Herbs are perfect to grow in an apartment herb garden. They don’t require much space, and can save you some money on herbs you already buy. They’re super easy to grow at home (even for beginners), and can thrive indoors and out with minimal effort.
With the essential tips in this article, you’ll learn which herbs are right for you to start with. We’ll tell you about their soil and sun needs, and how you can grow more in a limited amount of space.
How to Choose Between Popular Herbs
First and foremost, select the herbs that you enjoy. Then, think about the amount of space you can offer the plants. Every home is different, and every family has different taste buds. If you’re unsure which herbs you use most, take note of your recent grocery receipts, write down which herbs you use while cooking. You may be surprised by your own culinary habits.
Start small and work your way up, especially if you’ve had an herb garden before. A windowsill, for example, can easily house a couple of herbs in pots. In contrast, a balcony and rooftop availability can allow you to grow many more plants. Consider your space and how much grow room and sunlight your favorite herbs require. Begin with a couple of plants and work up to more as you learn which herbs grow well in your home.
Another important thing to consider before starting your apartment herb garden is which herbs you can group together. Like all plants, some herbs don’t grow well near one another. Only place herbs near companion plants for the best results or your entire garden may suffer.
Do you want to create a window box herb garden? Remember that you can only group together herbs that have similar water and sunlight requirements. Companion planting can also help you grow more plants in a limited space, and reduce the risk of pests or diseases.
While most herbs are easy to grow, low-maintenance plants, some are more finicky. After thinking about the types of herbs you tend to use the most, consider starting with one of the following 8 herbs. Each of these options is easy enough for beginners, often used in a variety of recipes, and save you the most cash at the grocery store.
- Basil: One of the most expensive herbs to purchase. Basil grows well in organic potting soil needs at least six hours of sunlight. The soil can dry out between watering, and you can cut off leaves as needed.
- Chives: Easy to grow indoors and out, chives grow quickly unless you start them from seed. They enjoy a sunny windowsill and damp soil that never dries out. Harvest the plants after they grow six inches tall.
- Oregano: Fragrant oregano varieties grow best in the heat of a full-sun location, such as a balcony. Greek varieties will grow better on windowsills, as they’re easier to grow indoors. Make sure your plants receive no less than six hours of sunlight per day and water only when the soil feels dry. Harvest after it grows to four inches tall.
- Parsley: Perfect for cooking, doesn’t require much sunlight, and grows slowly. It’s great on a shady balcony or sunny kitchen windowsill. Allow the soil to dry out between watering for the best results. To harvest, snip off sprigs as needed from the outside of the plant.
- Cilantro: Start coriander seeds in a medium-sized container. This herb won’t dry or freeze easily, but you can pick it fresh to add when cooking.
- Rosemary: A low-maintenance herb garden go-to, rosemary grows well indoors or on a balcony and offers a strong pine-like aroma in sunlight. It grows well in containers with at least six hours of full sun per day, and needs little water. The soil should dry out between watering, and you can harvest the stalks once the begin shooting up. Trim the plant regularly.
- Thyme: Perfect for beginners, as it doesn’t require much care and grows well in pots. Place it in a south-facing location, and allow the soil to dry completely between watering. You’ll need to prune the plant regularly, but you can trim off sprigs as needed for cooking.
- Mint: With many varieties to choose from, fast-growing mint smells amazing and is easily contained in a pot. It does well on a windowsill with morning sun and afternoon shade, and the plants prefer constant moisture. You’ll need to trim the plant regularly and pinch off the flowers to harvest the plant longer.
5 Essential Apartment Herb Garden Tips
There are clever ways you can grow more in less space, without sacrificing your countertops. Check out the following five hacks for small spaces:
1. Grow Up with Vertical Gardening
Hanging tiered shelf gardens are easy to hang in front of your kitchen window. Additionally, they allow you to grow up to eight small plants in small individual containers. Some gardeners even create a DIY version using wooden rods and curtain hardware to string across a kitchen window.
This saves valuable kitchen counter space and allows you to create a living curtain. Just make sure the herbs you place in front of your kitchen window gain the right light they need.
With vertical gardening, you can extend your garden up a bright wall in your kitchen or balcony. Doing so allows you to take advantage of unused space, and may even offer more sunlight for your herbs to drink in.
Hanging shelves are another great DIY way to achieve this effect. In addition, you can create your own by stringing together basic boards and hanging them from your ceiling.
2. Spread Out Plants by Room
Move plants around your apartment based on which room they’ll thrive in the most. This also helps you grow more because you’re utilizing all your living space. Lavender is perfect to grow in the bedroom, for example, as the fragrance promotes rest and sleep.
Sun-loving herbs are great in the office, kitchen, and living room. In contrast, herbs that enjoy more moisture and less sunlight—such as cilantro and mint—thrive in bathrooms. Spread out your herbs, keeping the most used options on hand in the kitchen.
3. Use Alternative or Recycled Containers as Planters
If you’re creating an indoor apartment herb garden and want to space out your plants in various rooms, try using alternative containers. A small, three-tiered drawer fits well on a dresser or nightstand in your bedroom and can easily be converted into housing plants. It’s also easy to make your own planters from the materials you’d throw out anyway, such as old beer bottles.
Finally, make sure whatever herbs you choose to grow will do well in the container you select. The pots you choose should fit your personal style, but they should also offer the right amount of room for each herb to grow. Never choose a container smaller than six inches in diameter, and ensure there’s proper drainage to avoid standing water.
4. Find Things that Make Growing Easier
Similar to using alternative containers, you can find ingenious ways to keep potted herbs around your home. Rolling carts are handy because you can move them around depending on sunlight requirements. Furthermore, mobile plant stations can save you time moving plants indoors and out.
A tiered shoe rack, shelf, or a kitchen cart near a window can also allow you to grow an indoor garden in one small location.
5. Utilize Any Outdoor Space
Does your home offer outdoor space such as a balcony or rooftops? Make the space an inviting and aromatic place to sit. Rosemary is perfect on a bright balcony, and even grows well on a tiny fire escape if that’s all you have available.
No matter how small your outdoor space, you can use vertical gardening hacks to utilize more growing space. Just make sure the herbs you select are safe for your pets or wildlife if you place them outdoors.
How to Care for an Apartment Herb Garden
The most important mistake gardeners, especially beginners and cooks, make when starting an herb garden at home is overwatering. Most herbs turn yellow if you’re watering too much.
Make sure you stick to your herb’s water requirements and water the plants from the soil and not from overhead. Allowing water to sit on the leaves and foliage tends to lead to fungus diseases and overwatering or keeping the plants in a container without the proper drainage holes will also cause issues like root rot. If water drains into the saucer under your container, wait a few minutes before dumping the water out. Never let the water pool up.
A Final Word of Advice
If you’re a beginner, start out with basil. It’s easy to grow, and then you can move on to growing leafy greens, small tomatoes, green beans, or hot peppers. They’re great in small containers and don’t grow too heavy, but you may need to stake the plants for the best results.