Growing herbs indoors can be a great way to have fresh flavors available throughout the year. But, it is a bit more challenging than growing houseplants. I’ve written about which herbs to grow indoors and how to grow them indoors in previous articles and today I want to share the growing schedule I use for indoor herbs throughout the year.
Herbs can be either annuals or perennials and, as such, they have very different care needs when grown as indoor plants. Annuals grow well from seed and will produce quickly and vigorously when there is bright light and warmth. They don’t grow all that well when the days are short and the weather is cold, though.
Perennial herbs are slower to grow but more hardy. They also grow well from seed but a bit more slowly to produce a mature plant. They often have strong, woody stems that can be easily propagated by cuttings.
Annuals and perennials need different things throughout the year if you want to tame them in an indoor garden. And a mix of both annuals and perennials makes for a year-round garden that gives you a long-lasting supply of freshly harvested herbs!
I love the combination of annual and perennial herbs I grow in my kitchen, which is why I chose them to be in the Garden Therapy Indoor Herb Seed Kit. The kit comes with a set of three Livi pots that allow you to create a year-round indoor herb garden growing right on your window pane.
Every couple of months throughout the year, the herb garden is doing something a little bit different so it’s fun to grow and makes for a gorgeous feature in the kitchen. The kit comes with 6 varieties of seeds: three annual varieties and three perennials. You can read more about the kit here.
My Indoor Herb Growing Schedule
This is the schedule that I use to grow herbs in my Vancouver, BC, Zone 7 garden. We have four distinct seasons, but we also have a lot less light in the winter months as we are in a temperate rainforest. We don’t get too many days below freezing outdoors, so there is limited snowfall.
The light and temperature are what is most important for indoor herbs. Of course, you can adjust both with supplemental heat and light when needed. This schedule shows how I cycle the herbs in and out of the window garden throughout the year to maximize the harvest with natural light and warmth.
In January and February, I start the perennial seeds indoors. The seeds can be started right in the pots on the window, creating a mini greenhouse by placing a plastic bag loosely over the top of the little Livi pot. Read more about starting the herb collection from seed here.
In March and April, I start the annual seeds indoors in seed trays. At that time I also pinch any of the perennial herbs back once they have reached about three inches tall. “Pinching them back” means cutting off the top leaves and stems of new growth to allow the plant to send out multiple stems and create a bushier plant. I cut the top inch of the plant off the top with a clean pair of scissors. The cut is made on the stem just above the side buds.
In May and June, it’s time to move the perennial herbs outdoors as soon as the last date of frost has passed. The plants will continue to get bigger and stronger and the pots are too small to continue growing them at this stage. But it’s also the perfect time to move them out into the garden. I then move the annuals into the pots on the window and pinch them back like I did the perennial plants. Of course, every time you pinch back a plant you’re harvesting herbs to use in your kitchen! I also start another tray of annual herbs for the summer.
In July and August, I keep harvesting all herbs from the garden outside and from the pots inside. When the annual herbs indoors are worn out or I’ve harvested them too heavily, then I move the next set of seedlings into place. It’s at this time that I also take root cuttings of my perennial herbs. You can see how to do that here.
In September and October, I harvest the rest of the annual herbs, change out the soil, and move the perennials or cuttings to the soil indoors.
In November and December, I grow and harvest the perennial herbs indoors, pinching them back to create bushier plants and repotting them into larger containers as they grow.
Then I start back at the beginning with seed starting in January and February!
I hope this growing schedule helps you grow the herb garden of your dreams!
Now, here are some ideas for what to do with all of your herbs once you harvest them:
This season, I planted tiny currant tomatoes from seed and they are delightful!!! Get the seeds from Territorial Seed Catalog. I haven’t seen them anywhere else. They grew into a pretty tall bushy mass, a little too big for their pot, but they’re OK. They come in the golden variety, too, but I like the red ones as a special accent in salads. These are really special and unusual.