The Q&A Archives: care instructions or lemon balm, thyme, and oregano

Question: Please give complete care instructions for lemon balm, thyme, and oregano. I have many herbs growing in pots on my west and east facing windowsills and under grow lights in my kitchen. I would like to know exactly what to do to keep the herbs mentioned above thriveing all season and into the winter months. I am most confused about how much light/sun exposure,water, and fertilizer these herbs need to keep them healthy and productive.

Thank you,
J. Davis-N.IL

Answer: In my experience it is possible to grow these indoors in containers however they will not be as vigorous as they would be if grown outdoors in the garden and may not do very well during the darker winter months; you may find that they need to be replaced from time to time as a result. As with any type of gardening, you will have to experiment a bit and see what works best for you through some trial and error -- they would survive in all three types of lighting you mentioned as long as there is good direct sun coming in the windows. Generally speaking you need to use a well drained potting mix, a good quality soilless mix formulated for container plants should be fine. You can also use a general purpose water soluble fertilizer with an analysis of 10-10-10 during the growing season, use it at the lower rate listed on the label. Water as needed to keep the soil just slightly damp, never bone dry and never sopping wet. You will need to harvest these herbs often or trim them back hard quite regularly to keep them bushy and dense. Give them as much sun or light as you can, these all love full direct sun all day long when in the garden outside, although the lemon balm tolerates a bit of shade. Here are some articles about indoor herb growing that you may find helpful.

Good luck with your project!

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