Tips on Growing Herbs Inside for the Winter

Jan 13, 2015

By Kelly Allsup

For most gardeners, growing does not cease during the cold months of winter, but it causes them to move their growing operation indoors. Many choose to grow herbs indoors, keeping the house alive with greenery and ensuring a supply of fresh garden herbs in their home-cooked meals. Here are a few tips for creating an indoor herb project:

First, provide enough sunlight and humidity. The sunniest window in your home is the one with a southern or western exposure. However, like greenhouses in the winter, supplemental light can help keep plants healthy. A few well-placed fluorescent lights on for 12 hours can be the difference between herbs actively growing.

Plants inside during the winter months need more watering than in the summer. The heaters in our homes remove humidity, which dries out the soil. Grouping plants together, misting them daily or placing a humidifier next to them can give them needed moisture.

Start off with several small 4- to 6-inch pots with good drainage holes and high-quality soil mix. If using large shallow round containers, use two or three herbs, creating a garden-like setting.

Either start with seeds or buy transplants from garden centers. After the holidays, 4-inch and 6-inch rosemary plants will be in abundance. Use your leftover garden seed to grow herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, sweet marjoram, cilantro and chives. Use your finger to divot three holes shaped like a triangle and place two to three seeds per hole. For chives, spread the seed thickly over the top of the soil and cover with a layer of soil so that seed sprouts will form a thicket. Parsley may be the slowest to germinate.

Cover the seeds with plastic and newspaper. The plastic prevents the seeds from drying out and the newspapers keep them warm. Once sprouts are seen, in as little as a few days, remove plastic. After seed sprouts have developed, delicately reposition sprouts just a bit deeper in the soil so that it stands on its own and remove all but one sprout seedling from each hole. Watering will be minimal until sufficient root growth occurs. A 100 to 200 parts per million of fertilizer can be used once sufficient growth occurs, maybe three to four weeks after seeding. If leaves start to yellow, this can be a sign of not enough light, poor soil or a need for a fertilizer treatment.

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