Grow Herbs Inside for Fresh Use

There is nothing like fresh herbs in preparing your favorite dishes. Most common herbs can be grown easily in a sunny window. A south-facing window works best, but east or west windows can also be used. I have grown basil, oregano, cilantro, chives, sage, rosemary and several varieties of thyme in pots.

Sometimes you can find herb plants this time of year in local full-service nurseries and garden stores. Sometimes the stems of fresh herbs available in grocery stores can be rooted and planted in pots. They can also be started from seeds available in many local stores with seed racks or ordered on line.

If you can find started plants locally, you can begin snipping leaves from them almost as soon as you buy them. They are typically available in pots ranging from 2 to 4 inches in diameter. If you don’t find them, ask if they can be ordered. They are almost always available by early March.

Fresh herb stems available in grocery stores can often be rooted in water and then potted

into small pots. Simply place the bottom of stems in a glass or jar of water so that the upper stems are above water. Place some clear plastic over the top using a rubber band to hold it in place. Place the jars to one side of a sunny window so they get strong, indirect light. It usually takes a week to 3 weeks for roots to form. When several roots are formed, move them into pots with indoor potting soil mix. Keep them in strong indirect light for about 2 weeks until they start to grow. Then they can be fertilized and moved into direct sunlight.

Herb seeds can be pushed into moist potting soil about ¼ inch deep. I usually plant about 5 seeds to get quicker results. They can be planted in individual pots or I have planted 3 different herbs in one 6 inch pot. I usually place several pots in a tray and place the tray in the warmest location I can find. This could be near a furnace outlet or on top of the refrigerator near the back. Seeds do not need light until they start to sprout. Cover the pots with clear plastic and make sure soil stays moist on top. As soon as seeds sprout (1 to 4 weeks), fertilize them and move them to a sunny window.


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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