Growing Herbs Indoors – Tips for Success

Fresh herbs elevate your senses in meals or even cocktails. You can grow practically any herb indoors, keeping that garden-fresh flavor alive year-round.

Best herbs to grow indoors:

  1. Basil
  2. Chives
  3. Cilantro
  4. Mint
  5. Parsley

Tips for Success

Indoor gardens bring fresh herbs to your fingertips for everyday recipes – even when the snow is falling down outside. Below are some tips on the best growing conditions and ideas for starting an herb garden indoors.

How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

CONTAINERS/MEDIA: Consider a larger container so you can grow a few different herbs. Just make sure all the varieties in the container have the same water requirements (some don’t, see below for ideas). The container should also have drainage holes in the bottom and a saucer underneath to catch the excess water. Fill the container with a high-quality, sterile, soil-less, growing media that is free of large particles and weed seeds. This type of media gives the herbs good drainage and aeration while also holding adequate moisture and nutrients. Thoroughly pre-moisten the media with warm water before you sow your seeds.

LIGHT/ENVIRONMENT: Because herbs need at least six hours of sunlight per day, they love a sunny south- or west-facing window or even artificial lighting. If you’re using fluorescent lights, which we recommend, use both warm-white and cool-white, 125-watt bulbs hung 2 to 6 inches above the tops of the plants. Then set a timer so the plants receive 14–16 hours of light a day (they need more with artificial lighting than from natural light). As plants grow, adjust the height of the lights and rotate the plants so they grow evenly. To really get your herbs growing, keep the room temperature between 65º–75ºF.

SOWING: Use the seed packet directions to sow the seeds into the pre-moistened media in seed trays or small pots, then cover the containers with a clear plastic seed cover lid, or clear plastic wrap to retain consistent moisture. Check on them daily for signs of growth and if the media is still moist. When seedlings have germinated, remove the plastic.

Read our blog Be Successful with Seed Starting to learn more about seed starting basics.

WATERING: Keep the media evenly moist. Once plants are established, allow the media to dry slightly between watering.

NUTRITION: Many of the commercial growing media contain a slow release fertilizer, so you don’t need to add anything to get started. After the first true leaves have emerged, we recommend adding a water-soluble fertilizer every other week. NOTE: Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for fertilizer rates and then use the lower rate.

Need some inspiration on how to cook with herbs? Check our blog Home Cooking with Herbs to learn about Bouquet garni, as well as how to use leafy herbs and more.