Gardening: Everything You Need to Know About Growing Herbs Indoors
Growing herbs indoors can produce luscious healthy plants with a little planning. Simply put, it all comes down to sufficient light and some other simple steps. I’ll try to cover all steps for indoor growing.
HERBS THAT GROW EASILY INDOORS – A PARTIAL LIST
GROWING HERBS INDOORS USING NATURAL LIGHT
Natural sunlight streaming in through a window usually gives the best results. Plants growing this way will need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Morning and early afternoon sun are best so plants will not be sunburned by the hot afternoon sun.
If plants do not get enough sunlight, they will start to look spindly or leggy as some describe it.
If you have some way to regulate the light, utilize it. Here, I have the shutters wide open to receive the morning light.
Here I have the shutters partially closed so the plants do not cook in the hot afternoon sun.
GROWING HERBS INDOORS USING FLUORESCENT LIGHT
Yes, you can grow herbs indoors without investing in grow lights.
This is a picture of an under-the-cupboard 18” fluorescent light. It is 23” from the countertop. Because of this distance, plants placed under it would not receive enough light to grow well. By placing the chives up on a bowl and bringing the plant closer to the light, the chives grow full. Here the chives are before their “haircut”.
Here’s the chives after being snipped.
As you can see, they are very green which is an indicator they are receiving plenty of light. If using this type of light, your plants need to be kept no less than 18” away from the light source and the light needs to be kept on at least 10 hours each day.
GROWING HERBS INDOORS USING GROW LIGHTS
If you wish to switch out your regular fluorescent bulb with a grow bulb, you will find you have many choices. These bulbs are sold as T5, T8 and T12. The T5 is the one most recommended for growing herbs indoors as it is most efficient. They are not expensive and these LED lights will give you good results. You can replace your regular bulb with the T5. I am not covering how to grow herbs using a grow light fixture and housing, as that is something that can be cost prohibitive. The methods listed here are for those who want to grow herbs indoors and not have to heavily invest in such materials.
MISCELLANEOUS TIPS FOR GROWING HERBS INDOORS
- Herbs have a more concentrated flavor if grown without a lot of fertilizer. If you do fertilize your herbs, dilute the fertilizer to half strength.
- If the leaves on our herbs start to turn yellow, they are getting too much water.
- Water the herbs at the base of the plant, do not water the leaves.
- Allow the herbs to dry out between watering. Check your herbs and see which ones do best a bit drier or not.
- Plant herbs in pots that are at least 6” deep.
- Make sure the pots have adequate drainage holes.
- Do not plant more than one plant in a pot.
- If your pots will sit directly on a saucer, make sure you put a barrier between the pot and the base such as some clean pebbles so the pot never sits directly on water.
- If the leaves on your herbs start to have brown edges, they are getting sunburned and are too close to a light source or are getting too hot from the sunlight coming through a window.
- Turn pots occasionally, as you will notice plants will start to turn toward the light source. By turning them, you will maintain an upright plant.
- Herbs that have been growing outdoors then moved indoors do not have a high success rate in adapting to their new environment. It is best to purchase herbs that have been grown indoors so they do not become stressed.
Take a few minutes each day, check your herbs for light, water, turn them as needed and they will provide healthy herbs for you with little financial output!