Growing herbs in pots indoors

I love fresh herbs. Especially Basil. I could probably eat it raw. Well, I guess I do in Caprese salads! Anyway, it's always at the top of my list of herbs to grow. I use it so much that in addition to growing it in my garden (to dry), I also grow it in a pot on the patio right outside my kitchen and inside during winter. 

My favorite so far has been Basil Genovese, though I have tried many types over the years!

Growing herbs indoors

I guess I have Basil issues! Let me explain a little further though...the garden is only 1/2 an acre away. Not a huge walk, but the garden is full of dirt obviously. When it rains the dirt splashes up and gets on the herb leaves. When I'm cooking I rinse the herbs, but giving them several rinses to make sure I get all that sun dried dirt off is a bit time consuming.

I don't use plastic ground covers (although that would help) so this pot method works best for me. Of course when I'm ready to harvest and dry the herbs I don't mind doing the extra work. Plus, basil has several different medicinal uses so I need at least some of it close by.

Growing basil indoors

Normally I grow Basil, Parsley,Lemon Balm and Chives on my windowsill in the winter. I've found I get the best results by putting basil seedlings into the garden rather then starting seeds indoors. Unfortunately they get a bit leggy and don't grow quite as big indoors. They still taste wonderful though!

Basil likes well drained soil so I put some pebbles in the bottom of the pots to give the water room to drain away from the soil. Basil likes it warm, so a sunny draft-free window is ideal. If you have a south facing window, the basil will get the most amount of sun. If your herbs aren't getting enough sun though you should use a grow light. I like to supplement the natural light buy turning it on from 5pm till about 9 each evening.

I give the plants some fertilizer about once a month when indoors or even when potted outside. I'll add a bit of compost on top of the soil and/or make them some compost tea. They love it! When it gets really hot outside, make sure you water potted basil frequently.

Prune basil when it starts to get too big and it will encourage it to get bushier. Also, remember to pinch off the flowers until you're ready for it to go to seed. Don't forget to save some seeds for next year!

I get the best results by starting some seeds in the garden around mid to late summer then potting them to bring indoors as fall approaches and the temperatures change. This way the seedlings can take advantage of the ideal summer growing conditions to get started, but not get too large for potting before I bring them in. Also, make sure you put the pots by a sunny window! That way I have fresh herbs all year round!

Want more posts on herb gardening? Click here for my other posts on growing herbs.


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  1. I love having pots of growing things on the patin that I can clip and use. Herbs are so easy it's hard to imagine why anyone wouldn't want to give them a try. Very healthy looking basil you have there.

  2. I do love to grow herbs, but haven't ever done them in pots. Great idea!