Growing Herbs Indoors

If edible landscaping is a good idea for the outdoors, then why not try it indoors? Most herbs can be grown as houseplants, and in cold climates, that is the only way to overwinter many of them. Houseplants are known to improve air quality, and they are a cheerful bit of green in our lives during bleak winters. Growing herbs lets them be useful as well.

Most herbs need at least four hours of bright sun each day, so they should do well in a south, east or west window, as long as the light is not blocked and they are close to the window. If such a space is not available, fluorescent lights can be placed as close to the plant as possible, but that might be difficult to arrange in an attractive manner. However, the many types of mint, watercress and chervil will all grow by a bright, north window. Rosemary and bay can both be pruned to attractive tree forms, if you have the time.

To keep the plants healthy, use a weak fertilizer frequently while they are actively growing. When harvesting aloe, chervil, chives, parsley or sorrel, use the outside leaves first. With any other herbs, pinch off the new growth at the tips. This way of harvesting will encourage bushier growth. Growth will probably slow or stop during the short days of winter; be sure not to harvest too much during this time, and they will reward you with more growth in the spring.

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