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Growing herbs indoors is useful for many reasons. You may have limited garden space, or no garden at all. Or, you may find it easier to harvest herbs indoors rather than going outside, especially in cold weather or heat extremes. Last but not least, having some plants indoors is an enjoyable way to have nature surround you wherever you are.
Choosing the right herbs for indoor growing is essential for success. The herbs that are most likely to thrive indoors include:
Best placement for indoor herbs
While it may seem appropriate to keep herbs in the kitchen, many herbs will not tolerate the changes in temperature this area of the house is subject to. Heat from cooking and sudden cold air changes from opening windows to release the heat build-up can subject herbs to too many ongoing temperature fluctuations that stunts their growth. Herbs that can cope with these changes are few but you might have luck with: Mint, parsley, basil and chives, as long as you expect some wilting and withering to occur.
Better places for indoor herbs include:
- Windowsills in other parts of the house
- Window boxes outside of any window, within easy reach
- An entrance area, lobby, sheltered patio, sun-room or other enclosed area that has good sun and the ability to provide fresh air now and then
- The dining room or sitting areas - something nice to look at as well as being useful
Containers for indoor herbs
Herbs tend to have shallow roots and are therefore ideal for confining to small containers for indoor growing.
Suitable containers for growing indoor herbs include:
- The standard ceramic or terracotta pot and saucer
- Window boxes
- Reusing unwanted crockery, such as large teacups or jugs/pitchers, with old saucers to catch water
- Hanging baskets (this can be useful for keeping the herbs off furniture or delicate surfaces but do not place where water damage could occur)
- Strawberry pots (small ones)
Care of indoor herbs
Follow the instructions for growing the particular herbs. In addition to this though, bear in mind the following needs of indoor herbs:
- Provide sufficient light for the herbs. This is why a sunny windowsill can be a good placement for the indoor herbs.
- Avoid too much heat. Do not leave herbs on a windowsill that gets regular intense sunlight, as the heat will kill the plants.
- Water regularly. It can easy to forget this when the plants become "part of the furniture" but it's an important thing to remember.
- Re-pot into a larger container if the herb outgrows its container.
- Trim off dead parts regularly, to keep the plant tidy and healthy.