How Often Should You Water Herbs? [Indoors and Outdoors]

Whether cultivating a windowsill garden or tending to a thriving herb bed outdoors, knowing when and how often to water your herbs is essential for their health and flavor. Herbs are versatile plants that bring aromatic and culinary delights to your dishes, and their watering needs can vary based on location, weather, and individual herb preferences.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the art of watering herbs, providing insights for both indoor and outdoor settings. From basil and mint to rosemary and thyme, each herb has its unique requirements to thrive. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting, understanding the nuances of proper watering can make a significant difference in the vitality and taste of your herbs.

Join us as we explore the balance between moisture and soil, the signs of overwatering and underwatering, and the tips to help your herbs flourish throughout the growing season. Let’s journey to nurture flourishing herb gardens and elevate your culinary adventures.

How often should you water herbs?

Frequency of watering herbs is actually depends of many factors such as

Herbs Locations:

ScenarioContainer SizeGrowing ConditionsFrequency of WateringAdditional Notes
Indoor HerbsSmall potDirect sunlight, kitchen windowsillEvery other dayOnly if there is no rainfall
Larger containerIndirect sunlightEvery 3-4 daysAdjust based on soil moisture.
Herbs in PotsSmall potsExposed to sunlightTwice per weekUse advanced water-retaining mediums.
Large potsVariesWeeklyAdjust based on pot size and conditions.
Any sizeOutdoor settingOnly if no rainfallOutdoor herbs access deeper soil moisture.
Outdoor Herb GardenOutdoor soilCooler weatherNot necessaryRoots access deeper soil moisture.
Outdoor soilDry spell, intense sunlightOnce per weekSoak the soil thoroughly.

Herbs Type:

Herb TypeMoisture PreferenceFrequency of WateringAdditional Notes
BasilModerate2-3 times a weekKeep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
ParsleyKeep soil consistently moist but not soggy.2-3 times a weekProvide consistent moisture to prevent bolting.
ChivesModerate2-3 times a weekAvoid waterlogging, and let the soil dry slightly between waterings.
CilantroModerate2-3 times a weekPrevent soil from drying out completely.
RosemaryLowOnce a weekAllow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings.
ThymeLowOnce a weekWater when the soil feels dry to the touch.
OreganoLowOnce a weekWater when the soil is dry, but avoid overwatering.
SageLowOnce a weekWater sparingly to prevent root rot.
MintModerate to High2-3 times a weekKeep the soil consistently moist, especially in hot weather.
DillModerate2-3 times a weekWater when the soil surface is dry to the touch.
FennelModerate2-3 times a weekProvide regular moisture without waterlogging.
Coriander (Cilantro Leaves)Moderate2-3 times a weekMaintain consistent moisture to prevent bolting.
LavenderLowOnce every 2 weeksAllow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Fennel (Bulb)Moderate2-3 times a weekKeep the soil evenly moist, especially during hot periods.
Coriander (Cilantro Seeds)Moderate2-3 times a weekKeep the soil evenly moist until germination.

Remember that these guidelines serve as a starting point. Monitoring the soil’s moisture level by checking with your finger is the best way to determine when to water your herbs. Adjust the frequency based on your specific growing conditions, weather patterns, and the type of pots or garden you have. The key is to balance providing adequate hydration and avoiding overwatering.

Also Learn: How to water plants while away

What are the best conditions for growing herbs?

Growing herbs successfully depends on providing them with the right conditions that mimic their native habitats. Here are the best conditions for growing herbs:

1. Sunlight:
Most herbs thrive in full sun, which generally means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano require plenty of sunlight for robust growth and intense flavor.

2. Soil:
Well-draining soil is essential for herbs to prevent waterlogging and root rot. A mix of potting soil and perlite or sand helps ensure good drainage. Some herbs, like lavender and rosemary, prefer slightly alkaline soil.

3. Watering:
While specific watering needs vary, herbs generally prefer consistent moisture. Water them when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Proper drainage is key.

4. Temperature:
Herbs have varying temperature preferences. Most herbs prefer temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Some, like mint and chives, are more tolerant of cooler conditions, while others, like basil and cilantro, thrive in warmer temperatures.

5. Humidity:
Herbs often prefer moderate humidity levels. If you’re growing herbs indoors, consider providing a humidity tray or misting the plants occasionally. This is especially important for herbs like basil and parsley.

6. Air Circulation:
Good air circulation prevents fungal diseases and encourages healthy growth. Avoid crowding your herbs and ensure there’s enough space between plants.

7. Fertilization:
Moderate feeding with a balanced liquid fertilizer or slow-release granules during the growing season can enhance herb growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to excessive leaf growth with weaker flavors.

8. Container Size:
If growing herbs in containers, choose large pots to accommodate their root systems. Small pots can lead to stunted growth.

9. Pruning:
Regular pruning encourages bushier growth and prevents legginess. Pinch back the tips of the plants to encourage branching and increase leaf production.

10. Pests and Diseases:
Look for pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Natural pest control methods and a clean growing environment can help prevent infestations.

11. Companion Planting:
Consider companion planting to repel pests and enhance growth. For example, planting basil near tomatoes can improve flavor and deter pests.

You can create a thriving herb garden that rewards you with fresh, aromatic, and flavorful herbs for culinary use and beyond by providing these optimal growing conditions.

What are the benefits of growing herbs?

There are many benefits to growing herbs, both indoors and outdoors. For one, herb container gardening allows you to enjoy fresh herbs even if you don’t have enough soil in your backyard. Additionally, pots or containers act as barriers that can protect your herbs from weeds, pests, and diseases.

Herbs add beauty and color to any garden or home décor. They also come in various shapes and sizes to find the perfect fit for your needs. In addition, potted herbs are a great way to attract beneficial insects and help decrease garden pests.

Additionally, different herbs require different watering schedules based on their growing conditions. For example, when there isn’t much rain in warm months, herbs must be watered more often than usual. Conversely, the soil retains water better when there is high humidity, and herbs must be watered less often than usual.

Growing your herbs is a great way to reduce the water needed in gardens. Herbs also attract bees and other beneficial pollinators, which helps increase crop production.

You May Also Want to Learn: Is Tap Water Bad for Plants?

How do you properly care for herbs?

Watering your herb plant is important, but it depends on several factors. For example, you need to consider the light the plant receives, how often you water it, and its environment’s temperature and humidity levels.

If you are growing your herb indoors, you will need to water it more frequently than growing it outdoors. Indoor plants typically need to be watered every day or every other day, while outdoor plants may only need to be watered once a week or once every two weeks.

You should also pay attention to the soil your herb is planted in and ensure that it is not too wet or too dry. If the soil is too wet, the roots of the plant will rot; if the soil is too dry, the plant will wilt and die.

To find an appropriate watering schedule for your herb plant, you should analyze all of these factors carefully. Many resources are available on properly caring for herbs, including Extension programs at UMD and Mizzou.

Herb gardens can be enjoyed indoors and outdoors, depending on the climate where you live. However, proper care for herbs means learning about their specific needs and growing them in a way suited to their particular environment.

It also means harvesting them when they are at their peak, storing them properly, and correctly using them. The specific needs of each herb type must be considered when growing or harvesting them, as well as how they can be used.

What are some popular herb varieties?

Indoor Herb Varieties:

  1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum): A staple in many cuisines, basil comes in various types such as sweet basil, Genovese basil, and Thai basil. It’s known for its aromatic leaves and is perfect for growing indoors.
  2. Mint (Mentha spp.): Mint varieties like spearmint and peppermint are great for indoor gardens. They’re aromatic and can be used in teas, cocktails, and culinary dishes.
  3. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): Common choices include Flat-leaf and curly parsley. They add freshness to dishes and can be grown indoors year-round.
  4. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): Chives produce mild onion-flavored leaves and are easy to grow indoors. They can be a great addition to salads and garnishes.
  5. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum): Cilantro is prized for its aromatic leaves and is a must-have for Mexican and Asian dishes. It can be grown indoors, but it’s known for quickly bolting (going to seed).

Outdoor Herb Varieties:

  1. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary is a woody herb with aromatic leaves. It thrives in sunny and dry conditions, perfect for outdoor gardens.
  2. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Thyme comes in various flavors and is excellent for seasoning dishes. It’s drought-tolerant and can withstand varying weather conditions.
  3. Oregano (Origanum vulgare): Oregano is a flavorful herb in Mediterranean cuisine. It’s a hardy plant that’s well-suited for outdoor gardens.
  4. Sage (Salvia officinalis): Sage has a strong flavor and is often used in stuffing and other savory dishes. It prefers well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.
  5. Lavender (Lavandula spp.): Lavender not only adds beauty to your garden but also offers a delightful aroma. It’s used in cooking and baking and for its calming properties.
  6. Dill (Anethum graveolens): Dill is known for its feathery leaves and distinctive flavor. It’s commonly used in pickling and adds a unique taste to dishes.
  7. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Fennel produces both aromatic leaves and seeds. It’s used in cooking and can attract beneficial insects to your garden.
  8. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum): While cilantro refers to the leaves, coriander refers to the seeds. It’s used in various cuisines for its distinct taste.

Remember that each herb has specific growth requirements, so it’s essential to understand their needs before planting. Whether you’re cultivating an indoor windowsill garden or an outdoor herb bed, these popular herb varieties can add flavor, aroma, and beauty to your culinary and gardening endeavors.

What are some common problems with growing herbs?

There are a few common problems that people have when growing herbs. One is that they may not water the plants enough so that the herbs will wilt. Another problem can be overwatering, which will cause the herb’s leaves to turn brown and the roots to rot.

Additionally, if you’re not careful where you plant your herbs, they might get too much or too little sunlight, which can also impact their growth.

Herbs make a great addition to marinades because they help tenderize the meat and add flavor. By infusing oil with fresh or dried herbs, you can create a flavorful condiment used on cooked food or as a dip.

Garnishing your food with herbs is a great way to add color, flavor, and texture. You can use fresh herbs for this purpose, but you can also use dried herbs. When using fresh herbs, you’ll want to chop them up into small pieces so they can easily be eaten.

If you’re using dried herbs, you’ll want to crush them into a powder first. Dried herbs make great garnishes because they add visual interest and flavor to your dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can herbs get too much water?

Herbs can get too much water, which would harm them. The best way to keep these herbs healthy is to water them regularly. Make sure that the soil around the roots is dry before you water them again.

2. Do herbs need direct sunlight?

Herbs need 86 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. Therefore, if it is a sun-loving herb and gets less sunlight, it will try to compensate for the lack of sunlight by not producing more leaves but more and larger flowers, often with many petals.

3. What does Overwatered basil look like?

The leaves droop and wilt and may be yellow at the base of the plant. The insides of the stems are yellow or brown and dead. You may find mold or other fungi growing on soggy soil. The leaves and stems may smell spoiled.

4. What are the best pots for growing herbs?

Ceramic and terracotta pots are generally good for herbs since they’re porous and drain easily. They’re also nice because they’re relatively lightweight and won’t blow away if they’re outdoors. Some herbs that do well in pots include basil, chamomile, mint, oregano, lavender, rosemary, and thyme.

5. Do herbs need fertilizer?

Fertilizer is a must for any plant, especially herbs. If you want your herbs to grow abundantly, you should use fertilizer. Fertilizer helps the plant improve its health, protect it from diseases, and promote its growth.


Having a regular watering schedule for your herbs is like having a houseplant. Since most of these plants need water daily, knowing when to water them becomes crucial so they don’t get dry and unhealthy. But this isn’t the only factor you should consider while watering those herbs, as their soil and light requirements might vary depending on their types. As such, you must become more familiar with how your plants grow by observing their surroundings and keeping track of their health.


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