Tips for keeping herbs alive indoors

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By: Boxwood Avenue

HOW TO KEEP INDOOR HERBS ALIVE
(FOR LONGER THAN A MONTH)

We've all tried it. Growing those dang herbs inside. They look super cute in the windowsill behind the sink, but before long they look... dead. So what did you do? You gave them water, right? And a good place to live? It takes a little more know-how, (not too much though), before you can call yourself a botanist. Ok, maybe just an herb growing master.
LIGHT

Anything grown indoors needs an adequate amount of light. Light is how plants get their food. It is through a process called Photosynthesis and in order for Photosynthesis to occur, you must have a light source. A nice sunny window, preferably facing South will do the trick. It would be nice if that window is in the kitchen, for convenience purposes, but that may not always be the case.

You must also rotate the plant every week or so. If not, it will start growing sideways toward the light source. This does not create a strong stem for a healthy plant.

A good indicator to figure out if your herb is getting enough light or not is to look at the placement of the leaves. If you notice the stem getting longer and longer between each leaf or new growth, than it's not getting enough light. It is stretching itself out to find that light before it can focus on any new growth.


WATER

Water may be a tricky one at first, but if you get into a habit, it could become quite relaxing to you. First of all, they don't need as much water as you might think they do. You want to almost let them dry out before you water again. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil and if it is dry, then water. Keep track of how many days in between each watering and you will start to notice a trend. They may only need once a week. It depends on the size of your plant though.

Definitely avoid over watering. Plants do not like their roots sitting in water for hours on end. They begin to rot. Not good. Which brings us to our next point...

SOIL

You want to choose a soil that provides good drainage. If you want to, I recommend it, add Perlite to the soil. Perlite consists of little white particles that aerate the soil, and allow water to drain much easier. You can get soil that already has Perlite in it, like cactus growing medium.

DRAINAGE

Make sure your pot of choice has a hole in the bottom of it. What is good about having a soil that drains well if there is no place for the water to go? Along with this, you might want to put a tray or little saucer underneath the pot to catch the water. If you can remember, it's a good idea to empty that tray after the water has drained out, so that the plant isn't sitting in a bath all day, which could cause rotting.
FERTILIZE

With all the drainage that is going to be happening, it's inevitable that nutrients are going to be leached out as well. Since your herb is going to be inside, confined to a pot, there is no other way it is going to get the nutrients it needs by itself. Find a good organic (you don't want to be ingesting any chemicals!) fertilizer and feed it about once a month.

TIDBITS TO KEEP IN MIND

  • Choose a pot that the herb has room to grow and stretch its roots. Too small of a pot, the roots will just keep circling around themselves, eventually strangling itself. It sounds very morbid, but it's true!
  • When it comes time to cut, cut no more than 1/3 of the plant off at once.
  • Don't let the herbs flower! When you see this happening, just pinch it off. When plants go to flower, they put all of their energy and nutrients into producing that flower, which means the leaves (the parts you want in an herb) are put on the backburner. Keep those leaves coming by preventing the flower!
  • Watch for pests! If you see aphids, you can just squish those with your fingers. If scale pops up, scrub them off with soapy water.




See the full post and other tips and tricks at Boxwood Avenue!

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