When to begin indoor herb seeds?

When to begin indoor herb seeds?

Starting your own indoor herb garden can be a rewarding and enjoyable endeavor. Not only does it provide you with a convenient source of fresh herbs for cooking, but it also allows you to connect with nature and nurture plants right in your own home. One of the key factors in successfully growing herbs indoors is knowing when to start your seeds. In this article, we will explore the best time to begin indoor herb seeds, taking into consideration the specific needs of different herbs.

Understanding the specific needs of different herbs

While there are general guidelines for starting seeds indoors, it’s important to note that each herb may have its own specific requirements. Factors such as the herb’s growth habit, germination time, and ideal temperature range can influence when it’s best to start the seeds. Let’s take a closer look at some popular herbs and their recommended starting times.


Basil is a popular herb known for its distinctive aroma and versatility in the kitchen. It is best to start basil seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. This allows the seedlings to establish a good root system before being transplanted outdoors.


Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a herb commonly used in various cuisines. It prefers cool temperatures, so it’s best to start cilantro seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. This allows the plants to mature and be ready for harvest before the hot summer temperatures arrive.


Parsley is a biennial herb that is often grown as an annual. It has a long germination period, so it’s recommended to start parsley seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. This gives the seeds ample time to sprout and develop into sturdy seedlings.


Thyme is a perennial herb that is commonly used in Mediterranean cooking. It is best to start thyme seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Thyme has a slow germination process, so starting the seeds early ensures that you have strong and healthy plants when it’s time to transplant them outdoors.

Factors to consider

In addition to the specific needs of each herb, there are a few general factors to consider when deciding when to begin indoor herb seeds:

  • Frost dates: Knowing the average last frost date in your area is crucial for determining when to start indoor herb seeds. This information can be obtained from local gardening resources or online tools.
  • Growth rate: Some herbs, like basil, grow quickly and can be started closer to the last frost date. Others, like parsley, have a slower growth rate and require more time to mature.
  • Indoor growing conditions: The conditions in your indoor growing space, such as temperature and light levels, can also impact when to start seeds. Ensure that your herbs have adequate warmth and light for optimal germination and growth.


Starting indoor herb seeds at the right time is crucial for successful herb gardening. While the specific starting times may vary depending on the herb, it’s important to consider factors such as frost dates, growth rate, and indoor growing conditions. By understanding the specific needs of each herb and following the recommended starting times, you can enjoy a bountiful and thriving indoor herb garden.

Related Websites:


Q: What are the different stages of herb growth?

Herbs go through three main stages of growth: seed, seedling, and mature plant. Starting with seeds allows you to witness the entire growth cycle and have full control over the process.

Q: What temperature range is ideal for different herb seeds?

Different herb seeds have varying temperature requirements. It is important to research the ideal temperature range for each herb to ensure successful germination and growth.

Q: How can I provide adequate light for herb seedlings?

Herb seedlings require sufficient light for healthy growth. If natural light is insufficient, you can use artificial light sources such as grow lights or fluorescent lights to provide the necessary illumination.

Q: What type of soil should I use for herb seed starting?

Choosing the right soil is crucial for successful herb seed starting. Use a well-draining soil mix specifically formulated for seedlings. Ensure the soil is sterilized and maintain appropriate moisture levels for optimal growth.

Q: When should I start seeds for herbs that thrive in spring?

To give spring herbs a head start, start the seeds indoors before the last frost. This allows the plants to establish themselves and be ready for outdoor transplantation when the weather warms up.