Tips & Techniques
Betterdays in Full Swing

Create an Indoor Herb Garden for Good Health


By Linda Ly

The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of your favorite herbs in the garden. Fresh herbs add an impressive culinary finish to every meal. To keep herbs thriving even through the cooler days ahead, bring them indoors and grow them on a sunny windowsill – even if they’re not currently part of a container garden.

Growing herbs indoors doesn’t just flavor your cooking, it is also good for your health. Virtually untouched by food scientists, herbs remain close to wild plants. Ounce for ounce, herbs contain more phytonutrients than even well-known “supergreens” like spinach and kale.

If you are ready to start gardening for good health, it’s quick and easy to build your own indoor herb garden. Learn more about:

How to Grow Herbs Indoors

The key to creating an instant inside herb garden is potting up or digging up “plantlets” from divisions of healthy, vigorous plants you already currently have. Instead of leaving them dormant, or losing them altogether when winter weather rolls around, easily turn your flavorful greenery into a window herb garden.

What You’ll Need

steps to planting

Choose strong plants
When exploring your garden for the best herbs to grow indoors, look for a healthy plant with deep, well-established roots. It will be more likely to survive the stress of transplanting with little damage. The best time to divide an herb plant is right after it flowers, in late summer to early fall. The day before you divide it, thoroughly water the plant with a gardening nozzle. This will prevent unnecessary strain on the roots when removing the herb from the ground.

Divide the herb
Gently dig up a small section or “clump” of the plant, taking care to keep as much of the roots intact as possible. Loosen the tangled roots with your fingers and gently, but firmly, lift the new plant from the soil.

If needed, use a pair of pruners to make minimal clean cuts to separate the transplant from the original plant. Shake off as much garden soil as you can so that potential pests don’t hitchhike inside on your new plant.

Fill it up
Scoop potting soil into a pot until it’s about one-third full. Position the plant in the center and then fill the space around it with more soil. When planting herbs, add just enough soil to cover the top of the roots.

Give it a drink
Gently pat down the surface of the potting soil to level it out, then water thoroughly. For the first watering, fill the water collection dish at the bottom of the pot with water so the soil saturates from the bottom up.

Give it love
At first, place your newly potted herb in a shady spot to allow it to recover so its roots can adapt to their new home. Water daily, keeping the soil moist, but not waterlogged. After a week or so, move the pot to a sunny windowsill (southern exposure is best) and water when the first inch of soil feels dry.

Keep a close eye on your herbs to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. Most herbs will begin to die as soon as soil dries. Consistent moisture will keep your indoor herbs healthy and happy.

In addition to moisture, be sure to harvest your plant frequently so it will continue to grow into healthy and tasty herbs. Snipping the ends of the plants on a regular basis will encourage new growth, providing delicious, healthy culinary additions for months to come.

Best Herbs to Grow Indoors

There aren’t a lot of requirements for growing herbs indoors – just consistent watering and a window with bright sunlight. Choose herbs that complement the style of cooking you enjoy the most. For example, basil and oregano are classic Italian and Mediterranean flavors, marjoram and tarragon add a French flair and cilantro and chives are great for Mexican cuisine. The options and combinations are endless…just go with what you love.

plants to grow indoors

Common questions about indoor herbs

Can I grow herbs indoors?

Yes, there are many herbs you can grow indoors. In fact, most (and nearly all of the popular ones), will do just fine in an indoor herbal garden.

What herbs can grow without sunlight?

All plants need sunlight, but there are a handful of herbs that need less than the full sun requirement many others demand. Some herbs that can do with less sun include mint, chives, parsley, cilantro, tarragon and most varieties of thyme.

What herbs grow best together?

Many herbs can grow well together, just be sure to only plant those with like needs together. Herbs that need more water (like mint, chervil, chives and Vietnamese coriander) should not be planted in the same container as ones that prefer less moisture (such as marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano).

With herbs being so easy to grow indoors in container gardens, it makes sense to grow your own window herb garden and take advantage of the tasty benefits. Now that you’ve learned how to grow herbs indoors, you can garden for both joy and good taste – even during the cooler months.

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