Basil plant flowering (Why and What to Do)

flowering basil

You can keep your basil plant from flowering to maintain the leaves’ taste or let it flower and use the basil flowers a number of ways.

Did you know that when a basil plant flowers, its leaves lose their flavor? By following a few simple steps, you can prevent your basil from flowering and keep enjoying those delicious leaves.

If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy basil, why not let it flower and use the beautiful blooms in your cooking? Basil flowers are edible and there are many recipes that call for fresh basil flowers, so get creative and add some flavor to your meals!

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why basil plants flower, and we will also provide some tips on keeping your basil plant from flowering & what to do if your basil plant starts to flower.

Why is my basil flowering?

There are actually a few reasons why basil plants may flower. One reason is that the plant is trying to go to seed. Sometimes called ‘bolting’ because basil is an annual.

This usually happens when the basil plant is stressed, such as when it doesn’t have enough water or nutrients. If this is the case, you should try to give your basil plant more water and/or fertilizer.

Another reason why basil plants flower is because they are getting too much light. Basil plants need about six hours of sunlight per day, so if they are getting more than that, they may start to flower. If this is the case, you should try to move your basil plant to a location where it will get less light.

basil plant flowering

Is basil safe to eat after it flowers?

Yes, basil is safe to eat after it flowers. In fact, the flowers are actually edible and quite tasty. You can add them to salads or use them as a garnish for other dishes.

What to do with basil flowers

Basil flowers can be used in a number of different ways. As we mentioned earlier, they are edible and can be added to salads or used as a garnish for other dishes.

The flower heads may be purple or white depending on the type of basil.

The Kitchen Herbs goes through 8 ways to use basil flowers.

  • Eat basil flowers
  • Make basil flower-infused vinegar
  • Brew some basil flower tea
  • Make basil flower butter
  • Make basil flower pesto
  • Leave them to flower
  • Collect basil seeds
  • Cut and keep them
basil flower vinegar

What to do if my basil plant flowers

Decide if you want to keep the basil plant for the leaves. If you do, then you can try to remove the flowers so that the plant will put its energy into making leaves again.

Pinch off the basil flowers as soon as you see them. Basil plants need to be pruned every two to three weeks.

If you don’t want to keep the basil plant for it’s leaves, then you can let it go to seed and save the seeds for next year. Then use the basil flowers to make something for yourself or as a gift.

How to prevent basil flowering

If you don’t want your basil plant to flower, there are a few things you can do. One option is to cut off the flowers as soon as they appear. This will prevent the plant from going to seed and will also help to keep the basil leaves looking and tasting fresh.

Another option is to try to stress the basil plant less. This means giving it more water and/or fertilizer, and also making sure that it gets the right amount of sunlight. By doing this, you can help to prevent the basil plant from flowering.

flowering basil


Is Basil still good after it flowers?

Yes, basil is still good after it flowers. In fact, the basil flowers are actually edible and quite tasty. You can add them to salads or use them as a garnish for other dishes. Although the taste of the basil leaves changes.

What to do with Basil when it starts flowering

There are a few things you can do with basil when it starts flowering. One option is to cut off the flowers as soon as they appear. This will prevent the plant from going to seed and will also help to keep the leaves looking fresh. Another option is to try to stress the basil plant less by giving it more water and/or fertilizer and making sure that it gets the right amount of sunlight. By doing this, you can help to prevent the basil plant from flowering.
You can also harvest the basil flowers and use them in salads or as a garnish for other dishes. Finally, you can leave the basil flowers on the plant and let them go to seed. Collecting the basil seeds can be done so that you can replant basil in the future.

When should I harvest my basil flowers?

You should wait until the basil flowers are fully open before cutting the stem just below the flower head. You can then store the basil flowers in a vase filled with water or dry them for later use.

More tips for growing your own basil

How to keep basil alive

How often to water basil

Final thoughts on Basil Plant Flowering

So, do you want to keep eating those delicious leaves? Pinch off the flowers. Letting basil flower is a great way to get some free flowers for your home, but it means you won’t be able to harvest any more leaves from your plants.

However, if you have enough plants, this could be a great way to stock up on some beautiful flowers for arrangements or flavored edible delicacies.

How often to water basil

watering basil plant

Basil is a thirsty plant- but this does not mean it is good to overwater it. Learning how often to water basil is part of basil plant care that I love to share here at Herb Growing Guide.

Whether you have indoor basil plants or purchased a supermarket basil pot, being able to harvest basil from your own homegrown organic herb garden is a luxury that can take your home cooking food to the next level with fresh basil leaves. Knowing how often to water your basil is an important factor in growing basil.

Basil watering tips

Basil requires about an inch (25.4mm) of watering per week. I prefer to split between two waterings per week. The soil I have contains pearlite and vermiculite so it is both well-drained and has water holding capacity.

  • First work out what half an inch of water is for your potted basil
  • To do this, find a similar diameter container and fill it until you have half an inch of water.
  • That is how much water to give per watering. Do these waterings twice a week.
  • If you see the basil plant looking wilted, and the soil feels dry, give it more water.
  • If you see the basil plant looking wilted, and the soil is wet, then do not water it.
  • If you struggle to figure out how much water to use, use a self-watering pot.
watering basil plant

I have grown basil for many years and used to make the mistake of overwatering it. This causes root rot and the plant does not thrive.

Getting the right amount of water gives you juicy basil leaves that taste good. Self-watering pots contain a reservoir below the pot and water wicks up to the basil plant. These have many advantages – just don’t overfill the reservoir as it makes a mess on your windowsill.

There are two reasons I grow basil – for culinary use and to attract bees.

If you are growing basil for culinary use, a balcony or window sill garden is ideal. It is a great herb to use in your cooking.

If you are growing basil in the ground in a vegetable garden, basil is also an excellent attractant for pollinators. I use perennial basil for this purpose and plant this all over my garden. It keeps solitary bees such as leafcutter and mason bees healthy.

How often to water basil seedlings

Basil seedlings are quite sensitive to overwatering. If you give them too much water they just do not come up. Use a misting spray for watering your basil seedlings.

My normal go-to choice for herbs and higher-value plants is to use a peat pot. These are biodegradable pots that come with a small highly absorbent coco coir pellet. You place the pellet in the pot, water the pot and the pellet swells to fill the pot with a compost soil-like substance.

how often to water basil seedlings

You then place your seedlings in the pots and they germinate and flourish quickly. For my area, I water these once and the seeds germinate.

This is a nice starter pack that has both the pots, coco coir pellets, and little marker pegs to write on. Ensure you use a permanent marker for this. I say this because I was just planting my spring garden and found I accidentally used a whiteboard marker and now I do not know what any of my seedlings are!!

How often to water basil in a pot

Every 2 days to maintain moist soil. You don’t want the soil to dry out and you don’t want to overwater it. So you must ensure the potting mix is moist to touch especially when growing indoor basil.

As mentioned in how to keep basil alive, basil develops a deep root system so make sure your pot is at least 10″ deep.

how often to water basil in pots

How often to water basil in winter

Basil comes in two broad types. Perennial basil – this does not die in winter if you keep it warm. Annual basil – this dies in winter.

For perennial basil, you need to reduce watering a bit in winter – try the equivalent of half an inch of water a week, and see how the herb plant looks. If it gets a bit dry, you can give a little more water. In winter, the plants are more sensitive to overwatering.

How much water does potted basil need?

Do you water basil from the top or bottom?

This will depend on your pot. If it is a normal pot, with a tray, water from the top.

If you have a wicking pot, then water by filling the reservoir and letting the wick take water to the potted basil. My experience with wicking pots is that they really take a lot of the stress out of growing herbs and many plants. This is a new technology that makes it easier for busy herb growers to water their basil plant.

With a wicking pot as described above, you will find sometimes there is a bit of salt accumulation on the soil surface. If you see this, remove the pots from the reservoir, place them in the shower and give them half a minute of cold shower rain. This washes the salts through the soil and solves that problem.

How much water does potted basil need?

The equivalent of one inch of rainfall a week. This means enough water to cover the surface of your pot in one inch of water. It is ideal to split this into two waterings. IE 2 x half an inch per week.

Do you need to water basil daily?

Herbs need to have a few days to toughen up between watering. If you water them too often, they become very bland tasting. All plants generally benefit from a twice-weekly watering regime as it forces them to develop a deeper root network. Deeper roots find more nutrients, making your plant healthier to eat.

For more herb growing tips on how to keep basil alive read this article.

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How to grow herbs indoors without sunlight

herbs in white pots in the shade, Growing Herbs Indoors Without Sunlight

Growing your own herbs indoors is a great way to save money, and the best part is that you don’t need any sunlight at all! There are many other benefits as well such as having fresh, organic herbs whenever you want them.

Growing herbs indoors without sunlight, especially in winter, can be done with proper lighting and care – which isn’t as hard as it sounds. You can grow all kinds of different types of herb plants in just about anything. Today I’m going to show you how to easily grow 9 different types of herb plants indoors without sunlight!

Here is what you need to know in order to start growing herbs indoors:

Plants need light for photosynthesis which is the process where they convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose. If it is not possible for your indoor herb garden to be near a window with sunlight then you will want to consider artificial light.

Grow lights

Growing herbs indoors without sunlight can be achieved by using grow lights. There are many types of grow lights, including fluorescent lights, high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, and LED light panels. My favorite are LED grow light panels. Growing herbs indoors without sunlight can be done by using fluorescent lighting but it is harder because they don’t cover a large growing area.

Herbs just require a little extra care when raised inside. If a grow lamp is being used, a bit of an investment will be needed at the beginning. Once things have begun to move along, however, the herbs can thrive as well as they would outside. The beauty and practical uses herbs provide make the initial effort well worth it.

growing herbs indoors with LED grow light panels

LED Grow Lights

LED grow lights are a great way to save money, power, and time for your indoor herb garden. They provide bright white light which plants need for photosynthesis while emitting very little heat. LED grow lights allow for a constant, long-lasting source of energy needed for the plant to live – which means you get to skip having to change out bulbs or use a lot of complicated electrical equipment. The best part is that they only cost about $20!

Growing herbs in pots

On a humid day, we like to wear clothes that breathe, and let air through to our skin. Herbs are kind of like people in that way. If the place they will be kept is humid, then herbs like for their pot to be made of breathable material. Except, for plants, breathable clothing doesn’t mean cotton. It means clay or terra cotta pot without glaze.

Herbs don’t like standing around in the water. Their roots can rot. So before starting, make sure all potted herbs have plenty of drainage holes.

And don’t forget you will have water leaking out of those drainage holes, so your pots will need drain plates.

What type of soil are you using to grow your herbs indoors?

Growing herbs indoors without sunlight requires special cacti soil or another light, porous potting mix for optimal growth. Choose a potting mix that drains well and also holds the moisture in. Look for ingredients like perlite, or vermiculite.

Using regular potting soil will make the plant too damp, which can cause root rot; not to mention that it will also pack down easily and then dry out quickly. Growing herbs indoors without sunlight requires well-draining soil, preferably with some sand (to help lighten up the mix). Buying an indoor potting mix such as this indoor miracle-Gro can make it easier to grow herbs inside.

indoor herb garden

What fertilizer is best for herbs

Giving herbs too much fertilizer can be worse than none at all. Some synthetic fertilizers can build up and leave residue in the soil.

A natural fertilizer (like fish and kelp) at half strength once or twice a month is usually sufficient. The best fertilizer for herbs in pots contains nitrogen, phosphorus & potassium to support new roots, leaf growth and strong stems.

The best part about growing your own herbs indoors is that you’ll always know what chemicals went into the growing process.

You may want to make your own organic fertilizer or redirect some of your kitchen waste such as fruit peel, coffee grounds and banana peels into making an easy herb fertilizer.

What are the best herbs to grow indoors in low light?

Herbs to grow indoors include Basil, Chives, Lemongrass, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme & Vietnamese Coriander. Growing herbs indoors is a great way to add flavor to your cooking year-round.


Basil is a delicious fresh herb that can be used on all kinds of dishes including salads, pastas and more. Growing basil indoors is a great way to always have some on hand for your cooking needs. Basil can be grown indoors under a grow light.

growing basil indoors without sunlight


Mint is an easy herb plant to start from seed and will continue to spread quickly so plan accordingly! Mint will do quite well growing indoors. Growing mint also makes for a perfect herbal remedy to help cool off your body and mind in the summertime! Mint can be grown indoors as long as there is a large window with southern exposure or a grow light nearby.


Chives are another easy herb plant to start from seed and will continue to spread quickly so plan accordingly! Chives are an excellent natural food preservative since they have antiseptic properties! They are a elative of garlic and onions, with a much milder flavor. Used in sauces, eggs, sandwiches-anywhere a light onion flavor is desired.


Lemongrass is a fragrant plant that can be used in teas, vegetable dishes, and rice. Growing lemongrass indoors can be a little tricky but once you get the hang of it is easy to maintain. Lemongrass likes indirect light and moist soil so make sure to water every day or every other day.


Oregano is a delicious herb that is great for seasoning meats, soups, and more! Growing oregano inside is not only easy but also saves money since buying fresh herbs at the store can be expensive! Oregano can grow up to 2 feet tall with good care-so space accordingly! To grow oregano indoors start from seed or buy an established plant.


Parsley is a delicious green herb that can be used in salads, sauces and much more. Growing parsley indoors can be done easily as long as you provide the right amount of light! Parsley likes indirect sunlight so make sure to keep it away from any bright lights or windows. If kept too hot parsley will go into shock resulting in yellow leaves. Growing parsley indoors can be tricky for this reason! Read how to take care of a parsley plant here.

how to grow parsley indoors


Rosemary is another delicious herb that holds up well when dried but tastes better fresh. Growing rosemary indoors requires bright light which makes southern exposure the best option. Rosemary needs good drainage so don’t forget to include some sort of tray underneath your pot with holes to prevent water from building up around the roots. Other


Growing thyme indoors can be done easily as long as you provide the right amount of light! Growing thyme indoors requires bright indirect sunlight. Thyme likes dry soil so make sure to keep it away from any excess water which will rot the roots.

Vietnamese Coriander

Used in fresh rice paper rolls, spring rolls, salads & curry. Growing Vietnamese coriander indoors is done best in a pot with southern exposure.

Growing herbs indoors provides fresh flavors throughout all seasons making it easy to maintain year-round! Growing herbs also allows you to save money since it’s super affordable to use an indoor growing setup instead of always buying fresh herbs

Growing herbs under artificial light means there’s no waiting for spring or summer, or even winter in colder climates, just easy access to fresh flavors any time.

growing vietnamese coriander indoors


What wattage is needed for growing herbs indoors?

You’ll need at least 50 watts, but 100 watts is recommended if you intend on growing them for longer than two months. For example, 100-watt bulbs are generally recommended for greenhouses during the winter.

What type of lighting do you need to grow herbs indoors?

Generally speaking, you’ll need either natural or fluorescent lighting; however, there are plenty of other options depending on what type of setup you choose to go with. There are fluorescent lights, metal halide lights, and high-pressure sodium lights (which can get quite expensive).

If you’re looking for something that’s cheaper, then simply opt for fluorescent lighting; however, these will only work best in areas where you can keep them at least six inches away from the plant.

And if your area isn’t lit well enough, be sure to make it up with natural lighting (by having your windows uncovered). Growing herbs indoors without sunlight is possible, but it does require a slightly different setup.

Growing herbs indoors how many seeds?

When growing herbs indoors, one seed per container between 7-10″ apart is a great rule of thumb to stick with. If you’re Growing basil in a small pot then only plant 2-3 seeds per pot and thin out the others after they’ve sprouted.

How many hours of lighting do herbs need indoors?

When growing herbs inside make sure they get at least 20 hours of bright light from Fluorescent lighting and supplement with Natural Sunlight from a window during the day if possible.

Check out our other growing guides.

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The ultimate herb gardening for beginners guide

herb gardening

Do you want to start a herb garden at home? Do you enjoy planting things in your garden and watching them grow into something beautiful that brings joy to your kitchen?

Growing herbs is not only easy but also very versatile when it comes to preparing meals. For this reason, herb gardens are becoming increasingly popular. Herb gardens are great for first-time gardeners who do not want to go through the hassle or expense of maintaining a larger garden plot. In this herb gardening guide for beginners, we go through the essentials you need to get started.

To start a herb garden at home you need to know a bit about the different types of herbs, what they need to grow and how to take care of them once they are planted.

Growing herbs indoors or outdoors depends on your particular needs and preferences. Many herbs can also be grown in both an indoor and outdoor garden with a few exceptions. Let’s look at a few different types of herb gardens and what they require.


Herb gardens require good, quality soil that has been enriched with nutrients to ensure optimum growth. Herbs can either be planted in the ground or in pots.

You can purchase a special mix or make your own at home using compost and other ingredients such as food waste from your kitchen. You will want to check on what particular herbs you are growing to see if they have any additional needs when it comes to the soil. Some plants require more acid soil while others prefer alkaline conditions.

Herb plants also need good drainage, so be sure to add stones or other material into the soil to help with this. Over time, soil becomes depleted of nutrients so it needs to be replaced with fresh soil every few years.

herb garden for beginner


Indoors or outdoors? The best option is usually determined by where you live because some plants need lots of sun while others do well with partial sun – there are also plants that will grow just fine indoors. It’s very important to consider what the herb needs and plant accordingly.

If you’re planting indoors all you will need is a sunny corner for your seeds or young plants to sit in once they sprout – otherwise you can grow them under fluorescent lights. Make sure there’s plenty of room between the little seedlings so they don’t compete for nutrients and space.

Temperature and humidity

Herb gardens are also very sensitive to temperature conditions, so if you live in an area that stays below freezing during the winter months, where your herbs may freeze, you will need to make sure they are protected with mulch or some other material that retains heat.

When growing herbs from seeds they should be planted in a little bit of moist soil – not dry or overly wet – and then covered with a thin layer of mulch material such as straw to retain moisture. Once your seedlings have started growing, remove the mulch to prevent overheating and grubs from becoming an issue. In the event that it gets too hot, you can always shade your herb garden with a piece of plywood or another lightweight object.


If you are starting your herb garden from seedlings, seeds that have sprouted, they need the same treatment until they are big enough to plant outside near their permanent homes (if they will be staying).

Before this process begins, you will want to acclimate your young plants to outdoor conditions by having them spend a few days outside during the day and bringing them inside at night to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

If you are not experienced in the art of herb gardening, growing from seed is your best bet. Starting with young plants can be expensive and require a more skilled hand on some herbs such as basil.

young herb plants

Pots and containers for your herbs

Herb gardens can also include various types of container plants such as hanging pots, outdoor woven baskets with holes in the bottom for drainage, and other similar options.

Herb plants that grow well in containers do not like spending time in wet soil, so be sure that the potting soil is porous enough to allow excess water to drain out after you give it a good watering.

Indoor herb garden

Container gardening can be used for growing herbs indoors or outdoors. Some people set up a sunny windowsill herb garden in the kitchen so it is eas also be grown in a vertical wall garden. You can even buy herb garden kits with everything you need to get started. This one comes with a LED grow light.

Indoor gardening is fun and great to get the kids involved. Just ensure you have well-drained soil to keep your herbs happy.

Watering your herbs

Herb gardens should be kept constantly moist but not wet. This allows the roots to grow freely and does not cause any type of disease from fungi or bacteria.

Do not let your potted herbs dry up completely between waterings either – this will cause root rot and kill your plants.

Watering every day or two is good practice if the weather is dry, but most importantly, your herb garden must be fertilized regularly.

Fertilizer for herbs

A herb plant will last longer when fertilized about once a month using fertilizer specially made for vegetables and herbs. You can purchase fertilizer at any nursery or home improvement store or make your own fertilizer.

I prefer to use organic fertilizer in my herb garden because it has no chemicals to damage plant roots or leave residue on the leaves that could become poisonous if consumed.

indoor herb garden

Herb gardenning for beginner tips for planning your herb garden

When deciding where you want to place your herb garden:

– Find out how much space you have available and the amount of sunlight. This will help you pick your herbs and varieties.

– look for an area that gets plenty of sun (but not too much)

– consider the soil conditions and if you need to improve them

– do not plant in areas with extreme heat or cold unless you are prepared for your plants to die

– find an area that is protected from wind gusts – this will keep your herb garden looking fresh and prevent damage

– It all starts with proper research and planning before planting anything. Knowing which herbs do well together will help keep your herb garden healthy and looking good.

– Keep in mind that many herb plants need a lot of room to grow, so do not plant them too close together or they will compete for nutrients from the soil. They can always be pruned or thin

Herb gardens can easily be expanded by just planting more herbs! It’s important to note that whatever type of herb gardening method you use, it will require regular care.

What is your intention for growing a herb garden?

Do you want to grow culinary herbs or a medicinal herb garden? Do you want to grow herbs for their aroma? Some people plant a fragrant herb outside to enhance an entertaining area?

Depending on your intention will determine which herbs you plant, where to plant them, and how to take care of your herb garden.

drying culinary herbs

What culinary herbs do you want to plant?

If you love cooking, it’s time to think about what culinary herbs you want to plant in your garden. Herbs are a great addition to any outdoor or indoor space because they add beauty and flavor all at once! Here is a list of some of the best culinary herbs that will be sure to please:

1) Parsley – This one is a classic herb with an earthy flavor that pairs well with almost anything. Not only can it spice up salads, soups, and stews but it also makes for a healthy snack on its own when harvested young. In fact, parsley contains more vitamin C than oranges! It also helps eliminate toxins from the body so this is definitely one herb worth growing if you have children or pets around your home.

2) Basil – This aromatic herb can be used to add a burst of flavor in any dish from pasta sauce, pesto, and salad dressing! It’s also great just to add a sprig here and there because it smells so good. Basils come in many varieties ranging from purple to green or even striped. Grow this one near your tomatoes for a natural repellant that keeps the pesky insects away. It will also repel mice too so if you have a problem with them in your garden, then grow basil!

3) Oregano – This herb is what gives Italian dishes that classic flavor. It’s great for marinara sauce, soups and stews, and spaghetti. If you find yourself eating a lot of Italian food, then growing oregano is a no-brainer. It’s also great for teas and sachets so if you want to add another herb in your garden that doubles as decoration, try growing oregano.

4) Thyme – This delicate and flavorful foliage can be used in most dishes with white meats like chicken, fish, and pork. Many people use thyme for pickling vegetables too! This is another herb that can be used to make delicious teas or sachets so consider adding this herb to your indoor or outdoor garden if you like cooking with herbs.

coriander cilantro

5) Cilantro – This fresh herb is commonly used in Mexican cuisine to enhance the flavor of tacos, egg dishes, and salsa. However, this herb has an intense taste but it is very good for you! Cilantro is actually great at detoxifying the body so if you have any heavy metals or toxins in your system then growing cilantro is a must.

6) Rosemary – This fragrant and beautiful herb smells like pine and pairs well with meat, bread, and cheese. It can also be used to make lovely tea or sachets if you want another herb to grow indoors or out. Plus, it attracts butterflies so this would definitely be a great addition to your herb garden.

7) Mint – This herb is very versatile in the kitchen because you can add it to many different dishes like salads, soups, sauces, and even desserts! It may be invasive though so don’t plant mint near any other herbs or flowers unless you want them all to smell great. You can also use mint for tea or sachets for natural air fresheners like these ones.

Which herb do you use in the kitchen the most?

Many people have a favorite herb they use the most in their cooking. I love to use cilantro because it is so versatile and can be added to almost any dish. I love using it in guacamole, scrambled eggs, stir-fries & curries. It’s also very healthy which makes it even better!

Have a think about what herb you buy the most at the grocery store and start your herb garden growing that herb. Before I started my herb garden I used to find myself buying bunches of cilantro and parsley all the time. Now I can snip them off from my herb garden whenever I need them.

medicinal herbs for tea

What plants do you grow or hope to grow in your medicinal herb garden?

Some people might think this is a silly question, but I love to grow medicinal herbs in my garden for health purposes. They are great to make herbal tea.

Some are more popular than others but they all have their own unique properties and attributes.

– Dandelions

– St. John’s Wort

– Chamomile

– Lavender

– Echinacea

– Lemon balm (useful when someone has insomnia or anxiety),

– garlic chives (they’re great if you don’t want your family members near you when they have a cold)

The list goes on! You can grow these herbs in separate containers or mix them into your garden together. They will still look great and you’ll be amazed at how much they benefit your health. What medicinal herbs do you hope to plant in your herb garden?

There are all sorts of reasons why people like growing herbs- it can be fun, you get fresh air and exercise, and it’s good for the environment. I hope you feel more confident after reading this herb gardening for beginners guide. Herb gardens are beautiful and practical additions to your home. Give them a shot, you won’t regret it!

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these links.

How to keep basil alive

basil plant

My basil graveyard was growing so in my Fawlty Towers I knew I had to learn how to keep basil alive. I have never killed a basil plant outdoors – this is a tough herb. However, growing a basil plant indoors is another story. Especially supermarket basil.  

I’ve now learned how to keep basil alive. I know what basil needs to grow indoors or outdoors and what kills basil. Now my basil plant is bushy and I have it readily available for my kitchen adventures. 

Fresh basil is bursting with flavor and takes a pesto or pasta to the next level. I have developed these basil growing tips to help you ensure your supermarket basil, potted basil or backyard basil thrives too.

Seasonal Versus Perennial Basil

Something really, important to understand with basil is that there are different types; seasonal basil or perennial basil.

Seasonal basil grows on a lengthening day from spring to mid-summer – as the days begin to get shorter, it will flower and eventually die.

What is a lengthening day? 

After the winter solstice, the days get longer, and the result is that this reduces the trigger for flowering in many herbs. Basil is one of those – as the days get shorter, it just sort of gives up. So in spring, your days are getting longer, and the plant figures it has a good run ahead of it, so it invests in leaves, and then as the days start to get shorter, it pushes more and more energy to flowers and seeds so it can die and know its babies are waiting in the soil for spring.

Perennial basil will grow year-round as long as you keep it sheltered from extreme cold. It will flower more as the days get shorter, but it will not die.

Perennial basil is best bought from a nursery – I have had little luck growing it from seeds (It is often a hybrid and does not form fertile seeds). Another place to get a perennial plant is from a friend – take a cutting, stick it in soil, remove most of the leaves and leave the growth shoot. You should have a rooted cutting in a week or two.

I have grown Basil of various types for nearly twenty years. I started with sweet Genovese basil. This is an extremely easy-to-grow perennial basil. I enjoy snapping leaves off and eating them when I am in the garden, but I keep a pot or two close to the kitchen so I can nip out and get a sprig or two for cooking.

As time progressed, I learned about all the weird and wonderful basil types out there and began growing perennial basil. As mentioned the best place to get perennial basil is from a nursery, or take a cutting from a friend’s plant.

basil growing tips

How to keep basil alive – Basil growing tips

  1. Buy good potting soil. Basil needs soil that retains moisture but does not get soggy. It needs to be healthy soil, but not too rich. This is good soil
  1. Grow seasonal basil at the start of the season in spring. Perennial basil can be purchased and grown at any time of the year irrespective of the season, as long as you can keep it in a frost-free environment.
  1. Do not overwater basil. This is a herb. It needs to struggle just the right amount to bring out its flavor. If you overwater it, you will either make it grow too fast and taste bad or kill it. A simple soil moisture meter can help you learn the amount of water to give your plant. For Basil, you want your soil at the lower end of the moist reading. Basil does not like to be drowned.

How do I keep basil alive indoors?

To keep basil alive indoors you need to ensure you have the right pot, light, temperature, water, and space.


If you are keeping basil indoors remember this is a plant that develops an extensive root system. I have grown basil in deep compost soil, and when I dug the plants out – after nearly two feet, I could still find roots. In my experience, a pot that is 10” or so deep will be fine for basil.

Therefore, when growing potted basil indoors you need to ensure that the basil plant has a deep pot to grow in. Basil is a beautiful plant and an elegant pot highlights this – this pot is similar to a pot I have used in the past for growing purple basil. If you are not looking to spend a fortune on a pot you could try these fabric pots. I prefer a fabric pot for herbs as it gives a lot of oxygenation to your soil. Basil thrives in these fabric pots You can place them on a big tray to prevent water from getting all over your house or apartment.

how to keep basil alive indoors


Your basil plant needs a few hours a day of direct sunlight – these are herbs from sunny parts of the world, and if they do not get enough sunlight they just give up and die. Find a windowsill where they will get at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight.


Temperatures below 50 °F will lead to your plants getting stunted and failing to survive. Ideally, if your plants get a few hours in the 80-90 °F range per day you will have the best-tasting leaves. These temperatures allow the roots to work optimally transporting minerals to the leaves.


As mentioned above, ensure you do not overwater your basil. It is easier to ensure that you do not overwater with the fabric bags, as these bags regulate moisture well. However, if you do water excessively you can wash nutrients out of your soil.


Basil likes a bit of space. Plant a few plants in a pot and then thin these to one plant as they grow. A single basil plant can get very large, hence giving it a bit of space will result in more basil to harvest than having a few plants fighting with each other in one pot.

how to keep basil alive outdoors

How to keep basil alive outdoors

If you are growing basil directly in the soil, and your minimum temperatures are above 50 °F with daytime temperatures in the 80-90 °F range then there is very little you can do to kill basil.

Trim the basil plants frequently, and cut off flowers when they develop – this will encourage the plant to bush out.

Do not overwater. Naturally digging a bit of compost into the soil will help. If your soil is very high in clay, a raised bed will help.

What kills basil?

If your temperatures are too low (50°F or lower), and your daylight hours are short (winter) basil will die.

If you overwater your basil it will die. This plant needs its roots to have oxygen. If you overwater the plants, the roots drown and die. See above about soil moisture meters. If the leaves look dry and wilted, and the soil is wet, you have overwatered your plant.

If you underwater your basil plant it will also die. If the leaves look dry and wilted, and the soil is dry your plant is underwatered. Give it a little bit of water. It is easy to add water, but difficult to remove.

Shade – basil is a photosynthetic plant – it uses sunlight to make sugar, and sugar to run its metabolism. If it does not get enough sunlight, it will starve and die. It needs at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day, and a few more hours of indirect sunlight.

growing basil


How do I make my basil plant last longer?

I have often had kind friends bring me these little supermarket herb plants when they come to supper. This is normally a basil plant planted in nutrient-free coco-coir, which has been fed hydroponic nutrients. This makes the plant look great. However, a week or two after you have it in your house it runs out of nutrients and dies.

SOLUTION >> Transplant these plants into a bigger pot as they need space for their roots. Basil, once it has enough soil and light, is a very difficult plant to kill.

Why are my basil leaves turning brown?

Too dry – if the plant has insufficient water, the leaves will turn brown.
Nutrient deficient – transplant into a bigger pot with nutrient-rich soil.
Not enough light – Place the plant in a spot where it gets a few hours of light a day, and where the temperature does not stay below 50 °F at night.

Why do my basil plants keep dying?

If you are killing your basil plants, you need to pay attention to giving them what they need.
Soil – transplant to a bigger pot with good gardening soil 
Sunlight – move them to a sunny spot
Heat – Basil does not thrive if temperatures go below 50°F
Moisture – Too much or too little will cause leaves to die

These are the most important things to keep basil alive. You may also wish to consider fertilizer to give your basil plant the essential macro and micronutrients it needs to thrive. Read more on the best organic fertilizer for herbs here or how to make fertilizer from kitchen waste.

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How to make fertilizer from kitchen waste?

fruit peel fertilizer

Are you chucking out food scraps from your kitchen that you can use as free fertilizer for your herbs? There are many simple ways we can make fertilizer from kitchen waste that can be used for our herb garden. Coffee grounds, eggshells, banana peels and fruit peel can all be used to make the easiest fertilizer for your herbs.

Kitchen waste

1.3 billion tonnes of food gets wasted in the world every year according to the UN environment programme. This is one-third of the amount produced. When this food waste goes into landfill it creates greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. 

If our kitchen waste can be diverted from landfill and instead be used to create an organic fertilizer for our garden this is so much more sustainable for our planet. You can add your food scraps to a compost pile or even make your own liquid fertilizer.

Fruit peel fertilizer

Do you want to create your own fruit peel compost and fertilizer for your plants? It’s a great way to save money, be environmentally friendly, and have some fun! You can do it yourself with just a few simple steps. I’ll show you how below.

First, what you’ll need: 

– fruit (any kind) 

– a compost bin or container with holes in the bottom for drainage and aeration. You can also use a trashcan if it has these features. 

– water source to help break down the peels faster. This could be kitchen faucets, hoses, or fountains.

– compost starter such as manure, coffee grounds, and/or worm castings 

– a shovel for mixing the peels with soil and other ingredients to help speed up the decomposition process. You can also use your hands if you don’t have this available! It just might get messy. 🙂 

Now that you have your supplies gathered, it’s time to get started.

– Remove all stems and leaves from the fruit or peel 

– After peeling the whole fruit, cut it up into smaller pieces so they can fit in a compost bin easier. 

– Follow instructions for your type of container on how to mix and layer the items. 

– Take your compost out to where you want it added daily or weekly, break up with a shovel, and leave for about six weeks (or longer if needed). 

If done correctly, this is an easy step-by-step process that can make beautiful frugal fertilizer in no time at all!

kitchen waste fertilizer from fruit peel

Are coffee grounds good fertilizer for herbs?

Yes! Coffee grounds are a rich source of nitrogen at about 2% by mass nitrogen. I outlined in this article on the best fertilizer for herbs why nitrogen is important for herbs. 

To compare, cow manure, depending on whose analysis you read, has between 1 and 3% nitrogen. 

Coffee grounds also contain significant amounts of potassium, phosphate and minor trace elements such as zinc. 

After we make our morning coffee the coffee grounds are normally thrown away with kitchen waste. These however represent an excellent material with which to make organic fertilizer for our herbs. This ground coffee can just be hand sprinkled over your garden or added to your worm farm or compost pile..

Benefits of adding coffee grounds to soil

If we look at soil, it is a complex ever-changing mixture. The organic matter, if it can be broken down, is eaten by different fungi and microbes to the point where eventually there is very little of it left. Only the nutrients. The carbon all gets turned into carbon dioxide and goes back into the carbon cycle.

However – if organic matter is burnt, some of the organic compounds in the matter get turned into “charcoal” like compounds that cannot be broken down by bacteria. Others get turned into humic substances which are similar. 

Coffee grounds contain considerable quantities of these compounds which add to your stored soil carbon. Soil carbon is very very important for the overall quality of your soil as it helps give soil structure, stores water and nutrients that plants need and feeds beneficial microbes.

fertilizer from kitchen waste

Why eggshells make good fertilizer for herbs

Eggshells are a great source of calcium, being composed almost entirely of calcium carbonate. Calcium is needed in cell walls and membranes for structural roles in plants. Calcium carbonate is not soluble, hence we need to find a way to make it available to plants.

How do you fertilize plants with eggshells?

Calcium can be extracted from eggshells by increasing the surface area and then letting it decompose. The surface area can be increased by making crushed eggshells and then allowing this eggshell powder to decompose by the beneficial bacteria and microbes in the garden. 

Dry the eggshells out on a baking sheet in your oven
Crush the eggshells with your hand or blitz them in a blender or thermomix to make ground eggshell. 
Sprinkle this natural fertilizer over your hot compost or mulch.

Why banana peel makes good fertilizer for herbs

Banana skins are a minor source of potassium. I have had many people over the years tell me that banana skins are rich in potassium – I cannot find a single scientific paper to prove this. It appears to be a self-repeating urban legend.

Banana skins are however an excellent scaffold for microbes to grow on, and these microbes will break down other parts of the compost mixture to make minerals bioavailable.

How to use banana peels as fertilizer for herbs

The easiest way to use your banana peels is to:

  • let them soak in a jar of water for a few days and then 
  • pour this water around the base of your herbs. 

If you have a worm compost you can:

  • Chop up the banana peel to increase the surface area then
  • Add to this your worm farm

If you’re feeling adventurous you can also make a homemade fertilizer using your banana peels, coffee grounds and eggshells. I have shared a recipe below for organic liquid fertilizer. 

How to use banana peels as fertilizer for herbs
Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

How to make organic liquid fertilizer from kitchen waste

  • Place all of your coffee grounds, eggshells and banana peels in a 5 gallon bucket each day and close the lid.

There is no rush here – the whole mixture will start to compost in the bucket. 

  • Place a few handfuls of good quality potting soil in the bucket. This is a source of microbes that can assist in the composting process.
  • When your bucket is half full, take a small garden spade/shovel and dig downwards into the bucket to break up all the egg shells. I normally crush these with my hands before placing them in the bucket, and this helps to break them up more.

This will also compact the mixture downwards. When the bucket is genuinely half full, you are ready to make fertilizer. 

Adding Molasses and Kombucha

  • Place two cups of black strap molasses in the bucket and a cup of kombucha. The mixture is now full of all sorts of beneficial microbes.

Molasses provides a source of sugars to drive the fermentation which will make the minerals bioavailable to our plants.

Kombucha contains acids that will dissolve the calcium carbonate in the egg shells, and also help to make some of the nutrients in the coffee available.

  • Make a small hole in the lid of the bucket, and put a small fish tank aeration pump such as this on the lid of the bucket and place the hose through the hole. Put the airstone on the end of the hose and allow the pump to aerate the mixture.

The small is quite mysterious – every time I do this the mixture has a different smell. One time it smelt really bad. Another time there was an amazing raspberry smell and we actually left the bucket in the house as it smelt so good.

Generally, it is a good idea to start the process off outside, or on a balcony, and if the smell is not bad, you can make a call after that. 

  • If it is cold, place a small fish tank heater in the bucket and set it at about 75°F. The heater will allow microbial life to flourish.
  • Allow the process to run for at least two weeks. If necessary, top the water level up as some will evaporate with the aeration.

Filtering your liquid fertilizer from kitchen waste

  • Place an old pillowcase in a bucket, pour the liquid into the pillowcase, and all the gunk and sludge in the reactor bucket. 
  • Tie the pillowcase off with a rope and hang it above the bucket – the liquid will drain out into the bucket overnight. 

The filtered product is ready for application. The gunk in the bag – I use this as fertilizer too and make small holes in my pot plants and just scoop the stuff into the holes and bury it.

Application of your homemade herb fertilizer

This fertilizer can be quite hot – in other words it can have quite a high nitrogen content derived mainly from the coffee grounds. There are many beneficial microbes in the mixture that can help to establish a healthy microbial ecosystem on the leaves, as well as benefit the roots.

  • Dilute a cup of this liquid fertilizer in a one-gallon watering can. Fill it to the top with water.
  • Apply this to your plants on the leaves and into the soil. 

This floods the soil with beneficial microbes. You will see a week from watering, your plants just look healthier.

  • Apply once a month. This is best applied fresh. 

The microbes will become inactive with time, hence it has a shelf life, and rather make, bulk dose all your plants, and then start another batch.

By diverting your kitchen waste from the garbage and landfill to your garden you can save money by not having to purchase fertilizer and it is also better for the planet. You’ll also know exactly what is in the fertilizer rather than having to use a synthetic fertilizer. A natural fertilizer is always best. 

Making your own fertilizer from kitchen waste is so easy and beneficial for all.  

Read more>> Best organic fertilizer for herbs

For other fertilizer recipes you can make at home have a look at this article on the best homemade fertilizer for herbs. 

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these links.

The best homemade fertilizer for herbs

How to make Fertilizer for Herbs

In this article, we take a look at how to make the best homemade fertilizer for herbs. When we look at how to make fertilizer for herbs there are simple or complex methods. Making DIY fertilizers for herbs need not scare you. You will see how to make homemade natural fertilizer simply and quickly. 

Making a DIY fertilizer for herbs is fun and saves money. In addition to being cost-effective, the DIY fertilizers you can make are active – this means that the microbes in the fertilizers are in a state of growth -they have not been sitting in a bottle on the shelf for 6 months.

Homemade fertilizer is most likely organic too which is much better than a synthetic fertilizer too as it will nourish both the plant and soil. 

Homemade liquid fertilizer for herbs

My favorite method to make homemade natural fertilizer is an old and simple recipe. I use some zip ties to make a bag out of a shade cloth. This bag fits in a small 10-gallon drum. I then pour aged cow, horse/rabbit, sheep, and chicken manure into the bag in roughly equal parts. Don’t use fresh manure as this can be a bit too nitrogen-rich.

Why so many types of manure?

In nature, there are many species of animals that create manure in an ecosystem. Birds, ruminants (e.g. cows, sheep), and animals such as rabbits and horses have different ways of digesting plant matter.

When we make a DIY organic fertilizer for herbs we want to mimic nature as much as possible. If we mix all of these types of manure we are simulating the sort of dung that would fall on the fields in nature. If you cannot get all types of manure but can get one type, use that. It will still be good.

The manure tea bag

Zip tie the bag closed, put it in the drum, and fill the drum with rainwater. I typically leave this for two weeks. Every now and then you can open the drum and squeeze the bag a bit to circulate the water. It can develop quite a strong smell but this is how we make DIY organic fertilizer for herbs. If it’s organic it smells. Rule of nature.

DIY fertilizer for herbs

Filtering the liquid DIY fertilizer for herbs

I typically pump the DIY liquid fertilizer into my irrigation system. I have a pump that turns on with the irrigation pump and sends the fertilizer mixed with irrigation water out through the microjet sprinklers. Hence I filter the liquid DIY organic fertilizer through an old pillowcase.  This provides a solution that looks like dark tea.

A well-filtered homemade natural fertilizer can be diluted 1/10 in water and applied with a watering can. If you sprinkle it on the leaves of plants, many plants like this. Alternatively, drench the roots. Your plants will grow very fast.

I find that celeriac, parsley, savory, marjoram, and oregano particularly enjoy this liquid homemade natural fertilizer. If you put this on mint it will explode out of the pot. Mint is a heavy feeder and loves the slightly acidic nature of this natural organic fertilizer.

Ash from your fireplace 

An enhancement to making the above manure tea bag recipe is to use a bit of wood ash in your mix as well. You mix the same recipe as above, except that you now add equal portions of the three manures and then a part wood ash. You can play with the ratios as you see fit. 

The advantage of adding wood ash to your DIY fertilizer for herbs is that it contains significant amounts of potassium, phosphate, magnesium, and calcium. It is also a rich source of trace elements. Combining wood ash into this homemade organic mix gives you an excellent supplemental homemade fertilizer.

Alternatives to manure-based fertilizer

Fish and seaweed make great fertilizer for herbs too. Homemade fish emulsion fertilizer takes longer to make as the fish need to rot first. An easy shortcut is to use your aquarium water. You may even have things from your kitchen you can use such as coffee grounds, banana peels, and eggshells.  

Homemade fish emulsion fertilizer for herbs

Fish fertilizers for herbs stink to high heaven but they are good fertilizers. It is relatively easy to source fish – typically if you can find fish used for bait in sea fishing, these are the best for making fertilizers. Any oily fish will do, although you can use pretty much any fish, the oilier it is the better. Ask the fishmonger if they have fish skeletons and heads for sale – these are a rich source of amazing minerals for your plants.

Your fish emulsion fertilizer also needs molasses. Molasses is the product left over after sugar has been extracted from cane juice. There are many types of molasses, try to buy molasses that does not have sulfur added.

Depending on the amount of sugar that has been removed, you will get different grades of molasses. The less sugar the molasses has in it, the more minerals it contains. In this regard, if you can choose between a high test (high sugar) and a blackstrap molasses, choose the blackstrap.

Molasses is good for microbes and microbes are good for soil. So molasses is good to add to fertilizer.

How to make a fish emulsion

My method for making fish emulsion is quite simple. In a 5 gallon pail, I place two cups of fertile soil with compost (this is rich in beneficial soil microbes). Into this bucket place a pound of oily fish. Cut the fish up into small pieces. Add a pound of molasses and two gallons of water. I like to add the juice of two lemons at this point. 

Stir the mixture and then place a loosely fitting lid over the pail. Do not put the lid on firmly – you want gasses to move in and out. You can open the bucket every second day and give it a stir. The smell will not be quite as bad as you would expect. This is however definitely not something you can make inside your apartment.

After two weeks, give the mixture a good stir. I have an electric drill with a paddle paint mixer. If you make a hole in the lid of the bucket and put the shaft of the mixer through, then you can put the lid back on the bucket and connect the drill.

It is better not to try and mix fish fertilizer without a cover – the stuff splatters and one drop that lands on your face will make you think you have a dead fish in your nose for a day.

You can strain this emulsion through an old pillowcase or sieve and then use the mixture.

How to use fish emulsion fertilizer on herbs

Fish emulsion is hot – in other words, it is rich in available nitrogen – so you need to dilute it. I typically work on a dilution of 1 cup of fish fertilizer in a 5-gallon bucket of water to make a fertilizer tea.

Remember, unlike using fish fertilizer on houseplants, you do not want to foliar feed your herbs. You will end up with fish-flavored herbs. Just not a good thing, unless it’s on your catnip for your cat.

You can scoop a cup or two of the diluted fertilizer mix and pour it around the base of the herbs. The idea is to drain this onto the roots so that the roots are well inoculated with beneficial microbes. In addition to the microbes, there is an abundance of nitrogen, phosphate, calcium, and a little iodine in fish fertilizer. These are all good things.

Seaweed fertilizer for herbs

You can adapt the above recipe by adding a bit of seaweed to your mix and fermenting it as per the above instructions. I collect kelp that washes up on the beach after a storm. If you are not able to collect your own seaweed, you should be able to buy an assortment of inexpensive seaweed from a shop in Chinatown or health shop or even online. You will need 3-5 oz of dry seaweed for this recipe.

Soup seaweed is the most cost-effective. This is also conveniently cut up into little pieces. Hydrate a bit of seaweed, or if you have fresh seaweed, rinse it in a bucket of freshwater to get rid of salt.

If possible, cut the seaweed even finer. Place seaweed in the bucket, along with the fish and molasses, and process it the same way you did the previous fish recipe. For some reason, adding seaweed makes this smell even more vile and makes your plants even happier. No pain, no gain.

Compost tea

This is a great quick and easy fertilizer that your herbs will love. You only need 2 ingredients: compost and water. 

Fill a bucket with water. Let it sit for 24 hours for any chlorine to evaporate. Then add your compost. Use a stick to mix it and get some aeration in there for those beneficial bacteria and microbes. Then let it sit for 24-48 hours. Give it a mix each morning and night then pour into a watering can to water your herbs. You can filter it if you like but it’s not essential. Easy peasy! 

how to make homemade natural fertilizer

Grass Clippings tea

Grass clippings are high in Nitrogen which is an essential element your herbs need to keep their leaves green. To make a grass clippings tea add your grass clippings to a bucket and fill it with water. Let it marinate for 1-2 days. Strain the water into a watering can and use this liquid fertilizer to water your herbs. 

Your herbs will love these natural homemade organic fertilizer tea recipes.

They are suitable for your vegetable garden too as well as indoor plants. 

Homemade plant food is so cheap and simple. They are so much better than chemical fertilizers. Especially since we are talking about edible plants. I certainly don’t want to be ingesting anything synthetic or feeding it to be kids when it can be avoided.  

However, if you live in an urban area or apartment and don’t want to deal with manure or the stench of rotting fish then you may prefer using something from your kitchen instead. Check out this article for how you can use coffee grounds, banana peel, and eggshells as fertilizer for your herbs. 

Now, I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments if you make this manure tea bag or what your favorite homemade fertilizer recipe is for your herbs.

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these links.

Best Organic Fertilizer for herbs

natural fertilizer for herbs

For many of us, growing herbs is a passion. Using organic fertilizer for herbs helps us bring out the character and strength of flavor in our plants. Fertilizing herbs with a natural fertilizer is a powerful tool we can use to enhance the health-giving benefits of our herbs. 

In this article, we look at the best organic fertilizer for herbs, what herb plants need to grow, and explore whether homemade or store-bought organic fertilizer is better for your herb garden.

No matter what size garden you have, be it a balcony or a 10-acre plot, herbs are important for you. They make food taste better, smell amazing and have health benefits. Many types of herbs grow very well in pots. I have a huge garden and I still grow herbs in pots. Most herbs will take over the garden if you give them half a chance. 

What is the best organic fertilizer for herbs?

One that contains the essential macro and micro-nutrients your herbs need to grow. These are discussed below. Whether you make your own or purchase a ready-made one from the store depends on what you have access to.

Should you use organic or synthetic fertilizers for your herbs

There are many philosophical debates around the use of synthetic versus natural fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers often provide quick wins – your plants look great very soon after adding fertilizers. They then provide a long-term crash. In other words, you will get lovely plants for a year or two, and then after that, you have to work hard to keep the plants healthy. The fertilizers just add nutrients, but nothing to go with it. Short-term gain, long-term pain.

Organic fertilizers tend to be formulated from substances that feed your soil – bone meal, feather meal, rock dust, and many other things which build your garden soil up. The idea is that we are growing plants in soil, not hydroponics – synthetic fertilizers often result in growing hydroponic plants in soil – the soil becomes so dead it does nothing but hold the roots. 

I try not to use inorganic fertilizer in my garden because I eat my herbs. Much like I do not enjoy synthetic colors in my food and drinks , I do not want synthetic compounds in my garden. Nature does its own thing, and we can work with it to our benefit.

spraying liquid fertilizer on herbs

Homemade or store-bought organic fertilizer

There are many natural fertilizers for herbs – many of these are made by fermenting fish waste, or seaweed, or a combination of these. Some are made from slow-release natural compounds such as bone meal and bird feather meal.

What type of fertilizer for herbs

Store-bought fertilizer comes as either granules or liquid. Slow-release or quick-release. The kind you choose depends on personal preference. 

Jobes organic all-purpose plant food is a great option if you want to buy an organic fertilizer online. 

Alternatively, look in the fertilizer section of your local gardening store. Look for an organic option and check for the following nutrients:

Main or Macro Nutrients

Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P) Potassium (K). Optionally it won’t hurt if it also gives Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca), and Sulphur (S).


Boron (B), Chlorine (CI), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), Zinc (Zn), and Nickel (Ni). There are other micronutrients, but normally these are needed in such small quantities that they will be contaminants in any fertilizer of biological origin hence don’t worry about them at this stage.

Follow the dosage instructions on the bottle when mixing and adding natural fertilizers for your herbs. Despite these fertilizers being organic, you can still burn your herbs by adding too much.

There is a common misconception that a natural fertilizer cannot hurt a plant. This is not the case – natural substances can be just as poisonous as synthetic substances – think of a death cap mushroom or a snakebite. 

It is always good to start low and go slow with fertilizers – you can always add more fertilizer, but you cannot remove fertilizer once it is in the potting soil and your plant goes yellow.

What do herbs need to grow and taste delicious?

Herbs are plants that produce secondary metabolites – molecules that have a protective function to the plant. These tend to be flavor compounds that make a plant unappealing or even poisonous to pests. 

If we look at the biochemical pathways a herb plant uses to synthesize these compounds, we can see what the plant will need to boost its growth and metabolism.

Secondary metabolites in plants give flavor

Secondary metabolites are generally complex molecules and are made using several enzymes in different parts of the cell. These enzymes are often compartmentalized in special areas using membranes. If the enzymes roamed around freely in the cell they would cause endless chaos. So we know that we need enzymes and healthy membranes.

Enzymes that make the flavor and the importance of metal ions

Enzymes are complex protein structures that hold a chemical in a specific way. This allows the active section of the enzyme to act on the chemical substrate and transform it into something else. 

Normally these active parts of the enzyme have a metal ion, such as iron, copper, or manganese, coordinated into the structure of the metalloprotein enzyme. The main structure of the enzyme is made of amino acids, which are made from nitrogen compounds. 

We can now see that herbs need nitrogen, a mix of metal ions, and something that makes stable membranes.

The importance of Phosphate for cell membranes

Cell membranes are composed primarily of lipid bilayers. Lipid bilayers require phosphate. The rest of the membrane can be synthesized by plants themselves – assuming they have the starting materials to make enzymes.

How this affects what must be in our natural fertilizer

Our natural fertilizer for herbs needs to supply

  • nitrogen for amino acids to make enzymes,
  • metal ions so the enzymes can work and
  • phosphates to make more membranes.

Then our organic herbs can fill the membranes with enzymes to make secondary metabolites to make our herbs smell great.

Hence for an organic fertilizer for herbs to be useful, it needs to have a source of nitrogen, and traces of useful metal ions and phosphate. There are a lot of options. When I started gardening I used to buy pre-made Organic Fertilizers for my Herbs. Now I make my own.

fertilizer for herbs in containers

Best organic fertilizer for herbs in pots

Herbs in containers need more fertilizer than herbs growing in soil in a garden. This is because there are limited nutrients in the soil in the pot. Once the herb absorbs these nutrients it needs more. 

Also the roots are more confined in a pot. So you can fertilize herbs in containers every 2 weeks with an organic fertilizer. A slow-release liquid fertilizer at half strength is best. Just be careful not to over-fertilize as the essential oils that give the herbs their flavour and aroma may be diminished with over use of fertilizer.   

How to make organic fertilizer for herbs

You can make your own organic fertilizer using a variety of options including

  • Manure tea bag
  • Egg shells
  • Banana peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fish emulsion
  • Seaweed soup

To find out more about how I mix my own liquid fertilizer for herbs read this article on the best homemade fertilizer for herbs.

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these links.

Best Herbs To Grow For Tea

Wooden plate of herbal tea, best herbs to grow for tea

There is no denying it: Herbal tea is the best. Nothing in the world is quite like sitting down with a cup of herbal tea. Unless it is a tall glass of iced herbal tea.

No one will talk you into ever going to a store and buying tea again, once you know the best herbs to grow for tea, how to grow them, dry them and prepare them to make your own fresh herbal tea.

When growing herbs for tea, you will have the satisfaction of having done it all yourself, from beginning to end. You will know for a fact that if you want your tea to be organic, it definitely is organic, with no recalls or uh-oh’s.

You will have the money in your wallet that would otherwise have gone to something that sat on a store shelf for months. You will have the convenience of walking out your back door and grabbing the makings for tea, rather than having to get ready, then go to the store. And, as said before, you will have flavor!

Interested? Of course!

How To Grow Your Own Tea Herbs

Herbs are one of the easiest plants in the world to grow. In fact, some tea herbs need to be grown in a restricted area, like a raised brick bed, or a pot, just because they are liable to spread too much. We call these kinds of herbs “excitable”, because they simply love life. Also because it’s a lot shorter than “liable to spread too much”.

Are You Starting Your Tea Herbs In A Cold Climate?

If there is still frost outside you will need to start your herbal tea garden indoors. You can do this from seeds or seedlings.

If you are starting your herb plants from seed, and doing so during a cold time of year, this is what you will need and the steps required:

  • Starter pots-about 2″ diameter
  • Potting soil
  • Grow light
  • Seeds

Put potting soil in the starter pots.

Add seeds. The number of seeds will vary, so please read the seed packet. Usually about 5-7 seeds per pot.

Push seeds down to twice their size. Since herb seeds are tiny, that means press them down as if pressing a button on your favorite remote. Water lightly.

Turn the grow light on for 4 hours a day UNLESS you get enough sunlight through a window to give your seedlings light for 4 hours a day. Then the grow light won’t be necessary.

How to grow your herbal tea garden outside in pots

Get a plant pot, put planting soil in it, put it outside in a sunny spot, after the last frost. 

Sprinkle herb seeds around in the soil, press them down and water them.

After the seeds sprout, give one or two seedlings their own spot. Usually, a 6″ pot will do. 

But, again, it varies with the herb.

growing tea herbs in pots

What Is The Easiest Way to Start a herbal tea plant?

Buy a seedling! Yes, it’s cheating and costs a little more. But it’s faster.

Transfer each seedling to its own pot with a mix of potting soil and compost. 

Water the soil so it is moist to touch. 

Best herbs to grow for tea

You know how to grow your own tea herbs. Now, which herbs do you wish to grow? Do you have a favorite herbal infusion or blend you usually buy?

Many of the herbs you are already growing in your herb garden may be suitable for your herbal tea blends. Chamomile, a medicinal herb, is also a great tea herb.

Here are some popular tea herbs you may wish to grow in your herbal tea garden. 

Chocolate mint

This is our favorite of all time. Remember those mint candies covered in chocolate? Or the yummy cookies sold every year? This smells and tastes just like those. It is ‘excitable’, but behaves pretty well if kept in its own container. Mint dies back in Winter and then grows back every Spring.

best herbs for herbal tea


Another excitable plant and a culinary herb. Mint can boost the immune system and relieve aches and pains. It also protects the other herbs in your herbal tea garden because it is a bug repellent. Mint tea tastes like fresh mist, with hints of vanilla and fruit. It is cooling in summer and mixes with other flavors quite well. Try blending with Lavender.

Lemon Balm

A relative of mint. Lemon balm tastes like lemon and mint. It can boost mood and help with relaxing. Because it’s related to mint, it is excitable and needs its own pot.


Helps with sleep & reduces inflammation. Lavender, a medicinal herb, tastes like mint and rose with a touch of rosemary. Try blending with rose and chamomile.

herb al tea blends with rose hips

Rose Hips

Not the first thing one might think of when herbal tea is mentioned. However, rosehip tea tastes like apples and plums and is rich in antioxidants. Try infusing rose hips with lemon.

Simple Method To Turn Your Herbs Into Delicious Tea

Firstly start by washing your herbs to ensure you don’t get any dirt in your tasty tea. Select about a quarter of a cup worth of fresh leaves. Use more or less based on your taste. For ice tea double the amount used.

Heat your water to boiling point and tip over your herb leaves. This can be in the bottom of a teapot or strainer. Leave to steep for 5 – 10 minutes depending on your liking. Rosehips only needs half the time.

How to prepare your herbs for tea

As with most herbal preparations the basic steps are the same: cut, dry and store.

Use fresh herbs as they offer the most flavor. If you don’t plan on using them within a few hours, consider storing them in the refrigerator or placing them in a cool, dry location.

A few tips:

– Make sure your herbs and equipment are clean and sanitary. Wash your hands before starting to help prevent the spread of bacteria or mold which can ruin the flavor of the tea.

– It’s best to use freshly-cut herbs, especially if you’re making an herbal blend for boiling water. Unfortunately, fresh herbs are at their peak of flavor only for a few hours after they’re cut. If you buy them in bunches or plan to keep them on hand for more than one day, the best way how to dry herbs for tea is to place the bunch in a glass jar with an airtight lid and store them in the refrigerator.

– Tie the herbs with jute twine or thin cotton string into small bundles, leaving about 2 inches of stem on each piece to help them dry evenly. Tie tightly so they don’t come loose during the drying process – but not so tightly that you bruise the leaves or stems.

drying herbs for tea

How to dry herbs for tea

To dry herbs for tea, clip or snip the herbs in small bunches and place them on a tray in a well-ventilated space. If you’re drying only one herb, keep it in a smaller bunch since there’s less surface area to expose to air.

In general, dried herbs will need about 1 inch of space between each other. An ideal situation is when there is lots of airflow from an overhead fan or cross breezes from a window open at both ends of a room with the pan holding the bunched herbs sitting nearer to the cool draft blowing through it. It’s also best if there aren’t any objects that might obstruct airflow (like table lamps or other heat sources like the stove) in the area where you’re working.

How long do I need to dry the herbs for my tea?

The drying time will depend on how much moisture is still in each herb, how much surface area it has for exposure to air, and how dry your climate is. It can range from a few days to 2 weeks.

Can I dry herbs in the oven or a microwave?

Yes, if you prefer using a microwave or conventional oven, tie the bundles of fresh or dried leaves in a loose bunch and cut off the stems. You can also remove the leaves from their branches.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray. Dump the leaves on top of it and use your fingers to spread them out as evenly as possible.

How to dry herbs for tea in a conventional oven

Bake the leaves at 250 degrees F (120 C) until they’re dried out, or until their color is relatively uniform and bright – usually after about 1 hour of baking time.

Use a cookie sheet or cake rack placed on top of a baking sheet in case there’s any liquid that drips off; this will keep your oven clean.

How to dry herbs for tea in a microwave

Cook the leaves on high heat for 1 minute, then turn them over and cook again on high heat for another minute. How many times you repeat this process depends on your oven’s wattage; check your microwave’s instruction manual for details.

How to store dried herbs for tea

Once your herbs are dry, they will crumble easily between your fingertips and be crisp or break into coarse pieces when you bend them – but not powdery. Store dried herbs in a sealed glass jar away from sunlight and use them within a year for best results.

How to make sun tea

Herbs added to cold water steep like tea, releasing their flavor and important nutrients into the liquid. The best time-honored way is to make sun tea, which harks back to colonial times when the world was a much larger place. Make water hot by heating it in a pan on the stove or in an electric kettle until bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pot where steam is trapped.

– Put a covered jar of herbs, water and sugar into the sunniest spot in your backyard or on your patio. Place it somewhere where it won’t be disturbed by curious children or pets who might knock it over. Some people leave their jars up high by hanging them from tree branches or posts. Others place them very low to the ground by putting them on a table or bench. The idea is for the herbs, water and sugar to be in direct sunlight with lots of airflow around them.

– Leave the jar outside in direct sunlight for at least 8 hours or overnight, but keep an eye out that it doesn’t sit too long in one spot – the same spot – and that the sun doesn’t start to bake it. Bring it inside as soon as you see condensation begin to form on the jar (you can also check by placing a finger over its opening and feeling how cool or warm the air is).

– If you plan to make your herbal blend an ingredient in something else, like If you want it as-is – perhaps you’ll mix it with lemonade or honey, for instance – it’s best to strain the finished mixture through cheesecloth or a fine sieve.

– If you’d rather use your homemade herb concoction as an ice pack for picnic hampers or car coolers, leave out the sugar.

I hope you enjoy making some delicious homegrown herbal tea with your own organic herbs.  So kick back with your herbal infusion and check out our other growing guides.

Best Fertilizer For Herbs: What Is Most Beneficial

Bunch of various herbs in white bowl. Best fertilizer for herbs

What Is Fertilizer?

To know the best fertilizer for herbs, first you need to understand what fertilizer really is. We already know plants have basic needs including water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight. But how can we enhance the growth of our plants? The answer; fertilizer.
We need to know what fertilizer really is before we go and put it in the soil our herbs are growing in. Fertilizers are compounds put in the soil to promote growth in plants. The chemicals from fertilizers supply the soil with core nutrients to make it more fertile. So the best fertilizer for herbs would be ones that can deliver those compounds.

Looking deeper into the contents of fertilizers we can see the actual elements that are combined to promote growth. There is a multitude of elements that enhance the growth of plants. Hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen are supplied through the air and water existing around the plants. However, plants need more than these to add to the growth. Nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, and calcium are just a few of the elements that help maintain healthy growth.

The three main chemicals are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These elements are the building blocks of the cells in plants and are needed in the largest quantities.

  • Nitrogen is used for leaf growth and providing a healthy green color to the leaf.
  • Phosphorus develops new roots, seeds, and fruit. Further, it assists in fighting off diseases.
  • Potassium helps stems grow strong as well as speeding up growth.

How Fertilizer Helps Your Herbs Grow

To help ensure our herbs grow to the best of their ability we need to use fertilizer. Fertilizing your herbs once every 3-6 months will maintain healthy growth. You may notice after planting your herbs that they begin to dry out or wilt after a month or so, this means you may need to fertilize more often to supply the soil with the nutrients it is missing. Applying a good fish and kelp fertilizer at half the strength for a few weeks will help the herbs get back on track with their growth.

Healthy looking mint plant.

If you are like many people and have your herbs planted in pots or boxes, you may find that your herbs are becoming dry and wilting more than you had hoped. This is a result of the nutrients from the soil being lost through drainage holes after you water them. It is recommended that you use supplementary fertilizers to assist with this issue.

There Are Two Types Of Fertilizer To Choose From; Liquid Or Granule.

Firstly, liquid fertilizers. These can be absorbed quickly and provide herbs with a quick boost of the nutrients they are lacking. Liquid fertilizers however often need to be applied more regularly to maintain their function in healthy growth. To apply, mix the recommended amount of fertilizer in with water and slowly poor at the base of the plants.

The second option is a granule fertilizer. Granules release the nutrients over time and as a result effectively feed the herbs for longer. However, the granules do not allow immediate absorption into the soil or roots. To apply, sprinkle the recommended amount at the base of plants and either using your hand or a hand rake mix in with soil being careful not to disrupt roots.

What Fertilizer Should You Use For Your Herbs?

The best fertilizer for herbs would be a 5-10-5 mix. That is 5% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorus and 5% potassium. This is a good general fertilizer for all herbs. To know for sure what your soil is missing, it is recommended that you complete a soil test. These are provided in a test kit form, they are then sent to the lab to tell you exactly what you need for your garden to thrive.

What Else Affects The Fertility Of Soil?

Soil pH levels are another important aspect of fertility, so buying a pH tester is also recommended. As a rule of thumb a pH level of 6 to 7.5 is ideal for herb growing. To raise pH level apply some lime juice and to lower pH level apply some sulfur.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you are now aware of the bezt fertilizer for herbs so your garden is able to thrive.

Feel free to check out our other growing guides