It is a lovely sight to see greenery indoors. The rigid forms of our tables, chairs, couches and doors demand that we add living, breathing forms to our household. Every now and then, we need to be reminded that the home is still part of an ecosystem and we naturally want to breathe the fresh airs of the outside, to take in invigorating scent of the garden in our living spaces.
We can choose from a wide range of indoor plants to place along the corners of our household, but why not opt for something small, fresh, fragrant and practical? Herbs are not only lovely as a garden row, they can literally spice up the sights, smells and taste of our kitchen, among others.
Do take note: when choosing herbs for indoor growth, it is best to get plants that haven’t already been growing outside. The shock of bringing them indoors can cause trauma and adversely affect growth and production. Always use a high-quality organic potting soil that contains vermiculite or perlite for adequate drainage. Avoid using soil from the outside, as it contains organisms that are controlled by the outdoor environment. Remember that winter is a natural resting phase for plants, so it’s unrealistic to expect abundant growth. Clipping them regularly will promote further growth so clip away or harvest regularly.
That being said, here are several herbs that will grow indoors:
Parsley is one of the most commonly used herbs and is very easy to grow, though the seeds can be difficult to germinate and may take up to two weeks to see results. The good news is it doesn’t require much light or maintenance once you get it started. Keep in mind, though, that this plant is a fairly slow grower, so initial clippings will not harvest a lot.
The Greek variety of oregano is easiest to grow; however all oregano requires six to eight hours of sunlight per day, so a well-lit window—particularly one with southwestern sun exposure—is best.
These are one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors, as they do not require much light and are prolific in their production. Chives are easiest to start from an already-established plant. Just pull up a bunch from the established plant (including the roots), place it in a small pot half-full of potting soil, then cover the roots up to the crowns with more potting soil. Cut about one-third of growth off the top to stimulate new growth.
In contrast to growing basil outdoors, you will need to pay careful attention to providing proper levels of light, hydration and nourishment for the plant. If you are growing basil indoors then you are going to be using a pot or other container, which can make maintaining proper moisture levels a challenge. Basil thrives in soil that drains well, so you will want to use soil that prevents standing water. So, rather than using soil from your garden in your pots, it may be better to buy a coarse-textured growing mix at the store. If you use soil that is too heavy or dense, you run the risk of having poor drainage. Contrary to popular belief, lining the bottom of your pot with gravel or rocks will not improve drainage but it will certainly inhibit plant growth.
Both spearmint and peppermint literally grow like weeds. They’re both very hearty and very invasive, meaning that they can quickly choke out other herbs. Keep in mind that a lot of spearmint is required to produce the same minty effect as peppermint, so if you’re growing it indoors, where space is limited and harvesting is frequent, peppermint is the better option. Start your peppermint plant with seeds—not root or leaf cuttings—in a small pot full of potting soil. Peppermint will thrive in shade, but make sure it’s in a spot where it gets at least a little bit of light each day.
This herb is very easily over-watered. It prefers to remain on the dry side and does not need particularly rich soil. Several varieties are available; some are bush-like and some are more of a creeping plant. Choose an upright variety like Tuscan Blue or Blue Spire. These will remain more compact, making them a better choice for indoor growing.
This is another herb that requires six to eight hours of sunlight per day, and it may even need supplemental light. Lemon thyme can be used in place of regular thyme and has a unique citrus-like flavor and isn’t nearly as easy to find as other varieties in stores.