As we inch closer to the cold weather season, gardeners should start thinking about transitioning their plants and flowers indoors. While what you can grow inside the walls of your home as opposed to outside in the fresh air may be limiting, one thing you can keep growing and harvesting indoors are fresh herbs. If you cook a lot, growing your own herbs is an easy way to cut down on your grocery bill, not to mention the bit of greenery will brighten up your home. Learn all you need to know about creating your own indoor herb garden here.
Finding the Perfect Spot
The most convenient spot for your herb garden is your kitchen—it gives you easy access to the herbs as you're cooking and preparing food. However, you’ll want to ensure that your herbs are able to flourish, so any room will do as long as it meets certain criteria. To grow herbs successfully, place them in a spot where there is sufficient room. The size of your herb garden is up to you, but if you have a tiny kitchen you understandably may not want to dedicate that space to the garden. Next, you’ll want to use a room that receives an abundance of natural light. These plants flourish most when exposed to at least four hours per day of sunlight.
Find the Perfect Containers
You’ll want to choose the right containers for your herb garden to ensure great growth and harvesting. The first thing to focus on in your containers is finding ones that provide good drainage. Containers with a decent sized hole or those with several along the bottom ensure that water can drain as it needs to, as the roots of herbs do not do well in soil that's too wet. Herbs are especially susceptible to fungus, making drainage even more important. Because of this, you’ll also want to ensure whatever pot or container you choose is breathable, such as terracotta. For further ventilation, place pots on a bed of small pebbles.
Next, you’ll want to utilize containers that are the appropriate size. This can be tricky depending on the amount of space you can dedicate to your herb garden, but use the largest containers you can. Larger pots are better because a higher volume of potting mix dries out more gradually than does a smaller one, requiring you to water less often. You may even consider combining two or more plants into a larger pot as opposed to using more smaller ones. However, you shouldn't plant all herbs in the same pot as those that are more invasive, like mint, can overtake the space and inhibit the growth of other herbs.
The Best Herbs to Grow Indoors
Certain herbs are easier to grow indoors than others. Here are the best for your indoor garden:
These are the simplest herbs to grow indoors and, unlike others, they don’t require much light. It’s easiest to start with a preexisting plant. Pull up a bunch of them, including their roots, and place in a small pot that is about half-full of potting soil. Completely cover the roots up to the crowns with additional soil and cut approximately a third of the growth from the top to stimulate new growth.
This herb is easy to grow and maintain indoors as it does not require much water. It should remain mostly dry, planted in a rich soil. The best variety for indoor growing is either Tuscan Blue or Blue Spire as they will remain more compact as they blossom, which is a plus when space is limited.
In the mint realm, peppermint is the best choice to grow indoors as it has a strong flavor—you’d have to grow much more spearmint to get the same flavor, which can be tough with limited space. You should start your plant with seeds and potting soil. While this plant can thrive in shade, it should still receive some light throughout the day to grow fully.
A commonly used kitchen herb, parsley is also simple to grow. The seeds may take about two weeks to germinate and it's a slow grower, so keep in mind that your results may take some patience. This plant doesn’t require much light or maintenance, making it ideal for indoor gardening.
Although basil is not terribly easy to grow (inside or out), it's coveted in kitchens so we are including it on this list. The best varieties to try are Spicy Globe or African Blue, and it should be planted in nutrient-rich soil in a pot with good drainage. Soggy soil could cause basil to rot, so the soil should only be kept moist. Basil requires at least six hours of light a day, so make sure to place it in a sunny spot.
Tips and Tricks
Now that you know the basics, here are some expert tips for easy growing and delicious harvesting!
- First, if you’re planning to buy preexisting plants to start your garden, buy those that have not previously been grown outdoors. The shock of bringing them inside can make it difficult to continue their growth.
- Avoid using soil from outside for your plants. This is because it contains organisms controlled by the outdoor environment, making the substance unfit for indoor planting.
- When it comes to watering, water your plants at their base where the stem meets the soil rather than pouring the water over their leaves.
- Finally, some are hesitant to frequently clip their herbs, however, the more you clip the more growth you encourage—so clip away!