Herbs can also be grown indoors for year-round enjoyment.
Growing herbs indoors is no more difficult than growing them in
Indoor plants will need essentially the same
conditions as herbs grown outdoors -- sunlight and a
well-drained soil mix that is not too rich.
Select a south or west window. Different herbs have different
light requirements, but most need a sunny location; in winter,
"grow lamps" or fluorescent lamps are helpful in supplementing
When planting, mix two parts sterilized potting soil and one
part coarse sand or perlite. To ensure sweetness of the soil,
add a cut of ground limestone per bushel of soil -- or 1
teaspoon of lime per 5-inch pot. There should be an inch of
gravel at the bottom of each pot to ensure good drainage.
Consider the water needs of each herb. Growing plants need
more water as do plants in clay pots or hanging baskets. Misting
and grouping the plants on a tray of moistened pebbles will help
keep them in a humid condition. Don't drench herbs -- avoid
getting herb roots soggy.
Annual herbs can spend their full life cycle in a pot
indoors. Perennial herbs, however, will do better if you place
them outdoors during the summer. Plunge the pot in soil up to
its rim, or keep it in a protected location on the porch or
Herb plants need sun during the summer months, so place them
accordingly. To prevent the loss of foliage and avoid plant
damage, bring herbs indoors before frost. A light frost is
helpful on mint, chives, and tarragon; it tends to induce a rest
period and make the resulting new growth firm and fresh.
You can maintain an indoor herb garden indefinitely by
periodic light feeding, yearly repotting, renewing annuals,
seasonal moves outdoors for perennials, and occasional pruning.
Water plants as needed. Use several planters or a divided one to
allow for different moisture needs of plants.
Aromatic herbs have some
novel uses and are not as popular to grow. Most have pleasant
smelling flowers or foliage. Oils from aromatic herbs can be
used to produce perfumes, toilet water, and various scents. For
home use, the plant parts are used intact, often to scent linens
or clothing. When dried, many aromatic herbs will retain their
aroma for a considerable period. Some common aromatic herbs
include mint, marjoram, lovage, rosemary, and basil.
Medicinal herbs have long
been thought to have curative powers. But while present medical
knowledge recognizes some herbs as having healing properties,
others are highly overrated. Medicinal herbs should be used
carefully. Some herbs are harmless while others can be dangerous
have brightly colored flowers and foliage. Many have whitish or
light-colored flowers. Valerian has crimson blossoms while borage
and chicory are blue-flowered. Such herbs as variegated thyme, mint,
lavender, and chives produce variegated foliage.
"Adapted from publication
NE-208, produced by the Cooperative Extension Services of the