Growing herbs in your house this time of year can be very rewarding, especially when you get the itch to grow something green. However, it’s not easy to grow all herbs inside and there are certain precautions you need to take before planting .
Some of our favorites are difficult to grow in the winter. Basil might go directly into flower production during the winter months rather than produce those delectable leaves we want. Rosemary is another plant that might not do well inside. It requires cooler temperatures and good air movement; both of which might be difficult to simulate inside. But try sage, mint, parsley and oregano to name a few.
Some of last season’s herb plants will transfer quite nicely indoors. Well before the first frost of the winter begin moving your potted herb plants into a ‘halfway house’ such as a garage, entryway, or enclosed porch, for a few weeks. Once they become acclimated you can finish their move to your kitchen or other sunny spot. Most herbs can tolerate cool evening temperatures around 50 degrees so don’t worry about supplying heat.
Once inside be sure to keep them well watered but not drenched. Many herbs don’t want to be in standing water; drainage is vital to good herb care. Remember herbs in clay pots will dry out faster than herbs in plastic pots.
A regular bath (misting) will help your herbs stay healthy. Hot, dry indoor winter conditions make plants more susceptible to mites and other nasty things. If you do choose to spray soaps to control these critters be sure to spray only in the evening when there is no bright, direct sunlight. Also be sure to wash off any soap residue before you eat the leaves.
Once the days get a bit longer in late January it’s time to begin a liquid fertilizing program. Liquid compost will work well. By March new buds should be evident and by late April you should begin the reverse transition back to the yard. Do it slowly do allow the plants to acclimate to their new home for the summer.