Do Herbs Need Bright Sun to Grow?

For those new to gardening, starting a herb garden can be a perfect introduction. It doesn’t require much space or extensive effort.

You can start your herb garden in your backyard and use them to add flavor to all sorts of foods and drinks, not to mention the amazing sights and fragrances your herb garden will let you enjoy.

Most herbs require at least six hours of sunlight daily for proper growth. Else, they will get leggy or spindly, and you will leave them with long stems and few leaves. However, some herbs may grow well in partial or dappled sunlight.

Growing herbs can be a fun experience. They are easy to maintain and do not require a lot of know-how. Starting a herb garden would not only add flavor to your meals but will also add beauty to your backyard. However, there are a few things that you can do to help your herb garden thrive.

Read on to get all your questions answered about growing herbs.

What Should I Consider While Starting a Herb Garden?

It is important to remember that most herbs are native to the Mediterranean. So, providing them with conditions similar to the region will help them thrive. Here are a few factors that one must consider while starting a herb garden:

Location and Sunlight

Location plays an important role for both outdoor-grown as well as indoor-grown herbs. Other than this, spacing is also something that should be taken into consideration. While herbs like cilantro, chives, and parsley need around 1 foot, rosemary, sage, and mints may require as much as 4 feet of space.

Looking at the seed packet, you can easily know about each herb’s requirements. Also, it is important to pick a location that provides plenty of sunshine to the herbs. Most herbs need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day.  

Soil

A site with well-drained loam soil would help your herbs grow well. You can also conduct a soil test in different garden areas to get a better idea. Herbs usually thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH between 6.0 and 7.0). You can also consider raised bed gardening if the soil quality is unsatisfactory.

Fertilizing

You might not have much fertilizer if you build an outdoor herb garden. Herbs like sage, rosemary, oregano, and thyme would hardly ever need any fertilizer. You can throw in some organic nutrients to help them grow better. You can also use time-release organic fertilizer or liquid fertilizer in moderate proportions.

However, indoor gardens or herbs in containers would require some extra care. This is because they use up nutrients constantly while they grow. Also, potted plants dry out quickly, so you must water them more often.

Watering

Herbs usually require plenty of water. So, it would be best if you were sure to water them daily. While thyme and sage can be allowed to dry a bit, most of the herbs should remain moderately damp to semi-dry soil. But this does not mean you should flood them as it could lead to root rot. Also, some herbs are more drought-tolerant and would prefer slightly damp soil.

Harvesting

Beginners are usually afraid of harvesting herbs. However, frequent harvesting will help them grow and produce more foliage. All you need to do is cut around 1/3 of the branches when it is at least 6 to 8 inches tall.

Should I Grow Herbs Inside or Outside?

Herbs can be grown both indoors and outdoors, depending on your availability. As mentioned earlier, you must offer them Mediterranean settings to help them flourish. So, if you can offer those conditions to your herbs at your chosen location, you don’t have to worry.

One can also combine the two by growing them in containers. The herbs can be outside during the growing season, and you can move them inside when it gets cold.

How to Grow Herbs with Indirect Lighting?

You can grow your herbs inside if you do not have a proper outdoor site that gets proper sunlight. Lemon balm and tarragon are a few herbs that can do well in indirect lighting. You can keep them on your windowsill and rotate pots often so that each side receives sufficient light for consistent growth—windowsills facing southwest offer maximum sunlight.

You can also grow them in your room at around 20 degrees Celsius during the daytime with 30 to 50 percent humidity. You can use fluorescent lights or special grow lamps for about 14 to 16 hours daily to offer them sufficient light.

Which Are the Best Herbs to Grow Indoors?

Tender herbs that are leady and fast-growing can be grown indoors. Take cutting frequently, and they can grow better and quicker. Chives, lemon balm, mint, parsley, and tarragon are some herbs that will be a great fit for your indoor garden.

Even herbs that require less watering, like thyme, oregano, sage, bay, and rosemary, could be good options. However, all these herbs will thrive only if provided with all the previously mentioned conditions.

Which Plants and Herbs Can Be Planted Together?

You can plant many other plants and herbs together in your garden. Annual herbs such as basil and dill go well with vegetables or perennial herbs.

If you plan to start perennial herbs like oregano, thyme, or sage, creating an exclusive herb garden for them is better. Some herbs thrive when planted with other herbs and plants, promoting their overall health and growth.

Moreover, watering, harvesting, pruning, and overall maintenance would be much easier when more herbs and plants are planted together.  

Which are The Best Herbs to Grow from Seeds?

Planting herb seedlings are considered to be much easier as compared to starting them from seeds. So, if you plan to grow herbs from seeds, there are quite a few things that you should consider. Firstly, you must pick the correct time to start the seeds, especially while planting outdoors.

The weather and temperature in your area will play an important role in germination. It is better to plant herbs outdoors during spring after the risk of frost has passed.

But, if you are growing your seeds in a container, you need a seed-starting mixture to help the tiny seedling roots grow. Some herbs you can grow from seeds are basil, calendula, chives, dill, fennel, lemon balm, and oregano.

How to Maintain a Herb Garden?

Once you have established your herb garden, you need to do little maintenance to ensure your herbs flourish. Since herbs are usually quite hard, they would not require much effort.

A lot of herbs even produce oils and chemicals that naturally repel pests. Regular watering, pruning, fertilizing, mulching (if needed), harvesting, and cleaning promote better growth and offer flavourful and aromatic herbs.

How to Preserve Herbs?

Preserving fresh herbs allows you to use them all year round. You can use them to add flavor to your everyday meal. There is more than one way to preserve herbs. You can either freeze them or dry them.

You must place a few leaves in freezer wrap to freeze your herbs. Then, it would be best to spread them on a tray and put them in the freezer. You can store these when they are frozen. You can also dice the herbs and pack them into ice cube trays, filling the gaps with water. Pop the frozen cubes and store them in an airtight container for later use.

You can use a food dehydrator, microwave, or oven to dry your herbs. If the temperature and weather allow, you can even try indoor air-drying.

When the leaves crumble off the stem, the herbs are dry. However, avoid crushing the leaves as they would lose their flavor. Only crush the leaves when you are going to use them.

Once the herbs are dehydrated, store them in an airtight container to flavor your foods and drinks. You can use dried herbs for about 2-3 years. However, you should use them up in a year or so for the best flavor.

Conclusion Do Herbs Need Bright Sun to Grow

Whether you wish to start a herb garden for healthier and flavourful meals or as a hobby, it can be an adventurous and insightful journey. Whether you build a herb garden on your windowsill or backyard, you will know how much we depend on herbs daily.

Hoping that this answers most of your questions regarding starting a herb garden. Now, it’s ‘thyme’ for you to build your own!

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