Between the convenience of having flavourful herbs on hand whenever you need, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you grew them yourself, there are lots of reasons to consider starting an indoor herb garden. Imagine seasoning your fresh tomato sauce with a few leaves of freshly picked basil, sprinkling a pinch of cilantro in your homemade guacamole, or tossing a sprig of rosemary on your roasted vegetables. As idyllic as it sounds, though, these little herbs pose big challenges for the aspiring indoor gardener. Most require at least six to eight hours of bright light each day and enough water to thrive – but not so much water that their roots will rot.
Here’s a list of great herbs that you can grow right in your home!
Grow lemon balm plants for a single year for best flavor. Plant it indoors in the fall, grow indoors through winter, then you can plant it outside for spring and summer.
Chives grow almost anywhere. Harvest them at the base (like cutting grass), no more than one third of the bunch at a time.
Growing mint indoors may be the best plan for most of us. Containerizing mint keeps it from growing all over the yard and garden. All varieties are suitable for indoors.
If you choose to start parsley from seed, soak it in warm water to crack the seed coat before sowing it.
Use the smaller globe types of basil for indoor growing. Many of the larger types are too large and will cause space problems.
Also known as bay leaf. This shrub can get quite large if left unpruned. It works well indoors through the cold months, but performs best if kept outdoors in warm weather.
Cilantro is short-lived by its nature. Start a succession of seedlings at two or three week intervals to keep a supply going all the time.
Thyme is adaptable to pots as small as four to six inches. Simply repot it from a nursery plant, or divide a larger plant that has grown outdoors. Like rosemary and sage, it is easy to propagate from cuttings as well.
Lemongrass can be grown from seed, purchased as a starter plant, or propagated in water from the fresh herb in the grocery store.
Oregano is easy to propagate from cuttings or by division. Take a few cuttings at the end of summer and root out in a cup of water. Fresh oregano is much milder than dried. Use it at the end of the cooking process so that its flavor is not lost.
Take cuttings of outdoor rosemary at the end of summer to grow indoors through winter. Start with a four inch cutting from a branch tip, strip the lower foliage and stick it into potting soil. Cover with plastic to retain humidity as it roots.
Buy a starter plant or start it from cuttings off an established plant. Simply snip off the growing tips from a plant outdoors and stick them in a pot with good potting soil. Keep the cutting moist and it will root in a few weeks.
Kaffir lime is another woody plant used for its foliage. As with bay laurel, give it outdoor time in the summer if possible.