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Growing Culinary Herbs at Home

Amber Brandt  |  May 10, 2021

Indoor herb gardens are a perfect way to grow and cook with fresh ingredients even if you live in a small apartment or condo. Many people think you need lots of space and a green thumb to successfully grow a garden – but when it comes to tending herbs, all you need is a small sunny spot and a little attention.
In this post we’ll share some top tips for growing an herb garden at home and finish with a couple of recipes you can make to incorporate the fresh, flavorful ingredients you’ve grown.

  1. Place plants in separate pots if possible. Some plants prefer more water than others, so if you can place plants in separate pots, they’ll be easiest to manage.
  2. Choose the right spot. In order to grow herbs indoors, you’ll need as much natural light as possible – ideally near a south-facing window that receives about six hours of sunlight each day. Some herbs like mint, parsley, or thyme require less light and can still do well in a westerly window. If light is a huge challenge, you can also use a grow light to mimic the sun.
  3. Ensure your containers have good drainage. Nothing will kill a plant faster than poor drainage. When roots sit in water they quickly begin to rot. Place a saucer or drain pan below your plant pot to catch water. Plastic, rubber, or metal work best.
  4. Don’t worry about indoor temperatures too much. Plants can grow inside any time of year as long as it’s warm enough. Just like people, they’re pretty comfortable around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. (The only plant that is really uncomfortable with cooler nights is basil.)
  5. Water appropriately. Most people are surprised by how little water it takes for plants to thrive. You want to keep the water consistently moist but not soppy. If leaves yellow or wilt, scale back.
  6. Harvest smartly. Once your herbs begin to mature, you can begin to harvest a few sprigs with kitchen shears or by simply pinching off a few leaves with your fingers. By regularly trimming your plant you’ll actually encourage it to grow more, but don’t remove more than a quarter of the plant at a time or you’ll send it into distress.

Which herbs make the best houseplants?
Most herbs can be grown at home, but some are definitely lower maintenance than others.

  • If you’re starting with young plants you can buy at a garden center or grocery store, rosemary, oregano, thyme, chives, and mint are the easiest.
  • You can also start new plants from cuttings. Oregano and mint can be placed in a glass of water to root and then be transferred to soil.
  • Some herbs such as basil and cilantro are best when started from a seed.

Plants thriving? Try your hand at these delicious recipes:
Traditional spaghetti sauce with fresh basil
Refreshing mint tea
Thyme, oregano, and citrus chicken
Rosemary roasted potatoes
Strawberry basil lemonade
Cilantro lime rice