When the weather outside becomes cold and dreary, cooking with fresh herbs from your indoor garden is sure to brighten your mood. That’s the way it works for Ashleigh Lemon, who enjoys adding homegrown herbs to her food.

 

“Growing herbs indoors is great for my mood and taste buds,” says Lemon, Senior Biology Specialist for Scotts Miracle-Gro. “I also like the fact that I don’t waste any herbs like you do when you buy a big bunch from the store. I’m able to snip just a little bit of herbs from my home garden, which also means that they’re really fresh.”

 

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(Free Images.com/Iva Villi)

 

To have luck growing herbs indoors, Lemon suggests trying woody herb types. These tend to be hardier overall than tender selections like basil. Six good choices for indoor herb growing are parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano and chives.

 

For the best of luck growing these six herbs as houseplants, keep the following growing suggestions in mind.

 

Place in Bright Light

 

If you wish to grow these six herbs next to the window, opt for a Southern-facing one that has no obstruction outdoors. If there isn’t enough light in your interior, get some full-spectrum lighting. Place the lights close to the top of the plants—within 3 to 6 inches.

 

Where to Get Herbs for Growing indoors

 

If you can’t find these herbs growing in your local nursery, home and garden center or via email, but have them in your garden, try digging up and planting them. According to Lemon, transplants tend to take quickly and often thrive.

 

Use high-quality potting soil to plant. Transplant each herb separately into a 6- to 8-inch pot that has drainage holes, says Lemon. “Many woody herbs don’t like to stay continually moist. That causes root rot.” 

 

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 (FreeImages.com/Jan Tabery)

 

Water Indoor Herbs Infrequently

 

Unless your herbs are under a heating duct, they aren’t going to use a lot of water indoors. Too much water causes more problems than insufficient watering. These include pests and diseases. Test before watering with a moisture meter or by sticking your finger into the soil. Only water when the top one inch of soil has dried out.

 

Fertilize Herb Houseplants Monthly

 

Keep your herbs producing tasty foliage by fertilizing on a regular basis. Use a well-balanced fertilizer designed for foliage plants.

 

Pinch Back Kitchen Herbs Often

 

Pruning your herbs back makes them grow bushier and fuller, so pinch back often. “I trim my plants back by one-third every three weeks or so,” says Lemon, who will prune even if she’s not using the herb right then for cooking or eating.

 

Wait until a plant is at least 6 inches high before harvesting the herb. Taking off too much foliage too soon can cause the plant not to be able to photosynthesize sufficiently, which will inhibit growth.

 

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Want a spooktacular project that is fun make? Try planting a Halloween terrarium. Easily create a scary scene in a glass terrarium bowl or hanging globe. Fill the terrarium with small plants and Halloween accessories, and you’ll have a decoration that is sure to catch attention.

  

Here are some tips for making your own Halloween terrarium.

  

Choose a Halloween terrarium container

  

The ideal terrarium containers are big enough to give you room to create a spooky scene. It’s also nice if the terrarium has a large enough opening so that you can easily put in the accessories and plants.

 

Halloween Terrarium-2-HHP

 (Healthy Houseplants.com)

 

Prepare the Halloween container for planting

  

Place in the container the following ingredients in this order:

 

  • ¼-inch layer of gravel

 

  • ½-inch layer of charcoal

 

  • ¼-inch layer of sphagnum moss

 

  • 4-inch layer of potting soil

  

Select your plants

  

Opt for small plants that range in size from 2 to 4 inches high and wide. The best choices for terrariums are slow-growing and adapt to living in close quarters. Some good selections include dwarf anthurium, mini African violets, Neanthe bella palm, pink polka-dot plant (hypoestes), some types of ivy, fig vine (Ficus repens) and mosses like kyoto and selaginella.

  

Plant your Halloween terrarium

  

Place plants close together in the terrarium. This will help them to grow well. Doing this will also allow you to create an engaging scene. After planting, secure the plants by patting down the soil around the roots.

  

Add Halloween accessories

  

Just about any small 2- to 4-inch Halloween accessory will work well. Look for fun items like tiny ghosts and goblins, black cats, witch brooms and hats, pumpkins, skeletons and anything else that strikes your fancy.

  

Put your Halloween terrarium in a bright location

  

Terrariums generally require bright indirect light. Avoid putting them in a window with direct sunlight. The terrarium glass may heat up the interior of the terrarium to the point where the plants burn.

  

Water occasionally

  

If you’re growing a terrarium that has a lid, keep in mind that it will most likely remain moist in there due to condensation. That means that you want to avoid overwatering. Excess moisture will quickly lead to root rot. Only water when the terrarium dries up by approximately 50 percent. When you do water, use a turkey baster. Dribble in the water at various locations in the terrarium.

  

Open terrariums are exposed to your home’s dry air. That means they’ll dry out much more frequently than lidded terrariums. You’ll need to water an open air terrarium once or twice a week. Use the turkey baster watering method rather than pouring in water, which can lead to damaging excess moisture.

  

Maintain your Halloween terrarium

  

Once established and growing, terrariums don’t require much care. You simply trim back the foliage every one to two months, so the accessories remain visible. Fertilize just once a year in the spring. Too much nutrients will cause the plants to grow quickly, and they could outgrow the terrarium.

  

Switch out accessories to make the next holiday terrarium

  

Once Halloween passes, redecorate your terrarium for Thanksgiving. Then do the same for Christmas. Take good care of your terrarium, and you can use it to decorate holidays throughout the year.

 

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Vacation is officially over for your houseplants! Now that cooler weather has arrived, it’s time to move them back indoors. Once nighttime temperatures dip to 45 degrees or lower, your tender tropical houseplants need to stop sunbathing and seek refuge indoors.

 

Your indoor garden inhabitants may protest at returning to the confines of your home after reveling in the freedom of summer vacation, but believe me, it’s a lot better than frostbite. And you can tell your houseplants I said that.

 

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(FreeImages.com/Alejandro Gonzalez G.)

 
Here are some tips for successfully making the transition from Tahiti to your indoor garden.

Inspect and treat each houseplant

 

Wash your plants off outdoors with water and then spray them with an organic insecticidal soap and let it dry. This removes and destroys insect pests and their eggs. Bringing in unwanted hitchhikers now can make your fall and winter indoor gardening experience exhausting in terms of pest management.  

Move houseplants inside into a bright area

 

A location with a southern or eastern exposure is ideal. Another option is under full-spectrum lighting, which simulates the daylight your houseplants just left.

 

Provide humidity

 

After frolicking in the equivalent of the tropics outside compared to your home, houseplants need moist air. Mist the plants with a fine mist a few times a day, if possible.

 

Setting houseplants on humidity trays also works well. See our video for how to make a humidity tray. Grouping houseplants together boosts humidity, too. Your plants will humidify each other as they bemoan the fact that summer is over.

 

Warning signs that plants aren’t getting enough humidity include dry leaf tips and leaf drop. Do keep in mind, though, that some leaf drop (protests about summer being over) is natural.

 

You Can Grow That-Resized-single line

 

Water sparingly

 

Houseplants respond to being overwatered by succumbing to root rot. As the days shorten and the nights get cooler—even in your home—your houseplants will drink less. Water most indoor plants only when the top two to three inches of soil has dried out.

 

Hold off on fertilizing

 

Wait a month before feeding your houseplants. At that point they will have acclimated to their winter “digs” and be hungry. Feed with an organic houseplant fertilizer once a month.

 

Promise your houseplants another swell vacation next year

 

When your indoor garden dwellers are looking a little glum in the middle of winter, it’ll do wonders if you remind them of their summer fun. Let them know that it’s just a matter of time before you’ll be transitioning them outdoors again. And looking for a houseplant sitter so you can go on your own vacation.

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