- Make sure you have a sunny windowsill, where your herbs will survive. A south or southeast window would be perfect if it gets at least 5 hours of sun per day and is away from drafts.
- Purchase some of your favorite small herb plants or seed packets, from your local nursery. Seeds are a less expensive alternative, but they'll require more attention and it will be several months before you can start using them.
- If you are starting with plants, get a container that is at least 6-12 inches deep. You can plant multiple herbs in a wide or long container or use at least a 6" pot for individual plants.
Seeds won't require a large pot. You can start them in any small container and move them into their final pot, when they are 2 - 4 inches tall.
- Use a soilless potting mix to avoid soil born diseases. Be sure the mix is light and will be well draining. Don't try to use soil from the garden. Regular soil compresses over time, making it difficult for water to pass through.
- For herb plants, start by putting a 2-3 inch layer of potting mix into the bottom of your container.
- Position your herb plants in the container.
- Finish filling in with the potting mix, firming gently around the plants. Leave about an inch at the top of the container for watering.
- To start herb seeds, fill each container with dampened potting mix, to about 1 inch from the rim. Sprinkle 3 - 5 seeds on top of the soil. Cover the seeds with a dusting of potting mix and pat down gently. Cover with a plastic bag, to retain moisture.
For more detailed instructions, here's a step-by-step guide for starting seeds
- Keep the seeded soil moist, until you see the seedlings poking through. At that point, remove the plastic and continue watering whenever the soil feels dry.
- Water herb plants sparingly. Herbs don't like to sit in wet soil.
- Feed your herbs once a month with a fertilizer labeled for use on edibles.
- Allow the plants some time to acclimate to their new home. Once you start seeing new growth, you can start using your herbs.
With most herbs, you can snip 2 - 3 inches of the tips off, to encourage more branching. For bushy herbs, like parsley and cilantro, you can cut entire stems from the outside of the plants. New growth will fill in.
- Choose herbs that don't grow too wide or tall. Chives, basil, lavender, parsley, mint, rosemary and thyme are good choices.
- Fluorescent lights can be used if you don't have a sunny window. They will need to be placed close to the plants (18") and kept on for about 10 hours/day.
- Snip and use your plants often to encourage them to grow full and bushy.
- Never trim more than 1/3 of the plants foliage.
What You Need
- Herb Plants or Seeds
- Pots or containers
- Soilless Potting Mix