How to Grow Herbs Indoors

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What You'll Need
Pots or Containers Potting soil Herb seeds or transplants

Even if you have little experience with gardening or you don't have the space to grow outdoors, a simple indoor herb garden may be just the solution for you. Indoor herb gardens require little maintenance, provide you with the beauty of having plants indoors, and make cooking more convenient.

Step 1 — Choose Your Herbs

Start your indoor gardening adventure at your local greenhouse or the gardening section of your local discount store. The choices you make here will affect the quality of your herb garden when you get home. Buying healthy seedlings can be an easier way to start an indoor garden, but many people still prefer to start from scratch. In this case, be sure to select quality seed packets that have not expired. Buy extra seeds. Sometimes only a fraction of the seeds you plant will actually flourish. Herbs that will thrive indoors include mint, rosemary, chamomile, lavender, basil, and oregano.

Step 2 — Pick Your Containers

You can buy a set of new gardening pots for your herbs, but it isn’t necessary. Indoor herbs will grow just as well in many spare containers you'll find laying around your home. The important part of selecting containers for your herbs will be to make sure the container has proper drainage.

Step 3 — Prepare the Soil

Proper soil is another crucial part of growing indoor plants. To make your own, mix potting soil with sand and a small amount of lime to give your herbs the best soil conditions for growth. Premixed soil can also be purchased. Before adding soil to your container, layer the bottom with gravel to ensure suitable drainage. Be sure you don't leave your herb plants in standing water as this can encourage pathogens that cause roots to rot.

Step 4 — Choose a Spot for Plants

Where you choose to place your indoor herb garden will greatly affect your garden's success. Most herbs require at least a moderate amount of sunlight, so a place near a window or skylight is ideal. Windows facing south provide the best sunlight, while windows facing north supply less adequate lighting. Plants in windows should be rotated regularly exposing all sides of the plant to the sun.

If you think your herb garden may not be getting enough light, you can supplement by using fluorescent lighting. Plants without adequate light will stretch and become leggy. During the warm months, a little time outdoors can give your plants a boost.

Step 5 — Maintain Your Herbs

When your herbs receive the right amount of water, they will flourish and thrive. Keeping an eye on the moisture level of your soil will give you a good idea of how often you need to water your herbs. Typically, once every one to two weeks will be plenty. Water just enough to keep the soil moist. While it's important to make sure your herbs are getting enough water, over-watering can also be harmful to your garden. Too much water can deprive your plant of oxygen. Yellowing of the leaves is a sign of over watering.

For soft, leafy plants like basil and mint, pinch back the plants leaving the bottom three or four leaves. This will encourage more branching of the plant. Herbs that become woody like rosemary, lavender and sage require careful pruning. Be sure to trim them lightly, removing only the soft tips of the plants. Cutting them back to hard can cause damage.

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