Herbs are probably the easiest plants that you can grow in the garden or indoors. However, you can still make some mistakes that will leave you with wilting and dying herbs.
These can be silly mistakes, such as overcrowding or not watering properly, that could lead your herb garden to doom. Whether you’re growing herbs indoors or outdoors, learning about these mistakes will help you have happy and healthy plants!
In this article, we are going to cover the most common herb-growing mistakes that can potentially damage your herbs and affect their growth. Stay tuned to find out more about these mistakes, and also how to fix them.
1. Inadequate Lighting
Indoor herbs are mostly kept in the kitchen because it’s more convenient to pluck them whenever we need special spices for our meals. However, sometimes kitchens can be too dark for your herbs.
These types of plants love sunlight, and if you don’t give them enough light, they won’t grow well. On the other hand, too much sun exposure, especially during hot summer days, can lead to scorched foliage and dehydration.
It’s important to find balance so that your herbs get just enough sunlight without getting burned. Most herb gardens thrive when exposed to 6-8 hours of sunlight throughout the day.
If you are growing herbs indoors, find a window where they can receive at least 6 hours of light. Otherwise, use grow lights so that your little plants can grow and thrive!
2. Not Harvesting
If you are not harvesting your herbs, then what’s the point in growing them at all?
It might seem like a good idea to let your herbs grow big, but if you don’t pick them, they can get too old and lose their flavor. Although some herbs are grown for different purposes, such as repelling flies in the garden, that doesn’t mean they should go to waste.
Regularly harvesting your herbs will encourage new growth and also let you enjoy a fresher taste. Get creative and find ways to incorporate herbs in your daily diet!
You might find useful: 5 Steps For Growing Grocery Store Herbs
3. Wrong Type Of Soil
Although herbs can grow in dry and compact environments, it doesn’t mean that they should grow in poor soils, especially when you can provide them with top-notch conditions!
Soil requirements might vary depending on the herb variety. For instance, most Mediterranean herbs, like rosemary and parsley, prefer soils with a gritty texture, while others might prefer ones with more nutrients.
Nonetheless, herbs generally thrive in well-draining, loamy soils. Drainage is important to avoid overwatering and prevent root rot. When growing herbs in pots, make sure that every container has drainage holes in the bottom.
Start with soil suitable for growing herbs – many options are available online on Amazon, such as this Back to the Roots All-Purpose Potting Mix.
You should also pay attention to the pH levels of the soil. While most herbaceous plants thrive in slightly acidic soil with pH between 6.0 to 7.5, this can still vary depending on the cultivar. Do a quick soil test and find out the best pH levels for the herbs that you are growing!
4. Following The Same Care Routine
As we mentioned earlier, not all herbs have the same requirements. Some like more water, some less; some prefer lots of sunlight, while others do well in shade. You can’t provide the same growing conditions to different herb varieties.
I would recommend you learn each herb’s specific needs and adjust your care routine accordingly. Group those with similar requirements and improve the conditions to have a thriving herb garden.
5. Watering Mistakes
It’s tricky to figure out the best watering routine for herbs because most of them are drought-tolerant. You might think that they don’t need water at all, so you forget all about them and they end up wilting.
On the other hand, overwatering herbs is more common because most gardeners give more than enough water to their herbs. Overwatering is worse because it leads to root rot, and it’s very difficult to save your herbs from this disease.
Again, the amount of water required can vary between different herb varieties. For instance, woody herbs are more drought tolerant and don’t require much watering, while others, like mint, prefer consistently moist soil.
Herbs generally like to be watered once or twice a week – if the soil feels dry about an inch deep, go ahead and water your herbs. If not, check the soil again after a few days.
6. Not Pruning Your Herbs
Don’t be afraid to snip your herbs every now and then!
Pruning helps plants grow bushier and healthier because it promotes better air circulation and keeps everything nice and tidy.
Different pruning methods are applied for different cultivars. For instance, woody herbs should be cut diagonally with pruning shears above leaf nodes. This angle will prevent diseases because it doesn’t let water stand on the stem.
Make sure not to cut more than one third of the plant when pruning. Use the rest for propagation or store the herbs in the refrigerator. Most herbs should be pruned in the spring or right after flowering.
You don’t even have to use pruning shears when trimming leafy herbs – simply pinch the tips just above the leaf nodes. Avoid pulling them because the stems can easily break.
If you grow lavender, this might be helpful: What’s The Best Time For Pruning Lavender?
Planting too many herbs in a small space can lead to overcrowding. Herbs will only end up competing for space, light, and nutrients, which can ultimately weaken them. Stronger herbs will also most likely smother the smaller, less aggressive ones.
Give your herbs enough room to grow comfortably and watch them thrive. If you are growing them in containers, ensure that each herb has a dedicated container with enough space for herbs to grow and spread.
When planting herbs outdoors, plant them apart from each other so that each plant’s roots can spread evenly. However, keep in mind that certain herbs can become invasive. For example, you should plant mint in containers because it can overtake your garden in no time!