Indoor Herb Garden: Need to Know, Need to Grow


Having an indoor herb garden is a great way to save money and have every spice you need at your fingertips. It’s important to know as much as you can about an indoor herb garden before you start so you can have a top-notch selection.

What do you need to know to grow an indoor herb garden? You have plenty of options when it comes to indoor herb gardening, from kits to starting from seeds. Once you figure out what you want in your garden, you’ll need to make sure you have the right spot and the right tools and accessories to have the best crop of healthy herbs.

Whether it’s your first time with an indoor herb garden or you just want to up your game, you’ll want some tips to get the best results. I’ve broken it all down so you can see exactly what you need to do to get your herbs started and thriving indoors.

Indoor Herb Gardening Ideas

When it comes to starting your garden, you probably have plenty of ideas of which herbs you want available. But before you go grabbing every seed under the sun – first make your plan.

The most important key to a successful garden of indoor herbs is making sure you know what to do to give your herbs a healthy start. OK, let’s start by selecting the herbs you want to grow.

The benefit of growing your herbs indoors is that you can grow whichever herbs you want all year long. You don’t have to worry about outside temperature, rain, sunlight, or bugs.

There are plenty of herbs to choose from, but here’s a look at some of the most helpful herbs for the kitchen:

  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Tarragon
  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Bay

Choosing the Best Soil

Once you know which herbs you want to grow, you need to pick up the best soil to provide your garden with the foundation it needs to grow well.

A potting mix is a much better choice over potting soil for this purpose. The potting mix is much more likely to have an organic matter with good drainage, which is super important for healthy, growing herbs. The better drainage happens because potting mixes usually have an aerator such as perlite or vermiculite.

It’s also a good idea to get a potting mix designed specifically for indoor growing. Usually, the bag is labeled for indoor growing. You can easily find some indoor potting mixes on Amazon. Take a look at a couple I found:

Dirt from your backyard might seem like a quick, easy, and cheap option, but don’t do it. This type of dirt is too compact for growing indoor herbs. Your herbs may start to grow but the roots won’t have room to breathe, plus you’re likely to bring in some extra little friends, like bugs and parasites.

Once you’ve figured out the herbs you want to grow and found a suitable potting mix, it’s time to get your garden together. You have quite a few options when it comes to herb gardens and putting it together.

Indoor Herb Gardening Kits

The quickest, easiest way to get this garden started is by using an indoor kit, available at nearly any garden or home improvement store.

Kits are quick and easy but might cost you slightly more than if you just gathered everything you needed on your own. The benefit, of course, is that you have everything you need in one box.

Generally, indoor kits come in one of three styles, take a look:

  • Windowsill herb gardening kits
  • Planter-based herb gardening kits
  • Hydroponic herb gardening kits

Let’s take a closer look at what each of these indoor herb garden kits offers so you can choose the best one if you decide to take the garden kit route.

Windowsill Herb Gardening Kits

A windowsill herb garden kit is designed to sit on your windowsill, kind of a given with the name. These kits generally come with germination bags, fiber soil, and some sort of potting. Usually, the pots are ceramic or plastic, but sometimes it’s coconut coir.

A quick look on Amazon offers plenty of options for windowsill herb gardening kits. Take a look at some of the kits I found:

Planter-based Herb Gardening Kits

Planter-based herb garden kits are the most traditional kits for an indoor herb garden.

These kits generally come with ceramic planters or mason jars with holes already drilled in the bottom for drainage. They also almost always come with seeds and plant food.

Planter-based kits are also easy to find on Amazon. Here are just a few I found:

Hydroponic Herb Gardening Kits

Your final option for a kit is a little more high-tech, a hydroponic kit. These kits are probably not for the traditional gardener, but if you like newer things, this might be for you.

Hydroponic kits include growing herbs without soil. The kits usually have water and nutrient reminders, LED lighting, and come in all different sizes. You’ll want a smaller one for your start in an indoor herb garden.

Take a look at some of the hydroponic gardening kits I found on Amazon:

The above options generally cover the kits available for your indoor herb garden. If you want to put your indoor garden together yourself, you just need to consider a few things.

 DIY Indoor Herb Gardening

If you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of gardener, you have plenty of possibilities when it comes to growing your herbs. Since you’re not receiving everything you need in a premade kit, you’ll need to consider the following materials:

  • Plants
  • Containers
  • Potting Mix

Let’s take a look at each of those areas in more detail to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Plants for Your DIY Herb Garden

You can still consider the same plants I talked about above for your herb garden, whether it’s a kit or DIY.

Usually, though, a kit comes with seeds. When it comes to putting together your indoor garden yourself, you have a few different options. Take a look at how you can start your herbs:

  • From seed
  • From young plants
  • From cuttings

The best way to start your herb garden depends on which herbs you’re planting. Take a look at this table to see which method is best for specific herbs.

From Seed From Young Plants From Cuttings
-Basil
-Cilantro
-Chervil
-Rosemary
-Oregano
-Thyme
-Chives
-Bay laurel
-Mint
-Basil
-Mint

If you want to start your herbs from young plants, it’s best to pick them up at a local garden center or use some from your outdoor garden or a friend’s garden.

Containers for Your DIY Herb Garden

You have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right containers for your DIY garden. Here are some ideas:

  • Mason jars
  • Plastic bottle
  • Gutter
  • Teacup
  • Glazed container
  • Wood
  • Clay container

One popular option is terra cotta pots. Although terra cotta pots look cute, they’re not a great option because they are so porous that the soil dries out pretty quickly.

Any container you choose should have holes for good drainage, and you might want to place the container on a small saucer, so you don’t damage your countertop or windowsill. A few small rocks on the saucer also offer protection for the herbs’ roots.

Potting Mix for Your DIY Herb Garden

Whether you use a kit or put it together yourself, you still want to choose a potting mix over standard dirt or soil. Your mix should hold moisture but drain well, too.

Indoor Herb Gardening Accessories, Tools, and Planters

We’ve discussed the basic necessities for your indoor herb garden. Seeds, containers, and potting mix are all essential to your garden, as is a growing light if you don’t have strong natural sunlight.

After those necessities, there are some other accessories and tools that will make your gardening easier. Take a look:

  • Watering can or mister
  • Fertilizer
  • Mini pruning shears
  • Garden transplanter
  • Labels
  • Moisture sensor
  • Herb keeper

Let me show you some options for each of these tools and accessories.

Watering Can or Mister

You’ll need to water your herbs on a regular basis to make sure they have everything they need to grow well. You can do this with a kitchen cup or pick up small water can or mister. Take a look at a few I found on Amazon:

Fertilizer

While fertilizer is certainly not necessary for an indoor herb garden, a few extra vitamins never hurt. You can premix some fertilizer into your potting mix before you plant if it doesn’t already have some. After that, you can add fertilizer if your plants look a little weak.

Here are some of the fertilizers I found on Amazon:

Mini Pruning Shears

Once you have a flourishing garden, you’ll eventually need to trim the plants down. Of course, you also need to be able to snip off a few herbs when you want to use them for cooking. You can use your fingers or a pair of kitchen scissors, but you’ll feel like a real gardener if you have a set of mini pruners.

Mini pruning shears are also pretty easy to find on Amazon. Here are a few options:

Garden Transplanter

You won’t need a garden transplanter when you first get your indoor herbs started, but if your plants do really well, you might want to move them to a bigger pot. A garden transplanter will come in handy then. Here are a few options from Amazon:

Labels

Perhaps you can recognize your herbs no problem, but if you’re like me, you’ll want a little help remembering which herbs are which. This is where labels will come in handy. There are plenty of fun options on Amazon for labeling your herbs. Here are a few:

Moisture Sensor

Making sure you give your herbs the right amount of water is important for good growth. If you’re worried about watering them the right amount, a moisture sensor can help you out. Here are some possibilities from Amazon:

Herb Keeper

Hopefully, you’ll have an herb garden that is so plentiful you’ll be trimming them down on a regular basis. If you have more herbs than you need for cooking, an herb keeper can help keep them fresh longer. You can find those easily on Amazon. Take a look:

We’ve already discussed the types of planters that are possibilities but don’t stop there – get creative.

Once you have your herbs planted, you can pop it on the windowsill, or you can come up with some other eye-catching design. You could make a hanging herb planter, an herb container tower, or a vertical garden. The possibilities are endless.

How Much Light and Sun is Needed for an Indoor Herb Garden?

The beauty of growing herbs indoors is that you don’t have to worry about whether they’re getting enough sun or not during the day. That doesn’t mean, though, that sunlight isn’t important.

When you set up your indoor herbs, you still want to make sure the herbs are getting as much natural light as possible. Find a sunny spot near a window where they’ll get ideally at least six hours of sun a day. A spot that faces the south is your best bet for getting optimal sunlight.

If you don’t have a good sunny spot, focus on herbs that don’t require as much light. Mint, parsley, and thyme do well without as much sunlight. Of course, if you can’t find a good sunny spot for your flavorful little plants, you can always use a grow light.

Using a Grow Light

If you use a grow light for your plants, it’s not a one for one trade-off for sunlight. Grow lights don’t supply the same level of light intensity as sunlight, so your plants need around 14 to 16 hours a day. It’s best to use LED or HID grow lights for optimal results.

Grow lights are very easy to find on Amazon, and they feature all sorts of features. Some of the features you might find include timers, various color lights to encourage germination and flowering, and dimmable lights. Here are just a few I found on Amazon:

Whether you rely on natural sunlight or artificial grow lights, it’s a great idea to rotate your plants occasionally, so all areas receive the appropriate amount of light.

Setting the Right Temperature

The other benefit of these is that you don’t have to worry too much about the temperature. If you want your herb garden to reach ideal production, though, a temperature between 65 and 70 degrees is the best. Even 55 to 60 degrees overnight is fine for herbs.

A quick note of caution for those near windowsills, though. While the sun is best near the window, you have to be careful to not let the leaves actually touch the window. The leaves could burn as the glass heats up in the sun, or they could die if the window is too cold.

Signs Your Plants Aren’t Healthy

If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of making sure your herbs get just the right amount of light and grows in ideal temperature, there’s no need to stress. You don’t have to count the minutes of sunlight every day; you can simply watch for signs the herbs aren’t getting enough light.

Here are some signs that may indicate your herb garden isn’t getting enough light:

  • Poor growth
  • Stems that grow long between leaf sets
  • Smaller leaves than usual
  • Pale or yellow stems or leaves

One other problem that could cause your plants to die is bugs. Let’s take a look at that.

Do Indoor Herb Gardens Attract Bugs?

Among all the other benefits I’ve mentioned, an indoor one generally will not have a problem with bugs. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your potted herbs to attract bugs if you let it go, but there’s plenty you can do to prevent it.

First of all, make sure your herbs are bug-free before you plant them if you’re starting from small plants or cuttings. The last thing you want to do is bring bugs into your house.

The next step is to make sure your plants are healthy and watered well but not overwatered. If they’re overwatered, you run the risk of mildew, which attracts bugs.

Next, keep an out for the typical bugs that attack herbs. Here are some to watch for:

  • Japanese beetles
  • Scales
  • Slugs
  • Snails

If you notice a bug problem, quickly remove the bugs and the leaves that were affected by the pests.

Taking up an indoor herb garden may seem overwhelming with all this information, but it’s really a simple project from which you can reap the benefits for a long while.

Eyerly Family

The Eyerly Family is a family of 8 that loves gardening. Over the past several years we have been applying what we learn about gardening to our own 16x16 raised back yard garden. Our garden is very prolific and we grow a wide variety of vegetables which we love to eat! Click here to learn more about the Eyerly Family.

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