Fill the air with exotic aromas, infuse food with fantastic flavours and get useful nutrition benefits by growing herbs. Enjoy the wonders of herbs year round by successfully growing them indoors. It's easy to have a thriving indoor herb garden wherever you live if you follow our basic guidelines.
There are dozens of herbs that grow indoors, but not all of them are edible. If you want to cook with herbs, start your first indoor garden with traditional favourites that are easy to grow, like:
Tip: Learn to choose the right herbs to create an indoor garden for herbal tea.
A good way to decide which herbs you might like is to pay a visit to a garden supply store or grocer that sells them. Rub the plant between your fingers to release the smell, and choose the ones that appeal to you. Many stores sell starter kits for herb gardens if you would rather grow the plants from seed.
Seek the Light
Location is important when growing herbs indoors because they need several hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive. A sunny kitchen window is a perfect spot because it provides quick access to herbs as you're cooking. Kitchen activities also tend to add beneficial humidity to the air.
Tip: If you’re short on well-lit spaces, bunch several herbs together into a compact container. A compact garden makes it easy to move as seasons and light change.
Herbs can grow well under fluorescent lights, but keep in mind that standard fluorescent bulbs need to stay on for about 14 hours to replicate 5-6 hours of natural sunlight. If you choose to grow with artificial lights, invest in a timer that will regulate the light that plants receive.
Tip: The tops of established plants should be placed about 15-33 centimetres (6-12 inches) from the lights, while seedlings should be kept only a few centimetres away until they are mature.
Soil, Water & Food
Soil: Herbs are hardy plants that do well in a variety of soils, nutrients and moisture conditions. Herbs do best in pots with good drainage and soil that is either neutral or slightly acidic.
Water: Watering requirements will vary by humidity conditions in your home, so check your garden frequently. Keep it moist but be careful not to overwater because some herbs like rosemary do not tolerate it well. Herbs also like a light misting from time to time.
Food: Most potting mixtures will supply enough nutrients for herbs to grow initially. After a few months, apply a houseplant fertilizer. Herbs don't generally need as much fertilizer as other houseplants, so use about half strength when feeding them. Overfeeding some herbs actually can reduce their flavour and fragrance concentration.
Tip: With an abundance of herbs, you may need to preserve them. Learn our creative ways to make herbs last so you can enjoy them all year long.
With these tips and a little TLC from you, you'll be sporting an herbal green thumb in no time! Let us know your favourite herb to cook with in the comments section below.