Fall has come and is nearly gone already! Going with nature’s cycles, plants are starting to lie dormant to return again newly refreshed in the spring. There are some plants that I just miss too much to let go for almost 6 months, and those plants are my herbs. There is nothing better on a cold winter day than enjoying a nice cup of fresh peppermint tea or roasting a chicken with fresh rosemary and thyme. This is why I bring my herbs indoors every winter. The great thing about herbs is they are super easy to keep alive inside as long as you follow these easy guidelines.
Herbs love full sunlight but will do well as long as they have direct or indirect sunlight at least eight hours a day. Plants prefer South facing windows, as these get the most sunlight throughout the day, but a well-placed East or West facing window will many times be sufficient. The weakest light by far coming into the home would be North facing windows.
Windows with insufficient light or UV tinting may need to be supplemented with a grow light. Grow lights are affordable and easy to install, providing light across the whole light spectrum which is what the plants need.
On warmer days put your herbs outside to soak up the sunlight in all its glory. This will give your plants a nice healthy dose of UV’s which they love. Be sure to bring them inside before it freezes again.
Plants may need more or less water inside than they did outside. Here in Colorado, my plants use much less water inside than they did outside. Be sure not to over water the plants or they will grow mold or fungus.
You can tell if a plant needs water by putting your finger about an inch deep into the soil in the pot. If your finger comes out dry it is time to water. If the soil is still moist leave it alone for a few more days and check again.
Herbs like humidity so when the heater is on inside your plants may feel a little parched. If your home is particularly dry, try placing a plate or saucer under the herb pot with some marbles or rocks in it, and fill it with water. The humidity coming off of the water pool will help keep your plants nice and healthy.
If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures (cold or hot) be sure your herbs are not touching the window. The extreme temperatures can damage the leaves of the plant, and sometimes kill it. Be sure to keep at least 2 inches away from the glass.
You don’t need to feed herbs in posts as often as you do other plants. If you do choose to use a plant feed, be sure it is made for plants to promote leaf growth, not flower or fruit growth. I just pour the dregs from my herbal teas into the pots to serve as a plant feed which works just fine for me.
Top 5 Herbs to Grow Indoors
- Peppermint: Peppermint is great to have on hand for tummy troubles, colds and flu, or just for a nice addition to your evening hot cocoa. It grows like a weed and does well with less light than most plants. The hint of peppermint will energize the room it is in.
- Rosemary: This herb is wonderful to have on hand for food poisoning, stomach upset, any viral infection, and tastes delicious in just about any dish. It’s aroma increases optimism and energy and revitalizes the body. It loves well-drained soil, full sunlight, and letting the soil dry out between watering.
- Thyme: Thyme is a commonly overlooked herb that packs an amazing punch. Thyme is commonly used for coughs and bronchial ailments, intestinal problems, and as a skin cleanser. It is delicious to cook with. Its aroma instills a feeling of courage. Thyme likes well-drained soil, full sunlight, and does well when the soil is allowed to dry between watering.
- Oregano: Oregano has potent antibiotic properties and is great for use in relieving pain, rheumatism inflammation and helps prevent and fight colds and coughs. It also helps appetite, digestive issues, bronchial problems, swollen glands, and can induce a woman’s menstrual cycle (use with caution during pregnancy). It is used traditionally in Mediterranean and Spanish dishes and the flavor cannot be substituted. Oregano enjoys full sun and letting the soil dry between watering. It is from an arid climate and does well with sparse watering.
- Basil: Basil has strong antibacterial problems. I use it in the ear oil I make for earaches. It is also used for adrenal fatigue, cold and flu, bacterial infections and is great for the skin. This delicious herb is wonderful with tomato, in salad and tea. Basil likes well-drained soil but does not handle drought conditions as well as other herbs.