How to Grow Your
Italian Herb Garden Indoors

As every Indoor Gardener knows, sun, water, and soil are the basics for all plants.

Italian cooking herbs are so wonderful that a song was written about them: Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme, sung by Simon & Garfunkel. Actually, the herbs are so enticing, they named the whole album that way!

Singing for your supper never sounded so good.

The notes of the aroma floating across the air are as sweet as the musical notes.

Fresh herbs are best when added at the very end of cooking, and always better than dried.

Unfortunately, not everyone has room for an elaborate herb garden outside the kitchen door. For those who have no outdoor herbs - don't worry. Most Italian cooking herbs can be grown indoors just as easily.

Here are the information you need to grow happy, healthy, tasty Italian herbs.

Basil Leaves

Basil - basilico

  • Easy
  • Full sun
  • Low watering
  • Start from seed
  • Pinch back (loses taste after flowering) below flower nodes
  • Wash lightly only
  • Tear rather than cut for best flavor
  • Add to food just before it's done cooking

Bay Leaves - lauro

  • Bay laurel trees can be grown like bonsai
  • Leaves can be cut and used year-round
  • Cilantro from the Italian Herb Garden

  • Remove from food before serving

Cilantro - cilantro

  • Full sun
  • Keep soil well drained
  • Keep soil moist
  • Harvest seeds after both flowers and leaves turn brown
  • Use young leaves

Small Fennel Growing in Italian Herb Garden

Fennel - finocchio

  • Start from seed
  • Insure good drainage
  • Keep soil damp until germination (about 12 days)
  • Full sun
  • Prefers south window
  • Optional fluorescent grow lamps
  • Light watering - about 1x/2wks
  • Use young plants
  • Can divide and replant
  • Lightly toast seeds before using
  • Use the seeds after they're brown
  • Harvest leaves when plant reaches 6 inches

Garlic - aglio

  • Plant cloves pointy side up
  • Easy
  • Requires little attention
  • Dig out of soil when tops turn brown

Italian Herb Garden Oregano

Marjoram - maggiorana

  • Related to oregano but lighter and sweeter
  • Grow and use as you would Oregano

Oregano - origano

  • Easy
  • Grow from cuttings or root divisions
  • Full sun
  • Cut immediately after budding and before flowering

Parsley - prezzemolo

  • Difficult due to seeds
  • Soak seeds 2 days before planting
  • Change seed soaking water daily
  • Parsley in the Italian Herb Garden

  • Refrigerate soaked seeds
  • Pour boiling water over the soil plug
  • Use only well drained pots
  • Also, use large pots
  • Full sun, partial shade tolerated

Rosemary - rosemarino

    Rosemary twig

  • Full sun
  • Don't overwater
  • Keep well drained
  • Long-lasting
  • Separate leaves from stalk to use
  • Harvest the leaves whenever you like
  • Flowers are also edible

Sage - salvia

  • Partial sun
  • Prefers Western exposure 6 hrs/day
  • Purple Sage

  • Avoid drafts
  • Don't overwater
  • Plant seedlings or cuttings rather than seed
  • Rinse plant in sink or shower monthly
  • Use new shoots
  • When potting, add layer of stones at bottom
  • Cut back often to encourage more new shoots
  • Harvest after flowering occurs
  • Grows to about 1 ft
  • Don't harvest more than 1/2 the plant each year
  • Thyme in the Italian Herb Garden

  • Plants last about 3 years

Thyme - timo

  • Don't overwater
  • Needs sun
  • Use small containers
  • Pinch back leaves

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If you don't already have your herbs growing,
here's a great way to get them started.
The Grow Your Own Italian Herb Garden Kit
comes ready with chives, basil, and oregano.
There's also planters, instructions, and
even recipes included. Mangia!

As your Italian Herb Garden grows, please share your photos of herbs with us.

And if you've been cooking with clippings from the plants, we'd love to try your recipes. Click here to share your recipes using fresh herbs.

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