5 Tips to Keeps Herbs Alive

How to Keep an Herb Garden Alive herbs newport RI prosecco & plaid

We wanted to re-share this post from a few years ago since it’s the perfect time to grow your own herb garden. Having fresh herb plants to keep in your kitchen are not only handy, they help limit that extra trip to the store when your recipe calls for them. For me, the fantasy is that when needed I can add a sprinkle of oregano onto grilled pizza, muddle sprigs of fresh thyme into a cocktail, or use leaves of fresh basil to top my caprese salad. 

Since we’re all spending more time at home, now is the perfect time to try your hand at growing your own herbs. I’ve done a little research to help out anyone interested in growing their favorite herbs this summer—even if you don’t have the greenest thumb. Also, if you’re a little light on outdoor space to grow, why not try a hydroponic growing system. It’s easy and less messy than potted herbs. Here are five helpful herb growing tips to DIY your own herb garden this summer:

How to Keep an Herb Garden Alive

How to Keep an Herb Garden Alive

1.DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR HERBS INSIDE OR OUT.

In the past, I’ve opted for indoors but be cautioned that some (not all) herbs need at least four to six hours of direct sunlight. This year I planted my herbs that need direct sunlight in a terra-cotta pot outside so I can eventually bring them indoors at the end of the season. So wherever you plant them make sure they are getting adequate amounts of sunlight. Read up a little on each herb you purchase to see if they need direct or indirect sunlight. Typically an herb plant grows better if it’s sown or transplanted directly into the ground outside. They’ll live longer and be more plentiful, you’ll notice that your indoor varieties will last but not as long. 

2. ADEQUATE DRAINAGE IS IMPORTANT.

If you’re planting herbs in a container, make sure that the container bottom has drainage holes and a layer of small stones to the bottom of the planter. It ensures that the plant is getting what it needs but not drowning the roots in extra water in the bottom of the pot. If you’re not sure when your potted herbs need water, stick your finger into the top inch or two of soil and check to see if its dry. If it is, give the plants a good soaking and let them drain in the sink. 

herbs sage newport RI prosecco & plaid

3. ALWAYS REPOT YOUR HERBS.

Even if they come in little plastic containers replant them into a larger container with room for them to grow and a mix of healthy potting soil. The herbs will need more nutrients than the soil in the small pots they come in. You’ll be surprised how large hearty herb plants like basil, rosemary, and mint can get. Herbs indoors will definitely need the extra nutrients. 

4. DON’T OVERWATER YOUR HERBS.

Nervous gardeners worry they’re not watering enough, but too much water is just as bad as not enough. Again, wait till the top layer of the soil is dry and then water until the soil is moist. See the above tip about proper drainage. Yellowing leaves and mold in the pot can be indicators that your plant is getting too much water. 

How to Keep an Herb Garden Alive

5. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU TAKE CLIPPINGS.

It’s smart to have a few herb plants if you use a certain type frequently. Don’t cut all of the leaves off at once, instead, take a mix of mature and new leaves from the plant. Make sure that you don’t clip the leaves off of just the top or bottom. The plant photosynthesizes using its leaves and will die if there aren’t enough leaves to get the job done. Plus, removing larger leaves will let smaller leaves that are growing get access to sunlight. 

What are your favorite herbs to cook with at home? Do you grow them yourself? Here’s hoping we have more herbs than we know what to do with this summer!

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10 Comments

  1. Rach wrote:

    This is so helpful! I always struggle keeping mine a live as well!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    6.16.16 | Reply
    • Caylin Harris wrote:

      The struggle is real! Glad we could help.

      6.19.16 | Reply
  2. I need this post, I have just moved into a new flat and finally have space for some herbs. The first lot literally didnt even last a week! I will be trying some of these tips now

    CharlotteSamantha // http://www.charlottesamantha.co.uk

    6.16.16 | Reply
    • Caylin Harris wrote:

      The second batch will be better! Thanks for reading Charlotte.

      6.19.16 | Reply
  3. Rox-Anne wrote:

    This could not have come at a better time! I just killed my second mint plant of the season – and summer hasn’t even started! I love having mint for quick cocktails, as well as thyme and rosemary for cooking. I always have good luck growing basil but I grow that one outside (the others are in pots in my kitchen) and as soon as I read your tips I know what I have been doing wrong. I have been overwatering them and not snipping a mixture of old and new growth! I will follow your tips and think of you while sipping a mint julep! xx Rox-Anne, Celebratingthislife.ca

    6.16.16 | Reply
    • Caylin Harris wrote:

      Cheers Rox-Anne! Best of luck with your next batch of mint. It’s so tasty to have around.

      6.19.16 | Reply
  4. Julie wrote:

    Hi Jess! This is exactly the type of post I needed. I have had so many issues with basil. Like you, every single pot I bought ended up looking dreadful! I have been more successful with chives and mint but this year I decided to up the challenge and go as well for thyme. So far so good but your tips will help me to keep all those nice smelling herbs alive on my London balcony for as long as poss. Adding fresh herbs really makes a difference in a dish and since I love flavours I need to have fresh herbs within easy reach! Cheers for that post! Hugs from London, Julie

    http://www.jafinthebox.wordpress.com

    6.17.16 | Reply
    • Caylin Harris wrote:

      Thanks so much Julie, I’m glad my post could help out. Wishing you an abundance of herbs on your balcony!

      6.19.16 | Reply