Grow Herbs Indoors With Artificial Light | The Basics

If you have never tried to grow herbs indoors with artificial light because you thought it was too complicated, this article is for you.

Is actually quite easy to grow herbs indoors. There are two ways to talk about this topic, like a college professor and make it very complicated, or to make it dead easy simple for a beginner.

This article is going to make it simple for a beginner to grow kitchen herbs and spices, for the first time, or on a limited scale.

Here is the first lesson on keeping it simple:

Keeping It Simple: Grow lights: Full-spectrum grow lights are ideal for all herbs. Period.

 

Of course, there are some other options, but as promised, we want to keep things simple.

There are only a few bits of knowledge you need to soak in before you get started. Once you have these little foundation pieces in place, you can grow herbs to your hearts content.

The hardest part of any project is getting started. Hopefully, we will remove the fear and worries in getting started and point you the right direction. Whether you want to grow herbs year-round for cooking, or simply to have interesting houseplants with a beautiful fragrance, it’s up to you.

The fact of the matter is – growing herbs with artificial light is simple.

There are two major topics we’re going to talk about in this article:

  1. Selecting appropriate herbs.
  2. Selecting a grow light system that works for you.
Check out this quick video for 5 indoor grow light ideas:

Suggested Herbs That Grow Well Indoors With Artificial Light

I suggest starting with just a few herbs from the list below to get started. These are the most common herbs grown indoors.

Be Aware: The majority of herbs will grow really well with artificial light. But a couple herbs are not appropriate. Dill for example does not regenerate. You will pick it clean and have to replace the plant frequently.

 

You might want to try your hand at these common herbs we recommend:

Basil.

If I were allowed to have only five spices in my entire kitchen one of them would be basil. It is a foundation herb for many dishes, especially Italian cuisine. It can also be used as a leafy green and added to sandwiches and salads. It grows extremely well and regenerates itself.. Basil loves a rich potting soil and lots of light. Basil loves heat rich potting soil and lots of light. You will want to give it approximately 10+ hours of artificial light per day.

Chives.

I immediately think of baked potatoes and sour cream with chives. Chives are fairly easy plant to grow indoors, but remember they grow tall. Chives can easily be grown indoors under standard fluorescent lamps. If you want to see them take off and grow like mad use a high output T5 fluorescent plant grow light or metal halide or high pressure sodium plant lights. You can snip off individual leaves or give the whole plant a “hair cut” to keep floppy leaves orderly. Leave at least 2″ of growth so that plants can resprout. They like rich, organic soil and lots of light Chives grow best in bright ligh. You will want to give it approximately 10+ hours of artificial light per day..

Mint.

I use mint quite frequently when making iced tea. There are lots of different varieties of mint available besides your basic peppermint and spearmint. So, if you find a favorite, grow it. Mint grows like wild fire and may tend to take things over, see you want to make sure it has its own separate pot. They prefer a rich soil that is kept moist and moderate to strong light. Most are hardy perennials that can tolerate temperatures into the You will want to give it approximately 10+ hours of artificial light per day..

Oregano.

Thomas Then (own work) GFDL or CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A must for Italian, Mexican, Central American and Middle Eastern cuisines, oregano is actually amember of the mint family. Oddly enough when you dry out these leaves, they are stronger and more pungent than fresh.

Grow oregano as you would other mints. Water when the surface of the soil is dry,  water; but don’t let it dry out. Give the plants moderate to strong light. You will want to give it approximately 8-10 hours of artificial light per day.

Parsley.

Who doesn’t know about parsley? Restaurants use it as a garnish, only all the time. But it can actually be much more than simply a garnish. Fresh parsley can bring color and flavor to sauces, soups, and salads. It’s essential in tabbouleh, and delicious in pesto, stuffing, chicken, fish and vegetable dishes. They will flourish in a deep pot with rich, organic potting soil and strong light. Give it 10+ hours of artificial light per day.

Rosemary.

Rosemary is one herb I have never had trouble growing. I have had an outside plant for well over two years, it just keeps giving and giving. This spice is used a lot in chicken, pork, lamb, soups, potatoes and flavored olive oil. It’s also delicious in tomato and cream sauces. Snip 1-4″ sprigs and toss into soups, or strip the leaves and mince. Don’t overwater Rosemary as it can thrive in hot, sunny locations. It has to have strong light. give it approximately 10+ hours of artificial light per day.

Thyme.

Thyme is a very versatile herb and is used to accentuate flavors. Whenever I see time the lyrics of Scarborough fair go through my head ‘parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme’. Most herbs per for a moist rich organic soil mix . Thyme is a bit of an exception in that it likes fast-draining soil mix. Let the surface of the soil dry out but not to the point where the leaves start wilting. It likes lots of light. 10+ hours of artificial light per day.

Those were our top picks but you also might want to consider:

  • Lemon Balm
  • Tarragon
  • Vietnamese Coriander
  • Bay
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

You will pick up some good tips from this video, 

Beginners’ Gardening Tips : How to Maintain an Indoor Herb Garden

Selecting An Indoor Artificial Light To Grow Herbs

Like plants need water they also need light. Light can come from different sources. It can come from natural sources like the sunlight that comes through the windows. It can come from overhead lighting or from artificial desk light. Natural light is brighter than artificial. Obviously, in this article we are going to be discussing artificial light.

In the previous section, under each herb we made recommendations on how long to have an artificial light on for that particular plant.

Those are minimum recommendations.

Some growers advocate having the light on for 12 to 18 hours per day for plants which require ‘direct sun’. Artificial light is not as potent as natural sunlight therefore plants need more of it.

For plants, the red and blue parts of the light spectrum are the most important energy sources. Plants require more from the red/orange rays of the lighting spectrum than the blue rays. Leaves of plants reflect and take a little energy from many of the yellow and green rays visible in the light spectrum as well.

These are the best lights for beginners to use:

Highest Recommendation: LED Grow Lights.

These are the newest type of grow lights on the market and ones we strongly recommend. They generate very little heat, they are extremely energy efficient, and produce healthy plants. The best ones to get are the LEDs which combine the red and blue parts of the light spectrum needed for growth. This flat panel grow light sold on Amazon is light in weight, has colored bulbs in the right proprtion and easy to hang or you can go for a complete unit:

 AeroGarden Bounty, Touch Screen Controls w/Herb Seed Pod Kit – 9 Pods Plant Grow LED Light Kit, Indoor Herb Garden with Timer Function LED LIGHT GARDEN Self-Timing and Self Watering Grow Fresh Herbs

Mild Recommendation – Incandescent:

This is your standard light bulb. It can be made to work as a last resort. Incandescent light bulbs can be used in combination with natural or other light forms. These types of light bulbs should not be the sole source of light for plants. For a plant to grow the watts should be at least 100 for an incandescent light bulb. This type of bulb gives off a lot of heat and the plant should be at least 2 feet away from this light source.

Helpful Tip: swap out that standard light bulb for a full spectrum grow bulb. You can still keep your original lamp with no additional expense.
Not Recommended: Fluorescent Grow Lights:

Fluorescent tubes provide good low to medium light for plants that require that type of light. But, virtually all herbs require strong light, not low to medium light that fluorescence provide.

There is alo the extra cost of special fixtures and ballast, But if you insist – In locations where no natural light is available it is recommended to use a combination of warm white light fluorescent tubes for their red spectrum rays and cool white for their blue spectrum rays. The cool whites give of very little heat so plants can stay cool. This is so even when they are placed close to the cool white.

These are available but more for special applications or advanced, large quantity growers:

The following lights all have their pluses and minuses. Remember, in the beginning of this article I said we can make things complicated or keep them simple? Using the following lights will move you into the more complicated realm. I just mention them in passing so you know they exist.

Metal Halide:

Metal Halide bulbs produce a lot of light in the blue spectrum. Depending on how bright they are they support all common plants indoors.

Halogen

Halogen are light bulbs that produce light similar to the sun. This makes them an ideal plant lights. They produce a great deal of heat and the plant should not be placed too close to them. Depending on how bright they are; they can be used for all types of indoor plants.

High Pressure Sodium

These types of lights are used in commercial greenhouses as a supplemental light source to promote blooms. They produce red/orange light spectrum rays but no blue. These lights are not recommended for buildings indoors.

Conclusion:

Okay, let sum things up. We tackled two major questions in this article and provided some detailed answers. Let’s really make it short and sweet. Here are the two questions and their answers.

Question #1: Which herbs are suitable for indoor growing with artificial light?

Answer: Just about all of them, with one or two exceptions.

Question #1: Which grow light system is best for beginners?

Answer: We recommend LED grow lights. They are easy, simple, and produce great results. Their technology has improved drastically.

There are also some grow light kits available which are recommended for beginners and are shown below.

We hope you enjoyed – “Grow Herbs Indoors With Artificial Light | The Basics”, and picked up some valuable information, tips and tricks.

Thanks For Visiting.

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