How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Home is where the herbs are. And these days, home is where we all are. We’re all indoor cats for now, haha. And one of the most useful things you can do while being indoors – for yourself and for the environment – is learn how to grow plants. It’s not a talent, it’s simply about learning to keep the plants happy. And they are very easy to please. So, while we’re staying at home and out of trouble, I thought I would learn how to start an indoor herb garden in the kitchen. Herbs are easy to grow, and very useful too (I mean, fresh herbs are a perfect way to garnish a dish).

So, tag along, take some time out from your new daily routine, and grow some of your favorite herbs at home! Read through this post, absorb the guidelines, and get going.


LOCATION: Where to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

One of the best things about herbs is you don’t need a lot of space. You can grow an entire herb garden in your apartment window sill, or even create a living wall out of different herbs. However, once aspect is vital: location.

Find a spot that offers plenty of sun exposure. This usually means a south-facing window (or a north-facing window if you live in the southern hemisphere). Though herbs are simple to grow indoors, they do need adequate sunlight (from 4 hours to sometimes up to 8 hours a day). And since you’re planning to eat these herbs (stay strong…), you must know that the amount of sunlight it gets affects its flavor (the more, the better). You can supplement with artificial light if your latitude doesn’t get enough natural sunlight to keep the growing herbs happy.

Another aspect of location is the right temperature. Herbs love being in a toasty 65F to 75F, so keep that in mind before you place them in the freezing basement window sill. Herbs sometimes grow faster in warmer conditions. Also, remember to rotate your pots regularly so every side of the plant gets to enjoy the window side.

A final point to remember with herb garden location: allow them space. This will prevent the spread of disease, and – this is for advanced growers – you can observe and change up the watering and fertilizing patterns, and customize care for each herb based on what it likes.


POTS: What to Start an Indoor Herb Garden In

indoor herb garden for your kitchen
Sage green ceramic pot by Chrissa Ceramics

Make sure the containers you use have proper drainage. This will prevent root rot. A DIY solution is to use some mason jars or even tea tins. Place a few rocks and/or sticks at the bottom to provide space for the water to settle without soaking the soil for too long, then fill up the rest with soil. Add some activated charcoal in the bottom layer to increase the drainage of water from the soil above. Drill holes in the bottom of the container for the excess water to drain out. Remember to place a plate or saucer under the pot to catch the water, so the drained muddy water doesn’t ruin your window sill.

Select containers that don’t have chemical paint, and pick and arrange them so that they have sufficient room for the herbs to fill out and grow. Check out some lovely ceramic pots and planters here.


SOIL: The All-Important Ingredient

Use good quality potting mix from your local nursery, if you have access to them. Herbs like soil that clings to moisture, but also drains well. Do not use soil straight from an outdoor garden. If you don’t have access to potting mix or a nursery, use a 50:50 mix of compost (here’s how you make compost) and topsoil. Once a month, add some all-purpose liquid plant fertilizer to supplement the nutrients.

<<<Get this indoor herb garden starter kit>>>

Before you plant the herb, remember to check for pests!


WATER: How Much?

Herbs require regular watering in order to thrive. Observe the pot for a couple of days (once the plant has taken root, of course) and see how long it takes for the top soil to completely dry out. This is when you water the plant (overwatering prevents the soil from becoming soggy and therefore the roots from rotting). Keep the schedule regular. Indoor air can be very drying, so spray a moisturizing mist on your herbs in between watering, if required.

If you want to be super careful and precise about it, you can use a moisture sensor meter to check the moisture level of the soil and plan your watering accordingly.



Start with seedlings from the market or nursery. These are easier to take care of than starting from seed, although some herbs prefer one to the other. Chives, oregano, and thyme, for example, are easier to grow from seedlings. Basil, mint, and cilantro are easier to grow from seed. 

But as a beginner gardener, you may feel more comfortable with seedlings. As you get more experience, you will learn details, such as that herbs with broader leaves do better indoors with less sunlight (for obvious reasons).

Read up about the specific herb and do what the experienced gardeners suggest. That way, you’re closer to providing the ideal conditions from the get-go, instead of relying only on trial and error. The actual herbs that you should start with? You may pick from the list below!


These are some herbs that do very well indoors:

basil for herb garden

Basil | Care tips | BUY on Amazon



chervil for kitchen garden

Chervil (French parsley) | Care tips | BUY seeds on Amazon


chives - start an indoor herb garden

Chives | Care tips



Lemongrass | Care tips



Oregano | Care tips



Parsley | Care tips




Peppermint | Care tips



Rosemary | Care tips



Sage | Care tips



Spearmint | Care tips



Stevia | Care tips




Thyme | Care tips



Start Simple

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re starting a garden, even when it’s an herb garden in your kitchen. So, take baby steps, and start with one or two of your favorite herbs. Spend some time figuring out what is going on. Learning to garden is a slow, step-by-step process, and not something you can “hack” or become an overnight expert in. Then, as you grow more comfortable and confident, you can explore other herbs, flowering plants, vegetables, fruits… It’s just the beginning of a grand adventure. Prepare well!

There you go! Start your own little indoor herb garden and enjoy the thrill of growing a bit of your own food. Remember to cut the growing herbs often and use them (or dry and freeze them for use later)! Add them to your food. Besides, trimming encourages new growth.


Where to Buy

I’m always an advocate of buying local. Check out your local nursery or even neighbors who grow plants. The next best thing? Supporting awesome small businesses. Try searching on Etsy for live plants (or seeds, if you’re confident). Here are some Etsy stores you can check out:

Seed Geeks

Plant Crafting Co.

Cohen’s Organic Store

Homestead Harvested


Read More

18 Houseplants That Are Safe For Your Cat

18 Houseplants for Indoor Air Purifying

The Rise of Permaculture 

The Power of Essential Oils


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How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden for a beginner


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