Hi everyone! This week, The Dirt continues right along with best practice tips & tricks for potting herbs indoors. Planting season is already winding down, meaning there’s only a few more weeks to get healthy herbs nicely established. The great part about indoor gardens though is the year long growth. So no more procrastinating! Lay down your cardboard, grab your basic tools (If you’re new to the series, check out the ‘Essential Tools for Beginners‘ post), and let’s get dirty 😉
Transplanting Steps & Giving Them the Good Stuff
At the risk of speaking ad nauseam about the importance of using good potting soil & pots with drainage, do it. Because potted herbs are confined to one space, they’re growing environments need a bit more attention. Each plant has its own light, soil, water, fertilizer, and even air flow requirements. For beginners, I highly suggest starting with 1-2 herbs, really learning their needs, and then growing your plant family.
Tiny House Hunters
1| Give them the home they’ve always wanted. Researching rooting requirements for each herb beforehand will help you choose the best pot style and keep your babies happy & healthy. Some have deep root systems (like thyme) while others like confined root balls (like lavender) so their potting needs will vary. Line the bottom of the selected pot with gravel or stones for extra drainage. Layer with enough soil over the gravel so when placed on top, the base of your herb lines up with the lip of the pot.
I’ve found that giving the herbs a light watering before repotting helps get them out of the plastic pots and decreases transplant shock. After watering, slowly upturn the carrier pot while grabbing the stem at the base. Gently shake & pull.
2| Loosen up the root mass to promote root growth in the new pot by massaging your fingers up through the bass. If you discover unhealthy roots, you can trim them with clean shears. Herbs are pretty resilient as long as the main roots & leaves are intact.
Tuck Them In
3| Just like you padded the space underneath the herb with dirt in step 1, you’ll need to surround the herb on all sides with more soil. Kinda like a dirt blanket. Don’t worry about packing it in tightly. If there is enough dirt to support the herb while watering, you’re in the sweet spot.
Potmates & Maintenance Overview
4| If you’re planting indoors, you might also be dealing with a small space. You can cut down on the number of pots you need by co-planting. Basically, this means you can group plants together with similar soil, light, & watering requirements.
If I scared you about over/underwatering, a good rule of thumb is to water once the top inch of soil is dried out until you develop your own schedule. On especially hot weeks, a daily misting can help tide herbs over until the next good soak.
Besides water, potted herbs don’t have a way of finding their own nutrients. Fertilize with a quarter strength liquid fertilizer every other week (unless it is a flowering herb, like lavender).
With the fertilizer your herbs will grow rapidly. They’ll need consistent pruning to be kept bushy. To harvest most herbs, pinch off leave in pairs directly at the stem making sure to always leave new nodes. Go for the big leaves first. They use up more of the plant’s energy that will keep it from growing more leaves.
That does it for this week! The Dirt will be temporarily on hold as ctrl + curate gears up for ‘Back to School’ posts. Let me know if you have any questions, and tag your plant pics with #plantscurated so I can see!