Starting an indoor herb garden is a great way to grow food and cut down on waste. You also eliminate plastic from store-bought herbs.

How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Starting an indoor herb garden is a great way to grow food and cut down on waste. You also eliminate plastic from store-bought herbs.

For those who prepare a lot of home-cooked meals, having an herb garden at your disposal is a wonderful advantage. I started growing herbs a couple of years ago when we built our entire backyard garden.

Over the years, there have been a few mishaps. We’ve lost some plants completely and learned what works best in our area when it comes to growing herbs.

Since each agricultural zone is different, and the weather can vary from place to place, I’ve found it easiest to keep my herbs indoors. We learned the hard way that the Texas summer sun is just too much for herbs and it killed all of them.

Updated On: April 29, 2021

Originally Published On: January 10, 2019

Updated On: August 18, 2021

Pick a Location for your Indoor Herb Garden

When growing herbs indoors, there are a few things you need to consider. The first, and probably most important, is the location. Where are you going to keep the herbs?

Sunlight

One of the hardest parts of growing any plants indoors, including herbs, is finding a location that gets a good amount of sunlight. Generally, if you are in the Northern hemisphere, you are going to have the most amount of sunlight from a window that faces South.

Many herbs prefer full sunshine, meaning they can be in the sun for 8+ hours per day. But, there are a few that don’t need as much sun. Take into consideration what you want to grow when you are choosing a window.

If you don’t have any good windows with enough sunlight, then consider a sun lamp. They are perfect for replicating the sun’s rays to give your plants the nutrients they need to grow.

Herbs in a terracotta pot near a window

Kids/Pets

Another consideration when choosing your perfect location is any kids and/or pets that may want to touch (or eat) the herbs as they grow. My boys are old enough now to know not to touch the plants. But when we have friends over with younger children I move the plants up to a higher shelf.

We also have checked each of the plants to make sure they are safe if ingested by a cat. Our cat doesn’t eat the plants very often, but she has made herself sick chewing on one of my aloe plants so I had to move it.

Make sure your plants are out of reach of children and pets that may interfere.

Grey cat in the middle of indoor plants

Ease of Access

Remember, the goal of the herb garden is to be able to use it when you are cooking. If it isn’t easy to get to, or anywhere near the kitchen, then you may not remember it’s there. Instead of buying dried herbs in plastic containers, you can grow your own to use fresh in recipes as long as you can easily access the plants.

Also, you will need to water the herbs at least once per week, sometimes more. Don’t place them somewhere that’s inconvenient to get water to or they won’t grow. I have a reminder that goes off every Thursday to water my indoor plants. They are all in a place that I can easily reach.

Choose a Container for your Herbs

Once you know where to place the herb garden in your home, you need a container. This will vary greatly depending on a few different factors. Obviously, you want to make sure that the containers will fit in your chosen location.

Is it too big? Too small? Will it hold all of the herbs you want to grow? Is it easy to move if needed?

I use old glass spaghetti sauce jars for my herb garden. I cleaned them out, took off the label, and covered them in burlap to match in my living room. Then I filled them with potting soil and the seeds of the herbs I wanted to grow. Last, I made a small label for each to know what they are.

The jars fit very well on my windowsill, but they aren’t easy to move. Since they are individual, I have to move each one if needed. Our plan is to build a small wooden box that will hold all of the jars.

Only Grow what you Use

I feel like this is obvious, but should be stated. If you don’t use cilantro in your cooking, don’t worry about growing any! If basil is your go-to herb, consider planting it in multiple jars.

Wrapping back around to the idea of a No Waste Kitchen, only grow what you will use. Having a gorgeous jar of dill may look nice, but if you aren’t using it then that will eventually be wasted. While it can be composted, it takes more effort on your part for something you won’t use.

Woman's hand using a chef knife to cut fresh herbs

Make a List

When you decide you want your own herb garden, plan it out for a few weeks. Make yourself a list of each herb you think you would use. Then, every time you add it to a recipe, mark it on your list. See which ones are your most used. You may be surprised that some you thought you would use don’t make the cut.

Indoor herb garden in wooden containers

Build or Buy

Once you know what you want to grow, where it will go, and what type of container you’ll use, it’s time to put your herb garden together. I always try to reuse old items (such as glass jars) for projects when possible. If you have the materials at home, it’s better to use them to create your herb garden if possible.

Note: If you do a search on Google for homemade herb garden you will find a lot of wonderful ideas!

If you can’t make one at home, try shopping thrift stores first. You’d be surprised at how many glass jars and small containers you can find there. You may find just the perfect container.

As a last resort, buy something new for your herbs. This may be your only option if you need a specific container, or want a full setup that’s ready to go.

Variety of containers for an indoor herb garden

Purchase Starter Plants or Seeds

Whether you choose starter plants or seeds will greatly depend on how soon you want to use the fresh herbs. When you buy a starter plant, it’s already established and growing. You will just need to transplant it to your containers. Just beware that many plants die off after being transplanted but will come back in a few weeks.

Buying seeds will take longer to grow the plants, but they are usually more cost-effective. Seeds are also a good choice if you have jars with a small opening since you won’t need to fit the plant in there after it already has roots growing.

Water the Plants in your Indoor Herb Garden

When your herbs are first planted, make sure to give them a little bit of water each day. The best way to do this is with a misting spray bottle. It doesn’t drown the seeds and small plants but allows them to get ample water.

Once the herbs sprout, you can usually back off to watering only once or twice per week. Of course, each plant has different requirements, so make sure you follow the instructions on your seed packet or starter plant.

Your Turn

Do you have an herb garden at your house?

Where is it located? In a window? Outside? In the kitchen?

What herbs do you tend to cook with the most?

19 thoughts on “How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden”

  1. Great tips! We used to have 2-3 pots at our old home. We haven’t tried at our new home yet. Can’t decide where the perfect spot is.

  2. I always advocate having a home garden to plant some organic veggies of your own. The idea of an indoor herb garden is also great! They’re both handy and healthy. Fresh herbs have a special aroma and taste!

    1. We have a few garden beds in the backyard, but the harsh South Texas heat doesn’t give us a long growing season. That’s why the herbs do better indoors here.

  3. Over the past few weeks, I’ve started research into plants and small gardens that can be done at home. While I’m certainly not a person who has a green thumb, my son has become fascinated with plants since spending the summer with his grandmother. The concept of an indoor herb garden is interesting because we do reside in a high-rise apartment in a city where a more conventional backyard garden might draw the attention of food thieves. I think the tips shared in this post are beneficial and they are certainly something I’ll take into account when I get started with this venture.

    1. It sounds like an indoor one would be perfect for you then! I love that your son is getting into it. How awesome that he can have something to do with you, he can learn about plants, and also be proud of eating the food that he grows.

  4. Gorgeous images. I have had very infrequent look with growing an indoor herb garden, but I really want to try, hence finding your post has been really useful. I find that I don’t have anywhere to really keep the garden where they will get the right light – our kitchen lighting is a little weird. I love having fresh herbs on hand though and I’m going to try with your tips so thank you!

  5. MELANIE EDJOURIAN

    This is something I really want to do. I really love the idea of growing herbs I can use for cooking in the home.

  6. Perfect idea for winter. I’m going to miss my herbs this year and I’m trying to try what I have left but nothing beats fresh herbs.

  7. I want to make up a herb garden but we have kittens so I’m not sure how they’d cope with it, maybe when they’re a bit older x

  8. I have always wanted to start an indoor garden. I definitely am going to use these tips to start my own for sure.

  9. MySon and his wife grow their own herbs. Now my granddaughter, their daughter, has gotten into taking care of/watering them as they grow too.

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