Many gardeners have been reaching out to ask about what the process is like to start herb seeds indoors with our self-watering containers. You will be happy to learn that our self-watering planters make starting seeds of any kind – herb, flower, or vegetable – even easier and quicker than traditional methods! Self-watering planters are wonderful for starting seeds not just for the convenience it provides but giving the ability to control the amount of moisture the soil takes into the plant directly aids in the germination and initial growth process.
In this guide, we will touch on the different factors involved to start seeds indoors in one of our containers, but also recommend a few herbs we have found work better with our self-watering planters than any other container. You do not need to be an expert plant partner or gardener to start your own indoor herb garden, but by the end of this article, you will certainly feel like one!
Here is our guide to Growing Herbs Indoors: From Seed to Harvest in Self-Watering Containers!
You will always want to start with a plan and a timeline
As you would with gardening outdoors, you need to create a timeline of when you are going to do each step of the process; this will help you figure out when to sow your seeds, when you can expect your seeds to germinate and sprout, and when you can expect your first harvest. Although you do not have to worry about your area’s final frost date, pulling weeds, or worrying about pests eating your herbs, making a plan for your indoor herb garden is always going to more helpful than not.
The first event to schedule in your herb growing journey is to of course buy your seeds! Not sure what to get yet? That’s alright, we’ll go into more detail about that later. Once you have decided what you want to grow, plan to purchase your seeds within the first couple months of the year; at this point, it is still early enough in the year that most other gardeners will have not ordered anything yet, so the stores will be fully stocked with whatever you want.
With your seeds in hand, it’s now time to plan when you are going to sow your seeds. Because you are inside, you may think that you can start your seeds whenever your want; while this can be true for someone with grow lights, heat mats, and high-tech humidifiers, it’s not for the average person. You are going to still want to wait until the recommended sowing date on your seed packets because that takes the amount of daylight into account, something you need to germinate your seeds. From here, you can follow the recommended germination time and first harvest date depending upon the herbs you chose.
Do you know the average temperature and humidity of your home?
As we mentioned earlier, growing herbs indoors is easiest if you have all the best high-tech gadgets for controlling your humidity among a plethora of other factors, but you do not need any of that stuff if you know some key things about your home. Humidity is every plant’s best friend,with the proper temperature range being a remarkably close second. Many of the world’s favorite plants (including herbs!) require moisture not only from watering, but from humidity, as well. Consistent humidity levels and warm temperatures in your home are vital to keeping a plant growing healthy and keeping its photosynthesis process running smoothly.
Let’s chat about humidity first – why should we care about the humidity of our home when growing herbs indoors? You may be surprised to know that most of the herbs we know and love today have tropical and sub-tropical origins, many coming from the Mediterranean, India, South East Asia, and other countries with similar environments. So, creating that same environment in your home can greatly help your crops since they evolved to thrive in those kinds of conditions! If you know your home usually runs humid – great, but if not, consider purchasing a small, affordable humidifier to keep near your indoor herb garden, or place your self-watering planters on top of a refillable pebble tray.
Providing your herbs, especially when they are just little seeds in the soil, with the proper, consistent temperatures is just as important as anything else to helping them grow. Very few herbs can start in cold temps, especially if they aren’t receiving a ton of sunlight. The majority of homes have thermostats that allow you to control the temperature in your home, so keep it in an acceptable 65-78°F range to keep the soil warm and your seeds or plants’ roots insulated as they grow.
Choose your self-watering containers.
Now that you have your timeline laid out and you know your home is a viable place to grow herbs indoors, it is time to pick out your self-watering planters. These types of containers are fantastic for herb gardens because many of the popular plants we grow today are thirsty during their growing season, which can be difficult for anyone to keep up with, regardless of their schedule or skillset in gardening. Giving your herbs the ability to absorb more water as they please can keep them healthier longer, and all you have to worry about is refilling the tank when its empty!
In many homes, people prefer to place their indoor herb gardens on their windowsills because of the ample light a spot like that provides. There are self-watering planters specially made to fit on a windowsill, so if you find this is the best location in your home for your herd garden, there is a container out there for you. For those who often forget to water plants or even check the tanks of their self-watering containers, consider looking into a planter that has an obvious indicator on the outside of the container to tell you when it’s time to add water, like this one here.
Create a schedule for everything.
If you have grown plants of any kind inside before, you will be familiar with the concept of creating a schedule for your plants; this schedule doesn’t consist of making your plants work for their share of the rent, but of the fertilizing, rotating, and trimming processes that keep your plant healthy and thriving. Putting together a schedule that not only works for your plant’s growth patterns but also for your lifestyle is important for the health of the plant and your familiarity with the plant’s mannerisms and behaviors. The best gardener is that way because they are observant and can catch problems before they become unmanageable.
Even with herbs grown indoors, it is important to continue fertilizing the soil, especially when your plant is in its early growth stages. When you first sow seeds, they use the energy from the nutrients found in the soil to germinate and grow little sprouts. As an herb plant continues to grow, it needs more food from nutrients and they only way to provide that is by adding fertilizer to the soil. This can be done in any method you prefer, but it’s important to create a schedule that is based around the herbs you grow (i.e., one each month, every other week, etc.).
Any indoor plant will also need the occasional rotating to ensure that enough sunlight is touching all the leaves equally. This is especially important to do when a seed first sprouts because a plant that is never rotated can grow weak or sparse on one side because of uneven light exposure. If you are using a windowsill herb planter, turn the entire container 180° ever two or three weeks; if you are working with a round planter inside, only rotate 90° instead at the same frequency.
Here are some of our recommendations for the best herbs to grow indoors!
In theory, you could grow any herb inside if you are able to give it the proper conditions, however we put together a list of the herbs we have had the most success with the least amount of hassle.
1. Mint – with the hundreds of species of Mint, most of which thrive indoors, it is easy to find the variety that is a perfect match with you, your tastebuds, and your lifestyle. This herb is hardy enough to withstand temperatures as cold as 30°F, so no matter how cold your windowsill may get, you can continue growing Mint well into the Winter.
2. Basil – this herb has become one of the most popular herbs to grow in the world, and when you consider its fresh smell and taste, you will understand. Basil is also very hardy, being able to tolerate cooler temps and the occasional inconsistent watering. Although many colorful species of this herb are now available to grow (including black!), we found that the old reliable Sweet Basil grows best in self-watering planters indoors.
3. Rosemary – this plant is on our list because of how quickly it grows, almost like wildfire, in the Summertime. This popular herb is also known as a “universal companion plant,” meaning it can grow in a container with any other herb and not overtake or be overgrown by its container mates.
4. Oregano – if there was ever an herb that loved bright, direct light, it would be oregano. This herb prefers high light on a regular basis and does very well grown indoors, especially because it prefers consistent temperatures and may actually die if it is subjected to irregular temperature changes without warning.
5. Parsley – this is a beautiful plant that can be kept either as an edible herb or as an ornamental plant, depending on your preference. When parsley is grown for its curly or flat leaves and the versatile flavor that it comes with, it is an herb that digs its roots deep into the soil, making it a plant that needs a deep pot with plenty of room to stretch out.
Please don’t forget to check out our other blogs! We like to offer tips and tricks to get the most of your gardening or indoor plant journey on a regular basis. Do you have a subject you would like us to write about? Let us know in the comments below.