Indoor Herbs: A Growing Guide

Plus the 10 best herbs for windowsills

|||||

Pest prevention
Choose the soil for your indoor herbs carefully. A good commercial potting soil is fine, or for a deluxe mix, blend one part potting soil with one part compost and one part vermiculite, perlite, or sand (or a mixture of all three).

Resist the temptation to use disease- and pest-prone garden soil. And when you pot up garden-grown plants, remove as much of the garden soil as possible without damaging the roots.

Keep such transplants separate from your other houseplants while you're gradually acclimating them to the indoors. If you see insects on a plant during this "quarantine," leave it outside.

If, despite such defenses, your indoor plants do come under insect attack, help the herbs stay healthy by providing the correct mix of light and temperature, and give them regular baths. A plant weakened by hot, dry indoor conditions is even more susceptible to spider mite, whitefly, or aphid damage than a healthy one.

If you choose to use soap sprays to control these pests, remember that the wet spray must come in contact with the insect to be effective. Spray in the evening (and never in bright sunlight) to prevent rapid drying, and wash off residues the next day (or before eating the leaves). Don't spray very young seedlings with soap!

Hold back on the water and fertilizer through December, but when the days start getting longer in mid-January, feed them with liquid seaweed or compost. Even potted soil gets compacted as you water it, so cultivate it with a little fork, then top-dress it with compost.

February is usually a great month for indoor plants because of all the bright light. By March, they are starting to get buds, and in April, be sure to put them outside on a warm day. Then it won't be long before the herbs—and you—are ready to move back to the garden.

 

Page:
ADVERTISEMENT