So you like fresh herbs... but you realize it's winter and you live in Colorado, so there’s no hoping that your outdoor herb garden will suddenly sprout fresh foliage to feed your culinary needs... Fret not! You too, can eat like a Mediterranean noble even in our hibernal habitat. Join us on an herbal expedition to discover what delicacies still deliver deliciousness indoors.
Our first destination on this horticultural journey is lighting. As you are probably aware, light is one of the weightiest factors in foliar fortune. Herbs generally require plenty of strong light to thrive. If your house lacks obstruction-free south, west or east facing windows where plants receive at least four hours of sun, then you’ll want to supplement with a full-spectrum grow light (Here’s an in-depth guide for navigating grow lights).
For those blessed by the sun gods the following plants are your best options, organized by window direction. Unobstructed east- and west-facing windows can happily house mint, parsley, chives and chervil; all of which thrive with less intense illumination and delight in decreased temperatures. True sun worshippers like rosemary, thyme, basil, bay laurel, sage, lemon grass, lemon balm, and oregano will soak up the strong sun of south-facing windows.
Next stop is soilville/pot town! These two elements, pot and soil, are the next most effective ways to ensure you have happy herbs. Ideally your soil should drain fairly quickly and easily. If your soil seems dense, you can mix in gritty materials like perlite, 1/8-1/4” pumice or lava rock, or coarse grain sand. If you’re diggin' what we’re plantin' then you already realize that your pot should have at least one drainage hole as well. Your overly light loving herbs will especially appreciate porous pots like terra cotta that will wick away moisture. While we’re on the subject of potting, carefully consider combinations of plants. Curb your creations to mixing only plants with similar cultural needs.
Our trip’s terminus leaves us at temperature. For the most part, indoor herbs prefer the same temperatures we do—in the neighborhood of 65-70F during the day; and 55-65F at night. So long as your foliage isn’t getting frisky with the window glass your plants should be happy and healthy at these temps. Now, we all have that one friend that naturally deviates from the group and herbs are no exception. Basil can be a bit of a debutante, preferring warmer temps of at least 70F both day and night. Should your basil leaves droop and fade after a short time, temperature is the likely culprit.
We hope your thirst for knowledge about growing herbs indoors has been slaked by this savory safari!