What’s guacamole without fresh cilantro…or a mojito without fresh mint? Some things aren’t worth having without fresh herbs. While you can buy them year-round in the supermarket, there are many herbs you can grow in your apartment. They’ll be fresher and you’ll save money. You’ll also waste less, since you’ll only snip off what you need.
Regardless of the type of herb, some basic rules apply.
- Match the plant to the lighting. Pay attention to which areas of your apartment get direct sunlight and for how many hours each day. Plants requiring full sun can be the hardest. They need a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sun a day to thrive. If you decide to grow an herb that needs full sun, you may need to supplement with a grow light.
- Use containers with good drainage. Some decorative planters don’t have drain holes and should be avoided. Water needs to run freely, so your plants don’t get waterlogged.
- Use the best potting soil you can buy. An organic potting mix designed for container gardening is what you’re looking for.
- Start with seeds or starter plants. Most herbs don’t do well as transplants.
- Indoor herbs reach for the light and can become spindly. It helps to pinch them back at the growing tips so they become bushier.
Five herbs that grow well in apartments
Bring on the mint water, mint tea and of course mojitos. Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors because it likes indirect light.
Parsley is more than just a garnish. Use it in salads, soups, and grain bowls. It does best in full sun, so be mindful of where you place your pots.
One of the most useful herbs for cooking…and there’s nothing like homemade pesto. Basil prefers full sun and needs good drainage. Keep it moist, but not overwatered.
Essential for most Mexican cooking, cilantro likes 4-5 hours of sun per day. It’s also best to use an unglazed terra cotta pot so more moisture and air pass through to the roots.
Chives have a mild onion flavor and can be sprinkled on soups, salads, and sauces. They’re also great mixed with cream cheese for bagels. While chives prefer sun, they will do well in indirect light.
If you’re still feeling tentative, you can find some great starter kits online for growing herbs indoors. They include everything you need to be an herb farmer (except the overalls).