Indoor Herb Garden – Various Herb Needs, Types, Conditions, etc.

General optimal growing conditions for Herbs are as follows:

  • Container – Almost any container will work, it should be able to hold at least 4″ deep of soil, ideally
  • Temperature – 60-70 F / about 15-22 C
  • Light – 4-6 hours of natural sunlight per day – Herbs prefer Light from the South or West
  • Air – Air Movement to prevent bacteria & mold, and for pest control
  • Soil – Light Soil, with Perlite , Pete Moss, Coarse Sand, Clay, Silt, Pumice, Gravel, Coconut Fiber, Worm Castings, Kelp Meal, Lime and / or Vermiculite, etc
  • Drainage – Most Important – Good Drainage at the bottom of the pot, either on a tray, or over a Bed of Rocks or Gravel in the bottom of the container – No herbs will grow in wet containers
  • Fertilizer – about 1/4 the strength recommended on the fertilizer package, dissolved in water, once a week – too much fertilizing causes plants to grow faster and bigger, but causes their essential oils to become weaker and less potent – nutrients in soil will be consumed during the first 10 days, begin fertilizing then
  • Water – Careful Watering depending on specific plant needs, either more water, or less watering than other plants – Feel the surface, and pick the pot up and feel the weight – Too much water will cause them to lose flavor, less water creates more flavorful herbs
  • Humidity – A bowl of water near the plants or in the planter will help raise humidity, as will setting the pot on a tray and surrounding with stones and keeping the stones wet
  • Pest Control – Spray with 1:100 solution of organic soap or vegetable soap to water on and under leaves, if insects are present
  • Grooming – Pinch them down to the joint between two leaves – Only trim 1/3 of the total plant at most, and only 1/3 of each branch – Pinch the tops off will encourage them to grow shorter and wider, Pinching the outer and lower ones will encourage the plant to grow taller and narrower – Leaves are the most flavorful in the early morning – before the hot sun – Save them and dry them
  • Yearly Care –
    • Re-pot the herbs with fresh soil – use a bigger pot if necessary
    • Harvest Seeds after flowering
    • Harvest Leaves just before Flowering – Leaves are most flavorful just before
    • flowering begins
    • Harvest excess leaves after Flowering

Herbs by Growing Type:

  • Annual Herbs (Grow Only One Season, then Flower and Die):
    • Aniseed
    • Basil
    • Cilantro / Coriander
    • Dill
    • Arugula
    • Chervil / French Parsley
    • Cumin
    • Fenugreek
    • Summer Savory
  • Biennial Herbs (Grow for Two seasons, Flower on the second season only, then Die):
    • Caraway
    • Fancy Parsley
    • Italian Parsley
  • Perennial Herbs (Flower yearly, and Re-Grow Year Round):
    • Rosemary
    • Oregano
    • Marjoram
    • Thyme
    • Sage
    • Chives
    • Lemongrass / Citronella
    • Lemon Verbena
    • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Peppermint
    • Tarragon
    • Winter Savory
    • Fennel
    • Cardamon
    • Chili Pepper
    • Lavender
    • Bay Laurel

Herbs by Lighting Needs:

  • Herbs which Prefer Full Sunlight, at least 6 hours per day:
    • Aniseed
    • Basil
    • Cumin
    • Caraway
    • Chervil / French Parsley – 1st Season
    • Fenugreek
    • Summer Savory
    • Rosemary
    • Oregano
    • Marjoram
    • Sage
    • Lemongrass
    • Lemon Balm
    • Lemon Verbena
    • Winter Savory
    • Fennel
    • Lavender
  • Herbs which Prefer Part Sun to Full Sunlight, at least 4 hours per day:
    • Cilantro / Coriander
    • Thyme
    • Dill
    • Italian Parsley
    • Fancy Parsley
    • Chives
    • Tarragon
    • Cardamon
    • Thai / Small Chili Peppers
    • Bay Laurel
  • Herbs which Prefer Cooler Shade or only Morning Sun, and More Watering:
    • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Peppermint
    • Chervil – 2nd Season and later

Herbs by Potential Height:
(Can be kept smaller by using smaller containers):

  • Trees
    • Cardamon
    • Bay Laurel
  • Over 5 or 6 Feet
    • Rosemary
    • Lemongrass
    • Fennel
    • Dill
    • Lemon Verbena
  • Over 3 or 4 Feet
    • Aniseed
    • Fenugreek
    • Mint – Bush Varieties
    • Spearmint – Bush Varieties
    • Peppermint – Bush Varieties
    • Tarragon
    • Lavender
    • Thai / Hawaiian Chili Peppers
  • Over 1 or 2 Feet
    • Basil
    • Cilantro / Coriander
    • Chervil / French Parsley
    • Caraway
    • Fancy Parsley – 2nd Season
    • Italian Parsley – 2nd Season
    • Oregano
    • Marjoram
    • Sage
    • Lemon Balm
  • Up to 1 Foot
    • Cumin
    • Summer Savory
    • Fancy Parsley – 1st Season
    • Italian Parsley – 1st Season
    • Thyme – Bush Varieties
    • Chives
    • Winter Savory
  • 1/2 Foot or less – Ground Cover Plants
    • Mint – Ground Cover Varieties
    • Spearmint – Ground Cover Varieties
    • Peppermint – Ground Cover Varieties
    • Thyme – Ground Cover Varieties

Herbs by Water Requirements:

  • Herbs which Prefer Drier Conditions with occasional Watering – Can withstand Droughts
    • Rosemary
    • Lavender
    • Bay Laurel
  • Herbs which Prefer moderately Dry Conditions but are not really hardy – Can partially withstand Droughts
    • Fenugreek
    • Oregano
    • Marjoram
    • Thyme
    • Sage
    • Winter Savory
  • Herbs which Prefer moderate Conditions but not too Wet, – Like Drier conditions but cannot withstand Drought
    • Cumin
    • Chives
    • Tarragon
    • Dill
  • Herbs which Prefer Average Conditions but not too wet, nor do they like it Dry
    • Aniseed
    • Cilantro / Coriander
    • Caraway
    • Italian Parsley
    • Fancy Parsley
  • Herbs which Prefer moderately Wet Conditions to Moist
    • Basil
    • Summer Savory
    • Lemon Balm
    • Thai / Hawaiian Chili Peppers
  • Herbs which Prefer Above Moderate Watering Conditions – and do well with average to more wet & Tropical conditions
    • Chervil / French Parsley
    • Lemongrass
    • Lemon Verbena
    • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Peppermint
    • Cardamon

Herbs by Soil Requirements:
(All Herb Soils require Good-Drainage!)

  • Herbs which Prefer Mountain-esque Rougher-Quality Soil as found in the Mediterranean – Loose, with Coarse Sand, Silt, Clay Content
    • Rosemary
    • Oregano
    • Marjoram
    • Thyme
    • Sage
    • Winter Savory
    • Fennel
    • Lavender
  • Herbs which Prefer Average-Quality Soil – Loose, Natural, with good-drainage
    • Cilantro / Coriander
    • Chives
    • Lemongrass
    • Lemon Balm
    • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Peppermint
    • Tarragon
  • Herbs which Prefer Richer-Quality Soil – More Fertile Potting Soil with good Drainage, as in Tropical Regions
    • Aniseed
    • Basil
    • Bay Laurel
    • Cumin
    • Thai / Hawaiian Chili Pepper
    • Cardamon
    • Lemon Verbena
    • Caraway
    • Fenugreek
    • Dill
    • Summer Savory
    • Chervil / French Parsley
  • Herbs which Grow in about Any Soil with good Drainage
    • Fancy Parsley
    • Italian Parsley

Herbs Grouped by Attributes:

  • Strong herbs
    • Winter Savory
    • Rosemary
    • Sage
    • Cilantro
    • Cumin
    • Caraway
  • Herbs for Accent
    • Basil
    • Dill
    • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Peppermint
    • Marjoram
    • Tarragon
    • Thyme
    • Oregano
    • Marjoram
    • Lemon Grass
    • Lavender
    • Lemon Verbena
    • Lemon Balm
  • Herbs for blending
    • Chives
    • Parsley
    • Summer savory
    • Chervil / French Parsley
    • Bay Laurel
    • Fennel
    • Fenugreek
    • Cardamon

Seeds:

  • Herbs Grown Primarily for Seeds – Best for Outdoors because Plant wont be used until one month after Flowering:
    • Caraway
    • Cardamon
    • Fennel
    • Fenugreek – Select some plants for seeds, leave others for leaves
    • Cumin
    • Coriander – Select some plants for seeds, leave others for leaves

Special Planting Considerations:

  • Mint plants are aggressive and will choke out other plants and take over the planting area, so they do best when planted in a separate container, and need a lot of water
  • Sage becomes woody after 3 yeas and may need to be replaced – extra grooming can prevent it from becoming woody too soon
  • Fennel & Dill can cross-pollinate, and should be kept far apart form each other – Fennel needs more light than Dill does
  • Stake tall or weak or wispy plants with Bamboo Poles for support
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