Posted by Brent Wilson on 9/22/2016 to Container Gardening
Herbs can be grown indoors year around in pots on sunny windowsills and in sunrooms. Herbs that are growing outdoors in containers can be easily moved indoors for the winter. Before doing so, the plants should be acclimatized in early fall. It's best to gradually move them indoors a few hours at a time over the period of several days so they can adjust to the differences in temperature and light. no, that doesn't mean you have to stay up half the night to move them in and out. Just do it several times during the day.
Herbs growing indoors should be treated differently than those out-of-doors. When growing herbs indoors, plant them in a light, well-drained premium potting mix. Potting mixes that contain fertilizer are not recommended as herbs are very light feeders.
Planting Herbs In Containers
Follow these instructions for planting herbs in pots or other containers.
Place a 1 to 2" layer of gravel in bottom of pot for improved drainage. Make sure the pot you're planting in has a drain hole in the bottom. Since the pots will be sitting on windowsills or tables, to prevent water spillage on your indoor surfaces, it's a good idea to use saucers beneath your pots.
Use a high-quality, lightweight, premium potting mix (not potting soil) to fill your container to a level that will allow your plant to sit with the top edge of its root ball approximately 1/2 to 1" below top rim of the container. If you're planting from seed, follow instructions on the seed package.
Carefully remove the herb plant from its pot. If the root ball is stuck cut the container away. Gently brush or scratch root ball to loosen some feeder roots.
Set plant in container and make necessary adjustments to insure that the top edge of the root ball will sit 1/2 to 1" below the rim of the container. Backfill with potting mix around rootball, tamping as you go, until the the level of potting mix is even with the top edge of root ball. Water thoroughly and add more potting mix if settling occurs.
Apply a 1/2" layer of wood chips or sphagnum moss to soil surface - maybe stone chips or gravel if planting succulent-type plants.
One of the biggest problems growing herbs indoors is providing sufficient light to keep the plants from getting spindly. Grow them in the sunniest location you have or under fluorescent lights.
Fertilize container plants at time of planting with a slow-release, season-long plant food, or once a month with a light solution of water soluble fertilizer.
Most herb plants do not like constantly soggy or wet soil. So make sure to avoid overwatering them. Since herb plants growing indoors will not be using as much water, water only when the top inch or two of soil becomes dry, or if you notice leaves or stems starting to wilt. When watering, apply enough water so that some drains out the bottom of the pot.
Check plants frequently for aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies which are common pests on herbs grown indoors. Pick the insects off, or spray plants with a mild solution of insecticidal soap.
Best Indoor Herbs
Below is a list of herbs that grow well indoors and tips for where to grow them.
Easiest Herbs to Grow Indoors
Basil: Place the pots in a south-facing window—it likes lots of sun and warmth.
Bay: Place the pot in an east, or west, facing window, but be sure it does not get crowded. Bay needs air circulation to remain healthy.
Chervil: Grows well in low light but needs 65 to 70 degrees F temperatures to thrive.
Chives: Dig up a clump from your garden at the end of the growing season and pot it up. Leave the pot outside until the leaves die back. In early winter, move the pot to your coolest indoor spot (such as a basement) for a few days, then finally to your brightest window.
Kaffir Lime Tree: Kaffir lime leaves are often used in Thai cooking. Be sure you give this plant special citrus food.
Lemongrass: Place in a south facing window. You don't have to have soil to grow this one.
Parsley: Parsley likes full sun, but will grow slowly in an east, or west, facing window.
Peppermint: Place the pot in an east facing window.
Tarragon: A dormant period in late fall or early winter is essential for tarragon to grow indoors. Pot up a mature plant from your outdoor garden and leave it outside until the leaves die back. Bring it to your coolest indoor spot for a few days, then place it in a south-facing window for as much sun as possible.
Vietnamese Coriander: Almost identical in taste to cilantro.
A Little Harder to Grow Indoors
Oregano: Place the pot in a south-facing window.
Rosemary: Start with a cutting of rosemary, and keep it in moist soilless mix until it roots. It grows best in a south-facing window.
Thyme: Thyme likes full sun but will grow in an east, or west, facing window.
Difficult, But Worth a Try
Basil: Place the pots in a south-facing window - it likes lots of sun and warmth.
Cilantro: Cilantro is the name for the stems and leaves of the coriander plant. It often bolts, meaning it starts growing flowers and seeds instead of leaves.
Sage: It tolerates dry, indoor air well, but it needs the strong sun it will get in a south-facing window.