Herbs are plants used for food and medicinal purposes. Most herbs grow as annuals or perennials outdoors in the summer and spring seasons, but you can also produce many of them indoors.
In tradition, people use to place herbs on sunny window shelves to promote growth. However, enhanced herb growth indoors requires a long time of intense light. Most indoor gardeners are now using grow lights to produce huge and healthy plants yielding year-round herbs’ harvests to facilitate lighting.
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Growing Herbs Indoors Without Sunlight
It is well-known that most plants require sunlight to grow. A particular amount of sunlight is needed for the photosynthesis process to occur. Photosynthesis helps plants create chlorophyll, a green pigment in a plant that gives it food.
Many herbs can be grown in pots and placed indoors. The perfect area for your potted herbs is generally in a room facing south that gets direct sunlight. However, it is also possible to have home-grown herbs, even without a room that receives direct sunlight.
A grow light is a unique type of electric light that is specifically designed to give natural light when growing plants indoors. In some conditions, it can also be used as a supplement for natural light if there is no natural light available.
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What Type of Grow Light is Best for Herbs Indoors?
Light is the most crucial component of your indoor growing system. If you want regular harvests, it must be sufficient and intense. The type of light you use is not only crucial for your herbs’ survival, but it also determines how fast and sturdy your herbs will grow.
Gardeners have long used commercial fluorescent lightings such as circline lamps, and they will keep your plant alive and healthy if not productive. However, using an advanced generation of fluorescent grow lights can result in significant improvement.
Furthermore, fluorescents are affordable, use less energy than high-density lights, and are easy to operate. They will produce herbs in amounts looked for by serious kitchen-herb gardeners with minimal care and proper conditions.
Improvements in spectral display and fluorescents’ intensity explicitly designed for indoor gardening, like high output T5 lamps, make them a good option for regular gardeners.
Best Herbs to Grow Indoors Under Grow Light
Even if you don’t have a room in your house that gets at least some hours of direct sunlight daily, you can still enjoy the comfort of cultivating your herbs. Although most herbs require at least a few hours of direct sunlight, some will still grow, even when they are in a room that does not get any direct sunlight.
Provided there is some natural light in the room, and it is not continuously in complete darkness, the following herbs can still flourish and produce good harvests:
Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors, provided you give it sufficient light. Like most herbs, basil is a sun-lover, and it requires four hours of light every day to thrive. However, the herb also does well under grow lights, and with a commercial compact fluorescent bulb, you can grow sufficient basil to keep your kitchen stocked all year round.
With this kind of lighting, basil plants will require about 10 hours of light for healthy growth. Basil that is grown indoors can be given both artificial lighting and sunlight by alternating several hours in each. Here you learn more about how many hours keep grow light on.
Chervil is an annual herb with an anise-parsley flavor. It is a vital ingredient in Bearnaise sauce and complements well with fish, steamed carrots, eggs, and potatoes. Cut fresh leaves for salads, deep in white wine vinegar for dressings, or add them to add wonderful flavor at the end of cooking.
Bury chervil seeds in moist soil inside a deep container to give their tap roots room for development. After shooting, keep the plants cool (60–70-degree F) and give them adequate sunlight. Replant after every few weeks to have plenty of fresh leaves in stock.
With plenty of flavorful varieties available, you can allocate a whole garden to mint. You can choose from spearmint, apple, orange, chocolate, or peppermint. Cut leaves and twigs for tea and mixed drinks, desserts, or salads. Mint plants usually grow upwards, and their trailing aromantic stems make them attractive houseplants. Maintain the soil moist and provide them with moderate to intense light. Most are robust perennials that can withstand a temperature of up 30-degrees F.
Dill, also known as dill weed, is easy to grow indoor herb. While it can grow fast with some hours of direct light every day, it can still do well in sheltered areas and rooms that don’t get direct sunlight.
The herb is used both for its seeds and leaves. It adds flavor to stew and soup, and it an excellent spice to add to your pickling jar.
Due to its fragrance, dill is sometimes used in the cosmetic industry. It is fresh and light, and most body products are aromatized with a hint of dill.
Coriander herb is an annual edible plant. You can cultivate it indoors and will do well provided it has sufficient natural light, even though it doesn’t get direct sunlight.
You can only use the herb as a fresh plant. Its leaves can be dried and grounded into a fine powder that you can use as a seasoning. It is a beautiful spice for chowders and soup, and it adds a unique flavor to a pot of curry.
Coriander is known to have several health benefits. It can aid in lowering blood pressure and also helps in enhancing a healthy heart. Coriander liquid, extracted from the plant leaves and stems, is good for the skin and can help alleviate various symptoms of skin allergies.
Essential Tips for a Successful Indoor Herb Garden
Herbs are easy to grow indoors, provided you make the right start. The key to creating a thriving indoor herb garden is understanding the plant’s requirements and ensuring you give them what they require.
Herbs growing indoors require at least 6 hours of sunlight to thrive. When they don’t get sufficient sunlight, they will become stringy and eventually lose their flavor. Keep your herb garden in the sunniest area you can get if you feel that the site may not offer sufficient light. Substitute with a fluorescent bulb and keep it less than a foot (30 cm) from the herbs.
You might be required to rotate the pot that the herb is growing in so that all the herbs get equal amounts of sun and ensure they don’t grow crooked.
We have reviewed some grow lights for herbs in this article. You can pick any of them for your indoor herbs garden.
Most herbs do not withstand cold temperatures. The herbs will grow well indoors if the temperature around them is 65-70 degrees F.
Ensure your herb garden is not affected by drafts from doors and windows. Even a little amount of cold can destroy your herbs.
Indoor herbs gardens need regular watering. Ensure you don’t allow them to dry out, but ensure you are not overwatering them. Inspect your indoor herb garden every day and water it when the topsoil starts to feel dry. You can also add some water-soluble fertilizer to the water to help the herbs have the nutrients they require.
Indoor herbs require high humidity and proper air circulation. Steam your herbs once a week and place them on a tray of pebbles filled with water to maintain the humidity. When you find your herbs are affected by mildew, you may need to consider adding a fan to maintain consistent air circulation.
Even if all plants require a certain amount of natural light to thrive, growing herbs indoors without sunlight is possible, as long as all other conditions are kept right. There are ways to make up for the lack of direct sunlight. The perfect way to supplement natural light is by using grow lights to compensate for natural light and help your plant grow in indoor conditions.