It's the season of green. With fresh plants and flowers springing up everywhere, the summertime is the perfect time to explore your green thumb and your hungry stomach. Add a little green to your home and life by growing your herbs indoors.
Some herbs naturally lend themselves better to indoor growing conditions. Parsley, basil, sage, and thyme are known to hold up stronger inside. The extra perk is they are all perfect accompaniments for fresh stews, casseroles, and roasts, and having them close by makes it all the more easier to whip up a flavorful dish. So how exactly do you grow an indoor herb garden? Plant expert and founder of Beyond Sunflowers Gisele Zanier has put together her top tips for growing herbs indoors.
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Growing Herbs Indoors
In warmer months, you can put your herbs near a sunny window or a shady balcony that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day so that they thrive. In the winter, you need to find a spot with sufficient natural or fluorescent light (you must remember that to a plant, light is food). This will guarantee that your herb plants obtain all the necessary light and will also prevent them from the dieback — this is when plants die from the tips of the leaves inwards — that occurs from being against a cold window. The easiest way to start your indoor herb garden is to buy established plants, especially if you're only a novice gardener.
There are several types of containers you can use for the plants, but terra-cotta planters are very popular. Make sure the pots you select have drainage holes in the bottom and are deep enough to promote proper root development. You can plant multiple herbs in one container or select individual pots for each herb plant. You should also make sure that your herbs are not too overcrowded, as this too can lead to fungal problems that may kill your plants.
Tips for Growing Herbs
When repotting, it's a good idea to go with a store-bought potting mix. Be sure the mix is lightweight and will drain well. Pour a two-inch layer of potting soil into the bottom of your container and place your plant gently in its location. Finish filling it with potting mix, pressing it firmly around the plants. Leave about one-inch of space at the top to make room for watering.
Remember that too much love can kill your herbs, so don't overwater them; excess water is harmful to the roots and causes rotting. Fertilize your herbs once a month with an organic fertilizer. Once you start to see new growth, you can begin to use your herbs for cooking.
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Herbs That Grow Well Indoors
- Parsley: Needs at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. If you can't provide enough natural sunlight, grow the plants under fluorescent lights.
- Basil: Requires bright light and warm temperatures.
- Sage: Appreciates a manicure (prune back spindly branches) and drier conditions.
- Chives: Member of the onion family and is best used fresh. Chives like bright, light, and cool temperatures.
- Dill: Choose a dwarf variety. You'll need to make successive plantings to ensure a continuous crop since dill doesn't grow back after harvesting.
- Lemon balm: This is easy to grow from a seed and its fresh fragrance can be enjoyed in salads and drinks.
- Oregano: The soil must need to be loose and well-drained to prevent overwatering. The plant requires partial to full sun light either in a well-lit window seal or under a fluorescent light for at least 6 to 8-plus hours per day.
- Rosemary: Soil needs to be well drained, but don't let it dry out completely.
- Thyme: Many varieties of thyme are available. Very well-drained, or gravel soil is especially important for woolly or creeping thyme. Keep the plants moist by misting until you see new growth.
This article was written by Homes to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.