Herbs are not commonly used as a houseplant but why couldn’t they be? Not only are the beautiful, they are functional!
Types of Herbs:
Most herbs need full sun or as much sunlight as you can provide, for the best results. Herbs like mint, parsley and cilantro can tolerate less light. If you are noticing your herbs becoming leggy that is sign they may not be getting enough light.
Herbs need to be kept consistently moist. You don't want to let these completely dry out in-between watering otherwise you will have wilted herbs that aren't edible.
That being said, herbs (typically called Mediterranean herbs) like rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme can tolerate less moisture while mint, basil and parsley need to be consistently moist.
If you are growing indoors, you may be watering every couple days (depending on the type of container and sunlight) but if you are growing outdoors you will probably need to be watering daily. Outdoors it is warmer, and usually the sun is much more intense, than sitting in any window indoors. It is best to water in the morning so the moisture has the sunlight to evaporate off the foliage. If you water at night, you may run the risk of mold on your leaves. For outdoor herbs, I would recommend using a bit of mulch on the top of your soil to hold moisture better.
As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over-fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I plan to use the same fertilizer I currently use for my houseplants; Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer. You are able to use many types of fertilizers or you can use organic matter or compost as a slow release fertilizer as well. I will be fertilizing probably every week at about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under-fertilize than over-fertilize my plants.
There are MANY ways to fertilize and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to herbs.
NOTE: Basil does NOT tolerate the cold.
I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for Herbs...
"How do you even grow herbs in your house? What's the best environment for someone in WI?"
I think providing enough light and giving the plants enough moisture is key honestly. I think the home temperatures in the off season and at night could be the biggest difference in a state like WI but most herbs don't mind cooler nights (except for basil). This also depends on your herbs location and how cool you keep your home.
"What herbs can I grow in a not-so-sunny kitchen?"
Herbs like mint, parsley and cilantro can tolerate less light.
"Which herbs go 'together' from a light standpoint?"
All herbs seem to benefit from as much light as possible. If you are needing to group herbs in less light, mint, parsley and cilantro are your best bets for keeping together.
"Best time to start herb seeds indoors?"
Best time to start (according to University of Illinois) is March!
"Can I grow it in California?"
Yes! There is absolutely no reason why you can't grow them in California! Here is a PDF University of California Berkley put together talking about growing some herbs.
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Always written with extreme plant passion!
Love, Holly (Owner & Creator of Houseplant Homebody LLC)