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woman watering her herb garden in a kitchen

How To Create An Indoor Herb Garden

Morgan McBride5-Minute Read
July 06, 2020

So you want to start an indoor herb garden. There are many benefits to keeping houseplants in your home. Houseplants are beautiful and add interesting texture to any room. They can also help purify the air inside your home.

Indoor herb plants provide even more benefits than ordinary houseplants. An indoor herb garden can be a relatively low-maintenance option for adding greenery into your home. Plus, herbs create delicious, edible leaves that you can use in cooking and inside your home.

If you’re thinking about adding plants to your home, creating an indoor herb garden is a beginner-friendly and inexpensive place to start.

How To Choose The Right Herbs For Your Garden

There are several things you should think about when choosing which herbs to add to your garden. First of all, consider the conditions within your home. Does your home get a lot of natural light? Do you like to keep the temperature warmer or cooler? Make sure to select plants that thrive in your home’s conditions. For example, if you have only a small sunny windowsill, don’t select a large plant that needs full sun.

Second, keep in mind what herbs you like to cook with or use for other purposes. If you absolutely hate cilantro, planting it is probably not the right choice for you, even if your home is perfect for it. If you aren’t sure which herbs to choose, some of the most popular herbs to cook with are basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, chives, thyme and mint. As a general rule of thumb, herb plants with smaller leaves grow better indoors than plants with large leaves.

If you have pets or children, research any potential plants thoroughly to be sure they are safe and nontoxic. Most herbs, if intended to be cooked with or eaten, are safe. However, you can never be too careful when it comes to your family’s health, so be sure to take the time to look up each plant.

Indoor Herb Garden Ideas

You have many choices when it comes to deciding on the perfect spot for your new indoor herb garden. But remember to stay open to the idea of moving your plants to a new spot if they begin to droop, appear burned or don’t grow well. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the perfect conditions. Take note of what herbs and plants do well and where to have the best garden results possible.

Designate A Sunny Windowsill

Choosing an indoor windowsill as the location for your herb garden can be a good choice. In all likelihood, a windowsill is the sunniest spot in your home. However, there are a few risks with placing plants in the window.

If you have big temperature swings, such as from day to night, your plants could be shocked from the change in temperature through the window glass. Also, if your window is too sunny for too long, delicate plant leaves might get burned and turn brown. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how your herbs will react beforehand – you might just have to test out the location and see how it goes.

Of course, windowsills will limit you to plants and planters small enough to fit on the ledge, so they are definitely not good spots for large plants. Plus, if you have kids or curious pets, you can only use windowsills that are up high. However, if you are just getting started, small plants are a great budget-friendly way to dip your toe into an indoor herb garden!

Use Your Walls

If you don’t have ample counter space or a free windowsill, try using a shelving unit or wall-mounted planter. There are tons of options – even ones that will align with your home decor style.

Wall planters are a great way to add texture and interest to a blank wall. However, you have to be sure that they get sufficient light. You should also be careful not to overwater wall planters and send water dripping down your drywall. Depending on the plant in the planter, it’s usually better to water wall-mounted plants with less water but more frequently rather than to completely douse them every so often.

Try Hanging Planters

Hanging planters – whether they’re pots suspended in the air or tiered shelves hung from the ceiling – can be an effective space-saving and aesthetically pleasing way of showcasing your indoor herb garden. They add vertical height and a lot of interest to any space. Hanging planters can be filled with soil or made to look more like a basket with a coconut liner. They look especially good with plants cascading over the sides.

DIY Your Own Planters

If you want to have an indoor herb garden but don’t want it to look like a garden, think outside of the box with DIY planters. For example, recycled jars make interesting planters that look anything but basic – and using recycled materials is extra environmentally friendly. Display test tube planters on a wall hanging for a modern look. Or, comb through thrift store finds for ceramic cookware like pitchers or teacups that don’t look like traditional pots. These ideas will give your herb garden a totally unique look.

How To Properly Take Care Of Your Herbs

Here are some simple tips for things you can do to keep your indoor herb garden happy and healthy.

Plant Seeds Or Starter Plants

Think strategically about if you want to start your garden with seeds or with plants that are already grown. Starter plants are more expensive than seeds, but they have the benefit of already being established. If you’re a first-time plant owner, it’s much easier to start with a plant and work your way up to seeds.

Choose Containers Strategically

It’s very important to choose appropriate planters and pots for your herbs. Planters might be plastic, metal, ceramic or even glass. Regardless of their material, every planter needs proper drainage. Sometimes, you can get away with a layer of pebbles in the bottom of your planter with soil on top. However, the best way to avoid soggy roots is to drill a drainage hole in the bottom of any plant container. Just make sure there’s something appropriate for the water to drain into.

Planters should also be sized appropriately. You want a plant to fill the container but still have room to grow and not have their roots constricted. If a pot is too large, you can consider combining multiple plants in it to fill it out properly.

Provide Sufficient Lighting

One of the factors that will have the biggest impact on the success of your indoor herb garden is lighting. Try as you might, plants will not succeed without sufficient light. Signs that your herbs aren’t getting enough light include if they bend or curve towards the light, drop leaves or become faint green or yellow in color. Make sure your herbs are getting enough direct sunlight. If there isn’t a lot of natural light in your home, a grow light can be a suitable alternative.

Water And Feed Your Herbs Carefully

Plants need water and food just like people and animals do. A balance should be struck between overwatering and underwatering your herbs. Underwatered herbs will become dry and crispy. Overwatered herbs will get soggy roots and can end up moldy or dying of root rot. The best way to keep plants watered is to ensure you have proper drainage and water thoroughly when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch.

You might not think about feeding your plants, but they do need proper nutrition in addition to proper watering. Choosing high-quality potting soil mix will give your plants the best chance at proper nutrition from the start. Adding indoor-specific fertilizer can also help to ensure your herbs stay healthy and plentiful.

The Bottom Line

Indoor herb gardens are a great option for people who want to enjoy live plants and delicious herbs on a smaller, simpler scale. Put a little time into planning your herb garden and you will be very happy with the results. Show off your new garden to friends and family at your next dinner party by picking herbs fresh for your recipes. Be sure to check out more Homeowner Tips on the Rocket HomesSM blog.

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Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at CharlestonCrafted.com alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.