Grow Herbs Indoors
With the right plants and conditions, you can plant and enjoy fresh herbs in winter
Nothing beats fresh herbs to improve and enhance your cooking. With the right selection and conditions, it's possible to grow herbs right in your home, even in the dead of winter. Transplant herbs from your garden, buy young Bonnie Plants®, or start from scratch with seeds to create your potted herb garden.
Grow Your Herbs on The Sunny Side
Indoor herbs need as much sun as they can get, so be sure to place them in a sunny spot, preferably in a south-facing window. (Windows facing east or west should also work, but north-facing windows won't get enough light.) You can also choose to supplement the sun with a grow lamp that can shine on your herbs for up to 12 hours a day. Find grow lamps at your local garden center or online.
Plant Your Herbs in Quality Soil
Your herbs will need ample nutrients, oxygen and moisture at the root level. Always use a quality potting mix, such as Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix, that will allow for proper airflow and drainage so your herbs can root deeply and thrive.
Or, Grow Your Herbs Hydroponically
Another great way to grow herbs indoors is to grow them using hydroponics. Growing plants hydroponically means growing without soil, either directly in water or with a soil-less media like coir (coconut fiber), perlite, or clay pebbles. So, when you add nutrients to the water, they go straight to the plant's roots for faster growth and bigger harvests compared with traditional gardening. One easy-to-use, great looking unit to try is the water-based Miracle-Gro® Twelve™ Indoor Growing System. Designed to double as a sleek, attractive end table, it makes indoor growing delightfully fun and easy. The plants grow on the bottom level with help from an LED grow light, while the top part serves as the table—now that's what we call functional furniture!
Grow Your Herbs from Young Plants
Eager to start using your own homegrown herbs? When you plant strong, vigorous young herbs like those from Bonnie Plants®, you get a jump-start on growing because the plants are already well on their way to maturity. In fact, you can begin harvesting immediately! (Just be sure to never trim more than 1/3 of the plant when clipping herbs.) Plant your new herbs container-deep and water thoroughly.
Grow Your Herbs from Seeds
If growing from seed, look for newer varieties that are dense and compact, since they are likely to grow better in containers. Plant seeds in a seed starting mix, such as Miracle-Gro® Seed Starting Potting Mix. Plant most herb seeds no deeper than an inch, or simply sprinkle them on top of the soil and cover loosely. Cover the container with a plastic dome or bag, and place in a warm spot—out of direct sunlight—until the seeds germinate. Once your seeds have started to germinate, remove the plastic cover and move to a sunny location.
Grow Transplanted Herbs
Herbs taken straight from an outdoor sunny spot to an indoor spot can go into a sort of light-deprivation shock. Help herbs adjust by gradually acclimating them to lower light levels. Move them from full sun to a spot that receives partial sun for two weeks, then to deeper shade for another one to two weeks before moving them indoors.
Water and Feed Your Herbs
Avoid over-watering your herbs. Let the potting mix dry down between waterings. Stick your finger in the potting mix up to your knuckle. If it's dry, it's time to water. Water thoroughly, until you see pooling near the container holes. Apply the water to the base of the plant, and try to keep water off the leaves. To promote a long growing-period, feed your herbs every two weeks with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition.
Maintain and Enjoy Your Herbs
Frequent, light pruning of the plants in your potted herb garden not only means that you get to enjoy them in your cooking but also helps keep your plants compact and growing new leaves. Pruning will prevent your plants from growing too tall, and harvesting often helps extend the growing period of your herbs so you can get the most out of them. Keep an eye out for flowers, and pinch them off just below the bud as soon as you see them appear.