Whether it is in the workplace, or on your kitchen windowsill, you don’t need a lot of space grow some beautiful organic herbs. They can be added to foods for a delicious, fresh flavor, or used to soaps and candles, for a beautiful scent. Many of them, like rosemary and mint have proven health benefits, and are great for your skin. To successfully grow your herbs indoors, you need to have a good understanding of how environment affects growth. Then you will know the best place to put your organic herbs and how to look after them properly.
The amount of moisture that is in the air, is known as the relative humidity. A figure of 20% is very low – this is the average level however, in most homes. With a relative humidity level that is between 10 and 20% you will notice that your herbs lose moisture quickly, and the leaves will wrinkle and dry out. This is particularly apparent in Mediterranean herbs such as basil, as they are used to a warmer, moist climate. You can naturally increase the humidity in your home by installing a beautiful water feature, such as an indoor fountain. These are far more aesthetically pleasing than commercial humidifiers that simply blow out steam.
A windowsill is of course the ideal place to grow most herbs. They require plenty of light in order to grow. Many herbs, such as dill, oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon and chives will thrive better when placed in direct sun. However, there are also herbs that prefer to have a shady area to grow, such as cilantro, parsley, lemon balm, wild bergamot and lemongrass. When you are growing herbs on a windowsill, make sure that you are careful only to water the soil directly. If there is water on the leaves, the window pane can act like a magnifying glass, and actually damage your herbs.
Along with light, the temperature also affects the rate of photosynthesis. Most herbs will thrive when there is a temperature between 58F and 86F. For your plants to grow well, try not to let the temperature in your home drop below 50F – this includes during the summer months, when you might have your air conditioning turned on. Below 50F, the sensitive leaves of your herbs may suffer from chill damage. If this has happened, you will notice that the lower leaves have turned yellow and may even fall off. On the opposite end of the scale, if your home is above 86F, it will be difficult for your plants to retain the moisture that they need to grow properly. They will wilt quickly and turn brown. Even if you water your herbs regularly, they could struggle to survive.
Growing herbs indoors is a great way to use up your window space, and your home will smell delicious. So that your plants thrive and grow to their full potential, make sure that the light, humidity and temperature are perfect for them.
Author: Jenny Holt
Jennifer Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two, who loves nothing more than to play, “where has the cat hidden itself now.”