Growing herbs in your indoor space not only boosts your home’s aesthetics but also helps you cut down on your grocery costs. Fortunately, starting an indoor herb garden is not as complex as most people think.
All you need to do is follow all the right steps involved. In this article, we discuss all the detailed steps that will help you start an indoor garden.
Process of starting an indoor garden
Let us set off creating your herb garden at home.
Step one: Choose the right herb plants
Before you do anything, select the right herbs to grow. Generally, some herb species cannot survive in indoor spaces. So, you have to be careful with the herbs you choose.
Examples of herbs that can thrive indoors include parsley, mint, basil, and rosemary. It is always advisable to start planting with seedlings. This way, you’ll shorten the maturity period of the herbs.
Nevertheless, you can always start planting with seeds or cuttings. It all depends on your preference. Consult the seedling manufacturer about the best herbs to grow in your garden.
Step two: Find a container with a good drainage system
The next step would be to choose a container that facilitates proper drainage. Most planting pots and containers often have several drainage holes at the bottom to prevent the build-up of excess water on the container. Moreover, it is essential to choose the right container size.
Typically, the size of your container should accommodate all your plants. Put a protective plate or saucer beneath the pot to prevent damage. You can find these protective saucers from your local store or garden center.
Large planting planters or pots are better to use since they accommodate different plant species. Suppose your planting container does not have drainage holes; spread pebbles on the lower side of the container to trap excessive water. This way, the soil won’t remain wet for a long time.
Step three: Choose the right location
A good percentage of herbs grow well under bright light. Therefore, ensure the indoor location you choose for the herbs receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight. Needless to say, you have to analyze your herb requirements before you choose your location.
Ensure you place your indoor herbs next to a bright window or in an area that receives a lot of light. Placing the indoor plants in a dark room tampers with their growth. Note that indoor plants take a longer time to grow during winter and cold seasons.
This is because the light radiated by the sun is often limited. During this time, it would help if you invest in a grow light until the climate becomes favorable. Grow lights are an excellent substitute for natural light.
Step four: Water your plants
Once you get the perfect location for your herbs, plant them. As mentioned earlier, you can use seedlings or seeds for planting.
After planting, water the plants frequently, especially during the first months. Fortunately, most herbs can grow well in dry conditions, So, be careful not to over-water the plants. The soil should be damp but not wet.
Step five: Time to harvest!
Harvest depending on the type of herbs you have. Use kitchen shears or your fingers to pinch the leaves. However, do not cut more than a third of the plant. Doing this can destroy the plant completely. Also, note that pruning from time to time boosts healthy plant growth.
Step six: Transplant when ready
Indoor herbs will always outgrow the planting pot or your indoor planting kit. Therefore, you may need to transfer the herbs outdoors or to a bigger space.
You’ll know the herbs have outgrown the container when their roots start penetrating through the drainage hole. At this point, consider transplanting the herbs outdoors. If you want the herbs to remain indoors, use a bigger planting pot/container.
What are the easiest herbs to grow in pots?
As seen earlier, not every herb thrives in pots or containers. So, before you grow any herbs, identify whether they can grow well in containers. Generally, culinary herbs grow well in pots. Below, we take a look at some of the best herbs to grow in pots.
Simplest herbs to grow in containers
One of the best herbs you can grow in pots is basil. This perennial plant grows well in bright direct light. Therefore, it is advisable to place it on your window sill or in an area that receives sufficient sunlight. The best thing about this herb is that you can grow it both indoors and outdoors. Basil is often used to make savory meals and salads.
- Chives and garlic chives:
These herbs are a perfect addition to a wide range of meals. So, growing chives helps you save on your grocery costs. Chives are perennials that thrive in bright sunlight. Consider growing these herbs in your indoor space. Nevertheless, ensure you water chives from time to time. Also, for best results, use thick chive seeds to plant. Doing this keeps the plants strong and healthy.
Cilantro is also a good herb to plant in your indoor area. Not only is it a perfect addition to your meals, but it can also boost the aesthetics of your indoor space. You can use cilantro in soups, stews, beef, poultry, and salads. This herb grows well when exposed to full sunlight. Dried cilantro is popularly known as coriander.
- Dill seeds:
The next herb you can grow in an indoor garden is the dill. Homeowners use dill in seafood, regular soups, potato salad, and omelets. Dill seeds are also used in pastries. According to health experts, dill can help relieve stomach upset. However, note that dill leaves have a mild taste. Thus, if you are using them for cooking, you have to use them generously.
- Fennel and Florence fennel:
Another herb you can grow in your indoor space is the fennel. This plant thrives under bright sunlight. Therefore, position it in an area that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight. The fennel grows very tall; ensure you have enough space to accommodate the plant. The majority of individuals use fennel in soups and salads.
- Lemon balm:
Lemon balm is also a popular indoor herb. This plant enhances your home’s aesthetics due to its heart-shaped leaves. Also, it improves the fragrance of your home. The lemon balm grows well in areas with bright sunlight. Unlike most herbs, lemon balm can grow in moist soil. Nevertheless, ensure the soil does not become soggy.
Is it better to grow herbs in pots or ground?
Homeowners can either grow herbs in planting pots or on the ground. It all depends on their requirements. Some prefer growing herbs in pots to save space or boost the aesthetics of their property.
On the other hand, some prefer growing herbs directly on the ground to obtain an abundant harvest.
So, is it better to grow plants in pots? Well, it depends on your needs at the end of the day.
- Versatility: When it comes to versatility, planting pots take the trophy. You can place a planting pot anywhere; on your patio, balcony, living room, kitchen, and even the bathroom. When you grow herbs on the ground, you cannot move them to another location easily. Also, planting pots come in handy when you are moving houses. Unlike a formal garden, you can always move with your planting pots.
- Accessibility: Undoubtedly, it is challenging for an elderly or sick person to tend to a formal garden daily. However, they can always care for herbs in a planting pot. Consequently, planting pots are more accessible compared to regular gardens.
- Weed control: It is much easier for gardeners to control weeds in a planting pot than in a standard garden. Pots do not entertain a lot of weed growth. Plants on the ground are more susceptible to weed growth. So, if you are a beginner, it would be much easier if you started growing herbs in pots.
- Cost-effective: Growing herbs in pots is budget-friendly. You’ll have to purchase bulky gardening equipment, more fertilizers, and pesticides in a standard garden. Not to mention, there is less maintenance when growing herbs in pots. Nevertheless, note that the produce from planting pots is way less than that from a regular garden.
- Portability: With a standard garden, you’ll rarely have an opportunity to transfer your plants, even amid harsh climatic conditions. Growing herbs in a pot allows you to transfer them outdoors when need be. Also, you can always plant your herbs at any time of the year when using a planting pot.
- Pest and disease management: Herbs grown directly on the soil are more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Many crawling pests and insects on the ground, like snails and slugs, can infest the plant. Moreover, diseases are more common on the ground. It is challenging for crawling pests to climb their way through a pot placed on a high windowsill. They would rather attack plants on the ground. Even so, this does not mean that the plants in your pot are resistant to pests and diseases. If you don’t take care of the herbs in your containers, they become susceptible to pests and diseases.
How do you take care of an indoor herb plant?
Indoor plants are fantastic add-ons to your home. They purify the air, make your home more appealing and enable you to obtain fresh farm produce from the comfort of your home.
Even so, you have to take good care of your indoor herb garden. Otherwise, it won’t be beneficial to you. So, how do you take care of an indoor herb plant?
- Ensure you have an excellent drainage system
The container you use to plant your indoor plants should have several holes at the bottom to facilitate proper drainage.
A good drainage system prevents the soil from becoming too wet. Remember, when the soil gets too wet, the plants are more vulnerable to getting root rot, among other diseases.
Avoid overwatering the soil. Before watering the soil, check whether the soil is wet. Dip two fingers in the soil to determine whether your plants need water. If the soil is dry, add more water to the soil.
- Repot your herbs
Repot your herbs to a larger planting pot if you want them to grow strong and healthy. Repotting your herbs to a bigger planting pot provides enough space for the plants to grow.
After some time, most herbs will grow very large. As a result, you’ll have to transfer them to a larger container. Also, note that the herbs still require adequate nutrients even after repotting.
- Avoid overwatering the herbs.
Although watering is good for plant growth, avoid overwatering. Overwatering your plant attracts bugs, pests, and diseases. It is important to know the requirements of your herbs. This way, you won’t struggle to know the amount of water your indoor garden needs.
Too much water in the soil can lead to root rot. However, don’t neglect your plants. The yellowing of leaves is often an indicator that your plants lack enough water.
- Be strategic when clipping
You have to be strategic when taking clippings. Do not chop off all the leaves at the same time. It is advisable to prune a mixture of young and mature leaves from the plant. Also, don’t clip off the entire leaf; experts advise not cutting more than a third of the leaf.
When clipping, focus on bigger leaves. Cutting the bigger leaves allows the small leaves to obtain sunlight and grow healthy. Remember that photosynthesis takes place in the leaves. Thus, avoid clipping all leaves.
How often do I water my indoor herbs?
Currently, there is a broad spectrum of herb species you can grow in your indoor space. Typically, different herb species have varying requirements.
Gardening experts usually advise taking the time to understand the plant species you plan to grow. But generally, every herb species needs watering from time to time.
The best way to find out if your herbs need water is to determine if the soil is dry or moist. Dip your finger into the soil to find out whether it is dry or moist. When it’s dry, water your herbs.
Planting experts often advise watering your herbs at least once a week. However, during dry conditions, it would be best to water the plants twice a week. Always place the same indoor herb species in the same location. Doing this makes it much easier to water the plant.
Additionally, it is important to water your plants in the morning. In the morning, there is less sunlight exposure. Therefore, the rate of evaporation is low. Ultimately, water your plants at least once a week from around 6 to 10 am in the morning.
Can you grow herbs indoors without sunlight?
Herbs need warmth, light, and air to grow. Without these components, your plants can’t grow to their full potential.
Over the years, gardeners have solely relied on natural sunlight to grow their plants. But the evolution of technology changed this, thanks to new farming ideas such as hydroponic gardening.
Nowadays, there are other ways to grow herbs indoors without sunlight. Some herbs naturally thrive in shady areas. So, growing such herbs should not be a big deal if your area does not have access to sunlight.
On the flip side, some herbs grow well under exposure to sunlight. Luckily, you can use grow lights that can help you grow your indoor herbs to full maturity without the need for natural sunlight.
T5 fluorescent grow lights are one of the most popular types of grow lights. These grow lights work well with indoor herb gardens. However, these fluorescent lights may not cater to a lot of plants. If you are growing a lot of plants, consider using the High-Intensity Discharge grow lamps instead. They will work better.
A Grow Tent
Subsequently, all plants can get sufficient sunlight. Most gardeners often prefer having two small grow tents instead of one big grow tent. This way, they can plant herbs that require prolonged exposure to sunlight and limited exposure to sunlight in each separate tent.
Most herbs will require a minimum of four hours of sunlight per day. But of course, this depends on the type of herbs you are growing.
Planting herbs that don’t require sunlight
If you don’t want to use grow LED lights or tents, plant herbs that thrive without sunlight. Luckily, there are many options to choose from.
Below are some of the herbs that can survive without sunlight.
Lovage is a common plant you can grow without sunlight. It is a perennial plant and is often used to make a wide range of meals. Lovage grows well in shady and warm environments. To grow lovage, always use well-drained loamy soil.
Chives are a perfect addition to soups and salads. This herb plant does not have too many requirements. It thrives in shady areas and under bright indirect light.
- Sweet Cicely or Myrrh:
Sweet cicely is used to make bread, cakes, and other pastries. This herb grows well in adequately drained soil. It can grow in shady spots and under bright indirect sunlight.
- Corsican Mint:
The Corsican mint offers excellent air-purifying properties due to its peppermint scent. For best results, you can place this herb near your window. Unlike most indoor herbs, the Corsican mint grows well in properly drained soil.
Parsley can also grow well in shady areas. However, the temperatures have to be warm for the plant to survive. The majority of homeowners use parsley in soups and vegetables.
Create your indoor garden today
Over time, indoor herb gardens have increasingly become popular. Indisputably, indoor gardens are excellent sources of aesthetics. Besides, they help you harvest fresh farm produce from the comfort of your home. If you want to start an indoor herb garden, you need not worry.
The process of starting an indoor herb garden is relatively straightforward. Once you plant your herbs, make sure you take care of them. Otherwise, they would attract pests and diseases. All in all, it is essential to choose the right type of herb species to grow.