Can Herbs Grow Indoors? 5 Best Herbs for Container Gardening

Can Herbs Grow Indoors? 

The question that many novice gardeners find themselves asking is: Can herbs grow indoors? The wonderful news is yes! It’s all about providing indoor plants with the right conditions. And when these needs are met, they not only survive but thrive.

Each herb variety will have different needs, but luckily if you know the right steps to take, you’ll be growing your own herb garden in no time! Plus, you’ll start to see that plants communicate their needs to you if you know what to look for. After all, a green thumb is acquired, not inherent.

Things to Consider

  • Sunlight and airflow: Will the plant get enough sunlight and is there any airflow (from an open window or nearby fan) based on its location?
  • Growing medium/ soil type: Will the soil/ growing medium I use provide the nutrients my plants need to thrive?
  • Water: How much and how often do I need to water my plants?
  • Pots or containers: Does this container/ pot have good drainage to prevent root rot?

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How Do You Grow Herbs Indoors?

As a general rule, most herbs will need roughly 4 to 6 hours of sunlight in order to flower and thrive, but this can be done through artificial lighting too. Plants also need airflow in order to prevent disease and fungus from growing on their leaves and stems. 

Spacing is important – as just like people, plants don’t like to be overcrowded and bunched up together for too long. For indoor gardening, harvest time usually solves overcrowding, but be mindful of this when setting up your initial growing spaces.

Watering is crucial for your plant’s health, but too much is as detrimental as much too little watering. Pick containers or pots that have good drainage while still allowing the soil/growing medium to stay damp. Your local nursery and garden center have all the material you’ll need, with clear descriptions for the different types of soil and growing mediums – from seedling starters to peat moss mixtures.

Indoor herbs often suffer from overwatering, so we recommend checking the topsoil before watering. This can be done by using your finger or gardening tool to check about 1 inch into the soil – and if the soil is dry, you know you can safely water.

There are 5 main methods and growing techniques when growing herbs indoors:

What Herbs Grow Well Together?

Companion planting is a common practice when growing herbs and other food that we consume. Each plant has different attributes, and there are some that complement each other, like providing natural pest repellent, root support, and convenience for harvesting.

Companion Herbs That Grow Well Together

Natural Pest Repellent Plants That Help Protect Your Herb Garden

5 Beginner-Friendly Herbs to Grow Indoors

1. Sage

Sage is frequently used in fowl recipes and as filling and has become a staple item during Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.

The most commonly used variety in cooking is the common sage. The strong flavor of the leaves means you don’t require a handful every time you need to cook. Sage can thrive with indoor gardening, so long as it gets enough sunlight a day, which can be substituted with growing lights if you have an artificial lighting setup.

  • Daily sunlight: At least 6 hours of direct sun
  • Watering schedule: Let the top soil dry out between watering, using your finger to check up to 2 inches as a good measure
  • Soil type: Well-draining sandy and rocky soil is best that is not hard or compact, as sage grows for several years 
  • Harvest times: Can be harvested throughout the year, but wait until the plant has reached a height of about 8 inches

2. Parsley

We all know parsley is a much-loved herb in the restaurant and culinary world for its beautiful color and aroma. But did you know parsley also tastes amazing and is highly nutritious? There are 2 main varieties: Curly and Plain. Curly parsley is elegant and used for its decorative qualities while plain parsley is used for its concentrated flavor and taste.

  • Daily sunlight: 8 to 12 hours
  • Watering schedule: Moist soil. If dry at a depth of 2 – 2.5 inches when checked with your finger, it’s time to water
  • Soil type: Avoid clay or compact soil due to its shallow root structure. Potting soil and other well-draining growing mediums work best
  • Harvest times: Once it has reached at least 6 inches or has at least 5-7 well-grown leaves

3. Mint

This herb will often feel like an invasive weed once you’ve found a spot that it likes. You’ll certainly never run out when your mint is finally established indoors and will thrive in containers or pots. From its beautiful scent to being an amazing cooking ingredient, mint is your go-to.

  • Daily sunlight: 8 to 12 hours
  • Watering schedule: Keep the soil moist by checking the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil with your finger to test if it’s dried out. 
  • Soil type: Needs good drainage to prevent root rot. Use a potting medium mixed with perlite or gravel
  • Harvest times: Limit harvesting during the first 6 months of growing to only a few times. Once fully established, you can harvest throughout the year

4. Thyme

Thyme is a popular herb for its powerful scent and magnificent flavor, with a wide variety of types and hybrids that give us different tastes and flower shapes. Most thyme varieties will have the same growing needs and are one of the most rewarding herbs to grow as a beginner and expert.

  • Daily sunlight: At least 6 to 8 hours
  • Watering schedule: Water when the top 2.5 to 3 inches of soil is dry, and then water well
  • Soil type: Can tolerate many different soil types, but thrives with potting soil that has organic material like mulch mixed with perlite or gravel
  • Harvest times: Can be harvested throughout the year, but wait until the plant is about 6 to 8 inches tall with well-formed leaves

5. Chives

As a member of the onion family, chives have played an important role in the culinary evolution of humans, featuring strongly in many traditional dishes and recipes. It’s also highly nutritious and very easy to grow for beginners. They thrive best in moist but well-drained soil, as their root structure is shallow and dense.

  • Daily sunlight: At least 6 hours 
  • Watering schedule: About twice a week, or by checking with your finger if the soil has dried out in the top 2 inches of soil 
  • Soil type: As a shallow root plant, prevent clogged and compact soils. Potting soil and other well-draining mediums are ideal
  • Harvest times: Harvest when the plant has reached a height of about 6 inches, or there are over 20 ‘leaf rods’

The Bottom Line

Starting out can seem daunting for any beginner, but with the right guidance and foundation, you’ll be whispering to your plants in no time. Just remember, once you’ve learned the basic needs like water, sunlight, and soil types, the hardest part is over.  Growing your own herbs is one of the most satisfying experiences, and it can all be done from the comfort of your own home. 

If you don’t have the luxury of an outdoor garden, you can always bring the garden indoors. Keep an eye out for our latest updates and tips to stay informed during this amazing journey we call gardening.

From Garden to Table and Table to Garden

We have what you need to start growing your own food indoors or outdoors, as well as turning your food scraps into your own organic fertilizer.

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