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Simple tips for starting an indoor herb garden | Leaf Probably

If you’re at all interested in gardening, especially growing your own food, you might be a little disappointed if colder temperatures take over for a while. But don’t fret. Despite the change of season, don’t let that stop you from getting your hands in the ground.

That’s right — it’s totally doable to continue your green-fingered journey year-round. You may just need to reconsider your game plan. As in, instead of gardening outside, bring your garden inside with a container herb garden.

Here is the 101 on the DIY.

Herbs are easy to grow, easy to care for and good looking. Plus, they’re an easy and fun way to add flavor to your meals.

“An indoor herb garden provides a convenient way to add fresh flavors when needed to your homemade meals while saving time and money on trips to the grocery store,” say Tripp and Carmen Eldridge, farm and garden experts and resident farmers in Arden.

Not only are herbs delicious and great for getting more creative in the kitchen, they can also inspire you to cook more. “In addition to the convenience factor, an indoor herb garden can help you lead a healthier lifestyle by motivating you to skip the drive-thru and try new homemade recipes using your newly grown herbs,” the Eldridges explain.

According to Naomi Robinson, gardener and founder of Houseplant Authority, “using them indoors also means you can use them all year round, compared to outdoor herbs, many of which suffer during the colder months.”

Also, an herb garden doesn’t take up much space – think a windowsill, a kitchen table or a side corner – and you can decide how many herbs and varieties you want to grow. Maybe that’s a handful or an abundance of plants to your heart’s content. While it’s true that they need plenty of sunlight, you need to find a bright spot in your home.

There are a variety of factors you should consider when deciding whether planting from seed or seedlings is the best choice. You need to consider how much you want to spend, what strains you want to grow, how much time you have, and how quickly you want to reap the rewards of your herbs.

Seedlings, also known as starter plants, are just that – a plant grown from seed, giving you a head start of 4 to 8 weeks.

“By purchasing seedlings, you get plants ready to grow, but buying seeds and growing plants yourself takes time (30 to 60 days) and dedication,” says Reese L. Robbins, gardener and creator of JustPureGardening. “If you want to reduce costs, seeds are a better choice. “Seedlings are more expensive than seeds, but buying seeds gives you a wider variety of herb varieties,” says Robbins.

If you prefer to be part of the whole process, consider opting for seeds so you can watch them germinate and grow.

“You can grow almost any herb from seed, but for herbs that are slow-growing or have seeds that are difficult to germinate, it might make more sense to start with seedlings or small plants,” says Bloomscape’s gardening expert Lindsay Pangborn.

But it’s also important to keep in mind that some herbs don’t move well, aka transplanting. “Another consideration is that some herb plants don’t transplant well — meaning they could experience stress or shock when moved from one container to another,” says Pangborn.

There is no wrong way to start your herb garden. It’s all a matter of preference and your needs and the time you can invest.

Herbs are easy to grow in containers, and you can choose to plant them in ceramic or plastic garden pots, or upcycled containers you have on hand, like yogurt cups, milk cartons, or even plastic salad mix boxes.

“When first planting herbs in their pots, it’s important to make sure the pots have drainage holes so that excess water can escape from the pot,” says Pangborn. “The quickest way an herb can be ruined is by leaving the roots standing in water, which leads to root rot.”

Choosing soil or potting soil is easy as most are made for most types of plants, including herbs.

“Any all-purpose grounding mix is ​​perfect because it’s formulated to drain well while retaining just enough moisture,” says Pangborn. “Avoid potting mixes that advertise holding in excess moisture and never use garden soil for potted plants, which can be too heavy and damp for indoor plants.”

There are many herbs that do well indoors. Here are a few to consider to get started.


Dill is rich in antioxidants and can be beneficial for the heart.

“Dill likes at least 5 hours of direct sunlight each day to develop the full flavor it’s known for,” says Robinson.


Mint is a digestive aid due to its antispasmodic properties.

“Mint prefers indirect light for about 3 to 4 hours a day. For this reason, mint thrives best when placed on a south-facing window in the fall and winter, and then placed on an east-facing window in the spring and summer,” says Robinson.


Oregano may help protect against infection due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Also tastes great on pizza!

“Oregano grows best in bright light with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day,” says Robinson. “To ensure this happens, place your oregano plant by a south-facing window, although you might want to consider an artificial grow light in the winter.”


Rosemary is a hearty plant once it’s out of the ground. Despite being a Mediterranean plant, it does well in a variety of climates, including indoors.

“Rosemary does best when it gets at least 6 hours of full sunlight each day, with the general recommendation being to keep it in the brightest room in your house,” says Robinson. “However, this herb can struggle with the shorter days in winter, so artificial light can be a good idea here.”


Tarragon may help lower blood sugar and blood pressure in certain people.

“Your tarragon plant thrives in bright, indirect light for 6 to 8 hours a day, so anything but a south-facing window works best with this herb,” ​​says Robinson.

It is important to quench the thirst of your plants. But not all herbs need the same amount of water. “It’s important to assess pots individually for water needs, rather than watering everything to schedule, which can lead to overwatering and stressed plants,” explains Pangborn.

And when it comes to watering your herbs, it turns out that some techniques are better than others. “When you water the herbs, do so slowly so the water penetrates the soil,” says Pangborn. “Drain excess water from the pot and be sure to remove any excess water that collects in the saucer.” So in this case, leftovers are no good.

There’s a way to make sure you don’t overwater your indoor herb garden. “The easiest way to avoid overwatering is to simply check the top 2 inches of soil in each herb pot with your finger. If it’s dry, you can safely water your plant,” says Robinson.

So what can happen if you water your plant too much? It can lead to soggy soil and the roots can start to rot.

If this all sounds a bit overwhelming and you prefer something simpler and more convenient, you’re in luck. You can choose to purchase an herb kit and still reap all the beautiful fruits of fresh herbs without worrying about all the details.

“Herb kits can be a great starting point for beginners because they come with everything you need,” says Pangborn. “They’re also typically curated to include herbs that grow well together and have complementary culinary uses.”

Whether you’re ready to go full green indoors or you want to take it slow, experimenting with an herb garden is packed with benefits both during and after the process.


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