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Ask Avery: Can I Grow Herbs In An Apartment?

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Dear Avery,

I love to cook and want to plant an herb garden. The only thing is I live in an apartment and have limited space. Where do I start?


Herbaceous Hopeful


Dear Herbaceous,

First of all, you’re right on time for planning an herb garden! Winter is the best time to get started, regardless of the space you have. Here’s what I’d recommend to get you set up for success.

A row of herb planters outdoors

Creating a space

When you start planning your herb garden, it’s important to take into account the space you have and the weather conditions that come with it. Most herb gardens can actually thrive in small containers but will require lots of direct sunlight, so think about an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day. Knowing you’re in an apartment, this could look like:

  • A patio, stoop, or fire escape

  • A small section in your backyard (if you have one)

  • Or even indoors near a very sunny window 

Light is a critical, if not the most important, element of growing full, healthy, delicious herbs! They will not grow without it so make it your #1 priority when choosing your space. Be aware that an indoor herb garden will most likely require artificial lights as well as temperature and humidity control for the best yields

Overhead shot of gardening tools, gloves, and plastic pots

You should also think about whether or not you have room for a larger garden bed or want to keep it simple with a container-only set up. Whichever you choose, there are many options when it comes to small space gardening, including going vertical, special shelving to maximize room, or planting many herbs in a single planter.

Small herb pots with labels sticking out

Choosing your herbs

When choosing which herbs to grow, consider your space and the weather that comes with it. Some herbs like sage and rosemary won’t tolerate humidity. Basil and cilantro love it. You should also be wary of how you arrange your herbs. Certain plants love having neighbors and can even complement them as they grow. Thyme and lavender, for example, are basically best friends. Many herbs can also repel pests and attract pollinators. Others can negatively affect surrounding plants and should be isolated or, at the very least, stay in their own containers. Do your research before planting to avoid any unwanted spreading or hindrance to growth.

A woman watering her windowsill herb garden

Planting and arranging

Once you’ve decided on your herbs and what type of garden you want, now comes the fun part: planting and arranging! If starting from seeds, I suggest sowing them in greenhouse pots indoors in late winter so your herbs have ample time to root and get comfy. If you have the outdoor space, you can repot them outside in spring as early as March if it’s warm enough where you are. Just make sure to adhere to their regular watering schedule, especially in hotter months. When arranging, I always like to lay my pots out first to better visualize where each plant will go before doing any digging or transplanting. 

A mint plant next to a kitchen sink

Harvesting and pruning

As your herbs settle into their new space, make sure to prune and harvest regularly to encourage new growth. Watch for bolting – when flowers start to appear this typically means your herb is done growing for the season. 

I hope this was helpful, Herbaceous. Follow my tips and you should have plenty of yummy herbs to enjoy throughout spring, summer, and even fall! Let me know how you get on and good luck!



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