How to Start a Windowsill Herb Garden

By Gina C. | Updated: Dec 21, 2018

How to Start a Windowsill Herb Garden

Basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme are all great herbs indoor growing. Fresh-grown herbs provide flavor and nutrients in a way that dried herbs simply can't. Whether you are looking to embark on this rewarding activity in the colder months, or you don't have an outdoor space available in the summer, get ready for a delightfully aromatic living space. With dedication and understanding, you can have your herbs growing in abundance through the entire year.

1. Where?

Did you know?

Rosemary plants can grow up to 5 feet (152 cm) tall! Don't worry, though - in a smaller pot, you won't have to deal with this, unless you want it to be life-sized.

In the Northern Hemisphere, choose a south-facing window: they get the most sun exposure, and this is essential for your herbs to grow strong and stout. Conversely, if you're on the Southern Hemisphere, you must face north. If you don't have a well-oriented window, you can also place a fluorescent light nearby, but you will be much more successful with natural, direct sunlight.

2. What to Buy?

Purchase your herb seed packets from a nursery, or purchase a small herb plant. Most people prefer to start with a small plant, especially neophyte gardeners. Each plant should have its own container, as they each need special attention. Only if they require the same care can they be mixed, so you will have to do your research if you desire this route. Choose containers large enough for the herbs to flourish, and they should have drainage holes. Get saucers as well so the leakage does not ruin your windowsill.

3. Soil

Choose nutrient-dense potting soil for best results. Fill the container with potting mix and make a dip to place the small plant. Make sure to carefully transfer the plant, as the roots are delicate. Pat around the plant to firm the soil. Leave an inch or so in the pot for watering.

4. Sunlight

Make sure your herbs are in a favorably oriented window, receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. Do not let the leaves touch cold windows - they like to remain as warm as possible.

5. Water

Do not water too much. The herbs do not like dwelling in flooded soil. Also, empty the saucers once water accumulates. You know it is time to water when the soil 1 inch deep has become dry. Take care to check each plant individually and not water with the conditions of just one pot in mind. Be involved; gardening is hands on - even indoors.

6. Fertilizing

Once every two weeks, you should add a bit of fertilizer to the plants so that the soil's nutrient levels are sustained. This will yield flavorful and healthy herbs.

Windowsill herbs are great for all of your winter cooking, keeping it fresh and aromatic all year long. It feels wonderful to be able to produce your favorite flavors in abundance in your own home, and it widens your culinary options. It is quite amazing to watch your small basil plant grow large enough to provide for a family sized portion of pesto. Keep it up, you will only get better as you practice.


  • Rutlan, D. (2013). Start an herb garden on your kitchen windowsill this fall. University of Oregon Extension Service. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from

  • University of Kentucky. (n.d.). Make a Windowsill Garden. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from