Indoor Herb Gardening Basics

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Having an herb garden outside is perfect but we don’t all live where this is possible. You might live in an environment that’s too arid, too wet, too hot or cool, or you might live without a backyard at all. Indoor herb gardening is a good idea whether you already have an outside herbal garden or you just want to have some herbs handy in the windowsill.

Let’s get started growing some herbs, inside.

Natural Light Rules

Unless you live in an earth-shelter like me… (I only have four windows…but I do have an atrium with a skylight.) you’ll most likely have several windows to allow natural light into the home. While a kitchen window is most convenient you might find that one of your other windows affords the best light.

Look for a spot or window with at least four hours of natural light per day. This might not be ‘in’ the window. You might have patio doors that let in light, or a southern facing window (north facing windows typically don’t provide enough light), or near a skylight. Southern facing windows will have the brightest light all year long. East and west facing windows would be a second choice. Even herbs that grow well indoors or with partial shade still need some type of natural light.

Today you can also find full-spectrum grow lights. I have a grow light that I use for starting seedlings like this one… This post contains affiliate links.

But there are also models that are more attractive and less functional looking. One like this might fit better into the style of your kitchen.

Plant the Right Herbs

Herbs, in general, are tough plants. They can typically can grow indoors rather easily but of course some plants will thrive better than others. I’ve found that some of the easier herbs to grow indoors include lemongrass, mints, and chives. I’m partial to some perennials such as rosemary, oregano, and thyme.

Chives are essential in French cooking. You can’t make Bearnaise sauce without it! Grow from seeds and replant every couple of weeks for a continuous source.

Mints come in many different varieties and flavors. Choose one or all! Peppermint and spearmints for teas… and desserts.

Oregano goes in SO many dishes! It’s versatile leading itself to blend into Mexican as well as other cuisines.

Rosemary is one of my favorites. I like to run my fingers along a stem to release the scent into the air. I also like to use it in many chicken dishes.

It’s also generally best if each herb has it’s own pot. That way thirstier plants can get more water without drowning a pot-mate.

herb in windowsill
herb in windowsill

Have Good Drainage

Drainage is as important inside as it is outside. A pretty container to hold plants ALWAYS needs a drainage hole. Since you’re probably going to be putting this plant on your windowsill, you also want one with a tray underneath. This helps catch any overflow of water and helps save the window’s woodwork from stains.

Maintain the Indoor Temperature
Most homes today are temperature controlled. Most of your herbs will like the moderate temps in homes today. However, some windowsills, especially southern facing windows, in the south MAY become too hot. If you find your herbs wilting even after watering be sure to check to see if that area receives too much solar gain.

With a little planning and some maintenance you can supply your own herbs for your own culinary needs right in your own kitchen.