Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration



Growing Herbs Indoors  

Grow Aromatic and Flavorful Herbs in the Home for Cooking, Aesthetics and Pure Sensory Enjoyment 

By: Trina Alix | Published: 

Herbs are wonderful plants to grow in the garden because of their versatile use and resilient growth; perhaps too resilient in some situations. Our experiences with them trickles into different parts of our life. Cooking them in meals, brewing them for tea, incorporating them in cold beverages. Their fragrances can bring back memories and shift our feelings. They help connect us with nature through our senses and provoke emotions.

Growing herbs indoors extends our enjoyable realtionahsip with these spirited plants into our living space. These hardy and resilient plants may become delicate and sensitive when grown indoors making them more challenging to maintain. Be prepared to replace them every 3-6 months.

Eight herbs to grow indoors:

  1. Rosemary - Provide a warm and bright window. Can tolerate drier soil conditions but don't allow soil in the container to completely dry. Rosemary can overwinter indoors. Susceptible to powerdery mildew. 
  2. Thyme
  3. Oregano
  4. Mint - Maximize direct sunlight to reduce leggy growth. Susceptible to aphids, thrips and spider mites.
  5. Parsley - Susceptible to aphids, thrips and spider mites. Cilantro - Susceptible to aphids, thrips and spider mites.
  6. Chives - Chives can be brought indoors from the garden. To do this, dig up a clump of chives in the Fall and plant in a container. Keep the container outside until the first moderate/heavy frost and then bring inside for the winter. The frost will provide the chives with a cold treatment, which will encourage the bulbs to produce new growth when brought into the warmth of the home. They would benefit from daily misting.
  7. Basil - Would benefit with as much direct sunlight as possible. Use a grow light if unable to give at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight. Pinch back flower buds to maintain bushy/leafy growth. Basil is susceptible to thrips and aphids.


Herbs enjoy full sun in the garden and will tolerate partial shade. Knowing this, you will need to provide them with as much direct sunlight as possible. A sun room with full sun exposure is most ideal for herbs. South facing windows is the second best option because these windows tend to have the most sunlight and warmth. West facing windows can work for growing herbs but it will not sustain them as long as a South facing window. East and North facing windows are too cool and don't supply  enough light for herbs. If you are unable to provide warm and direct sunlight then the alternative would be to use a grow light stand with full spectrum light bulbs. A timer can be attached to a grow light stand and set for 10-12 hours of light per day. A grow light stand can be set up anywhere in the house, even in the basement. Place herbs in a room with good air circulation. A small fan can be used to improve air circulation. This will help reduce disease such as powdery mildew and plant pests.

Planting in Containers 

Use a container/potting soil mix with a mixture of compost, peat, vermiculite and perlite. The compost enriches the soil with nutrients and helps retain moisture. The peat will help prevent soil compaction, keeping the soil light and fluffy. The perlite/vermiculite will help with porosity and drainage. Start with pre-grown potted herbs rather than starting herbs from seed. Potted herbs are often sold at garden centres in 4" plastic containers.  Single herb plants can be transplanted into 6" pots. Multiple herbs should be planted in larger containers, 10-12" pots. Use containers with holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Mist herbs on a weekly basis in the colder months of the year when the air tends to get drier inside.

Two biggest challenges growing herbs indoors:

  1. Light - At least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight. 6-8 hours of direct sunlight is ideal for optimal and lush vegetative growth.
  2. Pest Control - Herbs are very susceptible to plant pests especially if they are stressed from unfavorable growing conditions. Low light, consistently dry soil, poor air circulation may contribute to pest problems. Common plant pests on herbs include aphids, spider mites and thrips. Check for bugs on a weekly basis. Remove and dispose infested leaves and in some cases remove and dispose heavily infested plants to reduce the spread of plant pests.

Two biggest joys of growing herbs indoors:

  1. Culinary use - having herbs in the home is convenient and economical. They make cooking more enjoyable
  2. Sensory stimulation - being able to smell the herbs on a cloudy and miserable day is worth clearing some space for these plants to take residence. The smell of rosemary is good for memory, basil reduces anxiety, mint is energizing and lavender is balancing.

Happy Growing,

Trina Alix

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