By Bethany Hayes
Winter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to fresh herbs all winter long. You can select the perfect indoor herbs to grow this winter – the ones that you use the most and love to toss into your culinary dishes for an extra punch of flavor.
You don’t need a lot of indoor gardening space for herbs. A sunny windowsill can hold a few small pots, or you can hang a shelf near your window for a sunny location. Don’t worry; you don’t need to add huge shelves to hold these containers.
If you’re ready to get started growing herbs indoors, you need to pick the herbs that grow the best inside. Here are a few to consider.
How to Start Growing Indoor Herbs
I start my indoor herbs in the fall, as my garden starts to wind down for the year. If you have some fresh herbs growing in your outdoor garden, you can dig up a few of the plants to bring them inside. Another option is to clip a few cuttings that you can dip into rooting hormone and plant inside.
Here are some tips when you grow herbs indoors.
- Growing from established plants is much easier and means you can clip stems sooner in the winter. Starting from seeds works as well, but it requires more time and patience.
- Don’t be afraid to try propagating herbs. All you need to do is cut a 5-inch stem and put it into water. Once roots develop in the water, plant it in a pot with soil.
- If possible, look for a south-facing window to hold your herb pots. You want it to receive plenty of light each day. If you don’t have a spot with enough light, you can use a grow light or fluorescent light as a supplement.
- If you’re bringing plants in from outside and you have other houseplants, make sure to keep them separate to avoid infecting them with any pests you might have brought inside with you.
9 Indoor Herbs to Grow All Winter Long
While you can grow most herbs inside, not all handle the environment’s differences or grow as quickly indoors. For success, you should consider planting and growing a few of these best indoor herbs. You might be surprised how easy they really are.
If you want a simple herb to grow over the winter, chives are a fantastic choice. It has a mild onion flavor that you can toss in hundreds of culinary dishes. They handle living at average room temperature and require 4-6 hours of sunlight each day — chives like an average temperature range between 55-75℉.
A few tips for growing chives indoors are:
- Just use a regular all-purpose potting mix in your 6-inch pot.
- Don’t overwater; watering twice per week should be sufficient.
- You can cut chives as you want – the plant continues to grow as you use it.
Do you frequently cook Italian dishes or homemade pizza? Oregano is a staple herb that you need to grow indoors; your pasta dishes will kick up a notch when you use fresh herbs.
This herb does require a bit more sunlight, typically 6-8 hours per day, but it lives well in a temperature range between 55-75℉.
A few tips to successfully grow oregano indoors:
- You need well-draining, sandy soil, so try using a mix of an all-purpose potting mix and sand.
- You mustn’t overwater because oregano is vulnerable to root rot. Aim to water once per week.
- Trim and use the stems as you want; frequent trimmings help your oregano plants become bushier.
Do you grow basil outside each year? Before the plant goes to seed for the year, you can take a few cuttings and root them in a glass of water before planting in a pot indoors. Basil is one of the easiest herbs to try this little trick! You also can start basil from seeds.
If you’re a fan of Italian dishes, basil makes sense to grow indoors. You can pinch off individual leaves to add to sandwiches or salads, or you can harvest entire stems to toss in your homemade pasta sauce.
It’s important to remember that basil likes heat and bright light, so the plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight and warm space. Don’t plant it anywhere that is cool or drafty.
Other things to remember about growing basil indoors include:
- Basil isn’t an ideal houseplant. It’ll last for several weeks, but you’ll need to start a new batch of seeds or propagate stems often.
- Keep the plants somewhere that is between 60-75℉.
Rosemary is a perennial herb so that you can grow it in a pot for years. You can bring the pot of rosemary inside during the winter and bring it outside during the spring, summer, and fall. Rosemary handles a wide range of temperatures from 40-70℉.
If you want to grow rosemary indoors, remember these tips.
- You need to have a well-draining, sandy soil mixture for rosemary plants.
- Don’t plan to water often. Rosemary prefers to be drier rather than wet, so you should wait several days in between waterings.
- Cut your stems as you need fresh rosemary, but never take more than ⅓ of the plant at one time, or you risk killing your potted plant.
Mint is an invasive herb that should typically be grown in a pot, inside and outside, because it will take over entire garden beds otherwise. You can pick from the dozens of mint types available to grow from spearmint to orange mint and even apple mint – yum! You can harvest leaves and sprigs to toss in your drinks and desserts.
A few things to remember when you’re growing mint indoors is:
- You should keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- Mint plants aren’t picky, nor are they heavy feeders. They can grow in most conditions.
- Don’t forget that mint plants are perennial, so they can be moved out when the temperatures get above the mid-30s.
This is a Mediterranean plant with thick, flavorful leaves, perfect for soups, stews, and sauces. Since it’s a perennial plant, it does well as an indoor herb that you bring inside during the winter when the temperatures dip down too low.
When you harvest bay laurel, you can either pick individual leaves or harvest entire stems and dry them for storage. Since the leaves have a strong flavor, you don’t need to use too many.
Here are some tips for growing bay laurel indoors.
- Plant in well-draining soil in 6-inch pots.
- They do best in west and east-facing windows.
- Keep the containers in an area with good air circulation because bay laurel plants are prone to diseases.
Not everyone likes thyme because it does have an intense flavor, but it goes well with pork, beef, and chicken. It’s a wonderful winter herb because you can toss it in roasts, stews, and casseroles. Thyme does require around 6 hours of sunlight.
Here are some tips for growing thyme indoors.
- Use a sandy, well-draining soil mix for the pots. Mixing equal parts all-purpose potting mix and sand works well.
- Don’t water too much. Thyme is drought resistant, so you want to wait until the first 2 inches of soil dry out before you water again.
- Make sure you leave at least a 3-inch stem remaining when you harvest your thyme.
Some people think of parsley as merely a garnish for meals, but it does add a light, fresh flavor and color to many meals. It can be used in many different meals from roasts, vegetable dishes, and pasta meals. Parsley plants need at least 6 hours, tolerating a range of temperatures from 55-75℉.
Things to remember when growing parsley include:
- All you need is an all-purpose potting mix for your containers.
- Plan to water twice per week or whenever the soil surface feels dry to the touch.
- When you harvest parsley, leave the stem at least 2 inches in height.
If you like the traditional French herbal blend called fines herbes, you’ll want to grow chervil indoors. It’s an annual herb with an anise-parsley flavor that you need if you want to make a Bearnaise sauce. Chervil also tastes great on potatoes, fish, and other veggies.
You can snip off fresh leaves to toss in salads, steep the leaves in white wine vinegar, or find other ways to add these leaves to other culinary dishes.
Things to remember when growing chervil indoors:
- Most garden centers don’t sell chervil seedlings, so you should start the seeds in moist potting soil in deep roots. Give the roots plenty of space to spread out.
- The plants like to stay between 60-70℉ in moderate sunlight.
- You’ll need to continue to replant chervil every few weeks to have young leaves available for picking.
You don’t need to forego fresh herbs just because the temperatures dip down too low this winter. Instead, try growing indoor herbs! Herbs grow well indoors, and they can last you all winter long until you can plant herbs outside in your garden beds.