Not all herbs are created equal.
1. Drowning them
Herbs love water but don’t want to swim in it, so make sure your pots offer sufficient drainage. Look for pots that have a hole at the bottom that will let excess water seep out — and pair them with a saucer so you don’t have a mess.
2. Forgetting to prune
Pinch off flowers and trim your plant regularly to keep it from getting top-heavy. Different herbs do require more or less pruning (basil requires a lot; parsley requires very little), so do your research. Gardening Know How offers simple directions for every herb.
3. Not giving the soil a nutrient boost
Don’t rely on the potting soil your plant comes in. Feed your actively growing herbs with liquid fertilizer or organic fish emulsion once a week (find them at the gardening store), recommends the National Gardening Association (NGA). And if you compost, make sure to mix some into the soil.
4. Being too ambitious
Growing herbs from seed isn’t easy if you’re new to gardening. There’s no shame in beginning with a starter plant from the gardening store.
5. Not researching your plants
Not every plant should be treated the same: Parsley requires misting or high humidity; chives shouldn’t be over-fertilized.
6. Providing too little light
Where is your indoor herb garden living? If its nearest window is north-facing or doesn’t get at least four hours of light per day, consider moving it. Depending on how much light your home gets, your plant options will be limited. To help them out, the National Gardening Association recommends adding supplemental light.
7. Under- or over-watering
The NGA says: “Water less often and more thoroughly, and only when the soil is actually dry.” Use your finger to check for dampness: If it’s dry past your second knuckle, it’s time to water. Not sure how to know when to stop? The NGA recommends watering your plants until water comes through the drainage holes.