Planting a Windowsill Herb Garden


By Suzanne DeJohn

Growing herbs indoors on a sunny windowsill can provide a convenient source of fresh basil, dill, rosemary, thyme, and other herbs. With a little planning and some good cultural techniques, your indoor herb garden will thrive.

  • Photo by Suzanne DeJohn
  • Tools and Materials

    • containers (with drainage holes and waterproof saucers)
    • potting soil or soilless seed-starting mix
    • fertilizer
    • herb seeds and/or plants

    Choose your herbs. Good choices include basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. You can start herbs from seed or purchase small plants. Annual herbs are especially easy to start from seed; most perennial herbs take longer to germinate and grow so it's easier to start with plants.

    Choose containers. Use individual pots for each plant so you can give each herb the specific care it needs. Be sure containers have drainage holes and waterproof saucers.

    If starting seeds, fill container with potting mix. Use a commercial seed-starting mix or potting soil, or a 50:50 combination of the two. Avoid using garden soil, which tends to be heavy and may contain disease organisms. Sow seeds, checking the seed packet to determine planting depth.

    Place containers in a sunny, south-facing window. Water to keep soil moist but not soggy, and drain saucers after watering. Fertilize every two weeks with a half-strength solution of an all-purpose fertilizer.


    A sunny, south-facing window is adequate for most herbs, although supplemental fluorescent lights will help in winter.

    Don't allow foliage to touch cold windows.

    If you want to plant multiple types of herbs in a single container, make sure they have the same cultural requirements.

    Learn what conditions each herb prefers. For example, basil prefers warmth, while sage and rosemary like cooler temperatures.

    Pinch back branching plants, such as basil, to keep them shrubby rather than leggy.

    Choose compact or dwarf varieties.

    Together with Victory Seed Company:
    Victory Seed Company Logo Trustworthiness, quality, care and love are some of the values you want to see in the people you buy your seeds from. For 25 years, Victory Seed Company has provided the highest quality vegetable, herb and flower seeds to families across the country. Family-owned and operated, we are passionate about providing you the best seeds available. We know that you work hard for your gardens, and that you've invested time, space, money and energy into preparing your next vegetable garden. By starting with Victory Seeds, you can rest easy that you'll get good germination, robust plants, and the harvest you expect. With a catalog of over 2,000 varieties, we have just about everything you want, and our prices are the kinds that we'd want to pay. We have hundreds of preserved heirloom vegetables, as well as today's award winning hybrid selections. Get to know us by visiting our website and browsing through our online vegetable seed catalog.
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