Growing Herbs Indoors

Spring is teasing us.  Warm one day, snow the next – I want to garden!  I want to get my hands dirty!  Do you feel the same way?  Here’s a project for you.

A windowsill herb garden for your kitchen is a great way to add flavor all year long.  Also, indoor herbs need minimal care.  You can water them when you’re fixing your morning coffee and pick them while you’re cooking.  Here are some basic care tips:


Herbs need plenty of light.  A south or southwest-facing window is best.  Minimally, six to eight hours of light are needed each day.  If you can’t provide that much natural light, artificial light will be needed.  Today, fluorescent lighting and LEDs are a great choice.  As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need two hours of supplemental light for each hour of lost natural light.


Herbs generally prefer a well-drained soil.  Almost any type of potting mix will suffice.  When it comes to container choice, the sky is the limit.  You can use fancy pots or go the green route with recycled containers.


Water demands can vary by plant.  Some plants, like basil, prefer nearly dry soil, and others need constant moisture.  Be sure that your containers have a drainage hole.  Also, most plants like somewhat hard water.  If you have a water softener in your house, watch out for a buildup of sodium salts in the soil.

Temperature & Humidity

Herbs grown indoors generally do well with cooler temperatures.  Temperatures around 55-70F will keep your herbs happy.  Make sure that they have good air circulation.  If your house has dry air, supply some extra humidity by setting pots on a tray of rocks filled with water.


Time-release granular fertilizers are a great choice for herbs.  Mix a little bit in with the potting mix according to the package instructions.  When it comes to soluble fertilizers, fertilize lightly every two weeks.  Take care not to over fertilize.