy any herbs.  

As a general rule, most herbs like lots of sunlight. That’s why it’s so important for us to make sure that we’re giving the herbs in our indoor herb garden at least six hours of sun each day. To ensure that our herbs are receiving as much natural light as possible, we should place them in a sunny spot near a south-facing window. We should also avoid placing plants in the center of a room or near a north-facing window since there won’t be enough sunlight for our herbs.  

For those of us who are lacking sunny locations in our home, it doesn’t mean that we can’t grow an indoor herb garden. We just may have to use a grow light and grow our herbs under a fluorescent light (or a sun lamp) in order to provide our plants with the proper amount of light that they need. There are also some herbs like mint, parsley, and thyme that require less light and can grow in partial shade, as well.  

Most indoor herbs also prefer the same temperatures that we do – around 65 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So, we don’t need to stress too much about the temperature in our home for our herb garden. That said, we shouldn’t grow our indoor herb garden too close to air conditioning or heating vents or in cooking areas (if we have a small kitchen) since the fluctuations in heat and humidity may be taxing on the plants. It’s also important to remember that the air next to a window will be cooler in the winter (and warmer in the summer) than our average indoor temperature. Therefore, we should plan accordingly and adjust the location of our plants based on the season.   

Soil And Pot Types For An Indoor Herb Garden 

We can plant our herbs in a terracotta pot, a heavy clay pot, or pretty much any container as long as it has some type of drainage. However, if we do decide to use a nontraditional planter such as a mason jar, we just need to make sure that we place a layer of pebbles in the bottom to catch excess moisture so our potting soil doesn’t get saturated. 

In terms of size, small pots that are about six inches in diameter will work well for our indoor herb garden at first. Then as our plants grow, we may need to transplant them if we notice roots in the drainage holes. Just remember, the smaller the vessel, the sooner we’ll have to repot the plants.  

The pots also need something to protect the surface underneath them. Why is that? Well, we’ll probably end up ruining our tabletop or windowsill if we let a potted plant drain on it. And one of the ways to ruin most herbs is to let them sit in water since the roots will rot. That’s why we need to use a saucer, liner, or drain pan under the pot to catch water and protect our surfaces. And since clay saucers let moisture pass through, we should probably go with plastic, rubber, or metal ones instead.  

And since planting herbs in containers or pots isn’t the same as planting vegetables in an outdoor garden, we need to use the best potting soil for herbs in containers that we can get in order to help our herbs become healthy and strong.   

Planting An Indoor Herb Garden 

When it comes to growing herbs, we can either start from seeds, plant store-bought herbs, or use stem cuttings from plants.  

If we’re growing the herbs ourselves, we need to fill each pot with potting soil and then add the seeds or plants. Next, we have to mist the soil with water and a spray bottle, keeping the soil damp, but making sure not to overwater it. Then depending upon how dry our home is, we may need to mist our herbs every day. It’s also important to note that each plant should have its own pot since most herbs grow better when they have some room to breathe.  

Starting From Seeds: The least expensive way to grow an herb garden is to start from seeds. However, this method also requires the most work. When purchasing seeds, we should only buy ‘compact’ varieties since the regular varieties are meant for growing in large spaces and are difficult to grow indoors. That said, as long as we follow the directions on the seed packets and also add the seeds to the depth specified, we should be able to grow a wonderful indoor herb garden in our home.  

Stem Cuttings: Stem cuttings are another easy method for growing herbs. Before the growing season ends, we can either start our herb garden with some cuttings from our plants or use cut herbs from our local farmer’s market or grocery store. When using stem cuttings, we need to cut about six inches of a stem at the base of the plant. Once the branch is cut, we need to strip the foliage off the bottom in order to discourage rot. (A root should develop anywhere a leaf or stem has grown.) Then we can place the cutting in a small jar of water so it can sprout roots. These cuttings need a sunny location and the water should be changed out each day. After the cutting has sprouted roots, then we can plant it.  

Store-Bought Herbs: For those of us who aren’t as confident in our gardening abilities, we can simply buy herb plants, and then care for them. 

Best Herbs To Grow Indoors  

While most herbs can be grown indoors, some of the herbs that tend to truly thrive indoors are thyme, lavender, basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, and rosemary.  

Using Herbs Grown In Our Indoor Garden  

One of the best ways to keep our herbs growing is to use them. That’s because snipping off enough leaves for a recipe or a garnish will keep our plants healthy and thriving. So, we should use our herbs as an attractive garnish or to add a splash of fresh flavor to our cooking all year long!  

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