How Often to Water Herbs Indoors, Outdoors, and In Pots?

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Herb gardening is often the starting point for many gardeners when someone gifts us a pot of basil or chives for our kitchen windowsill. But if you’re new to gardening, it can be hard to figure out just how much water your herbs need.

If you over or underwater your herbs, you risk killing them outright. So – let’s take the guesswork out of watering herbs with our definitive guide!

So you can safely water your herbs and produce oodles of delicious and yummy harvest for you and your cupboard.

Sound good?

Let’s begin!

How Often to Water Herbs

Some herbs will need to be watered frequently, depending on the type of herb and growing conditions. Indoor herbs grown in small containers in direct sunlight may need watering every other day. Larger herb pots and outdoor-growing cultivars will need to be watered weekly in dry weather.

watering fresh garden herbs and vegetables in raised garden bed
Many drought-tolerate perennial herbs seldom require watering once transplanted outside. For improved soil water retention, consider adding mulch to your herb garden. Mulch helps retain moisture – making it an excellent addition for catnip, chive, oregano, and herb gardens. Mulch also helps stifle weeds that compete against your herbs for water.

Should Herbs Be Watered Every Day?

We need to drink water every day, so our plants are the same. Right? Well – not necessarily. Most herbs do okay once you transplant them into the soil and give them a deep watering.

After transplanting, there are very few herbs that need watering every day. Unless you live in a tremendously hot climate, or your herbs are very young and not well established, it is unlikely that they will need watering every day.

Can I Overwater My Herbs?

Yes! It is tremendously easy to overwater herbs. The ease of overwatering is a common reason why they fail to thrive. Overwatering becomes a significant problem if your herb plants are grown in containers without adequate drainage. To protect against this, make sure that your containers have plenty of drainage holes in the bottom.

hand watering indoor herbs in small pots
Overwatering is the single biggest sin in the world of small herb gardens! Overwatering your herbs leads to wilting foliage, yellowing leaves, and the premature demise of your herbs. Make sure that your herbs have proper drainage. And – only water when the soil feels dry!

How Wet Should Soil Be for Herbs?

You might examine your potting soil and think that the surface feels very dry. But does this mean that your herbs need water?

The best way to check is to scrape away the surface and inspect the top inch of soil – can you feel any moisture? Moist soil will be darker and harder to push your finger through. Dry soil is looser and more crumbly.

If you detect any moisture? The soil in the rest of the container is also likely damp. But if the top inch of soil is dry, your herbs will benefit from light watering.

Read More – How to Harvest Chives Without Killing the Plant!

How Often Should I Water My Basil Plant and Other Indoor Herbs?

It depends. To know how often to water herbs indoors, we need to check the size of the container and the growing conditions.

A basil plant in a small pot on a kitchen windowsill in direct sunlight will dry out quickly and may require watering every other day.

Herbs in larger containers or kept out of direct sunlight will not be so thirsty. These herbs should only need watering every three or four days. As always – double-check the soil with your finger. Only water the herb if the dirt feels dry.

How Often Should I Water My Herbs in Pots?

The size of your pots and the growing medium will affect how often to water herbs in pots. A large container allows a more impressive root system to establish, and it will also hold more water. Small pots will dry out quickly, especially if exposed to many hours of sunlight each day.

Modern growing mediums sometimes have advanced water-retaining properties. Growing mediums with specialized water retention allow water to be released slowly over several days. A high level of organic matter will also soak up water, keeping your plants hydrated for several days.

As a rule of thumb, water herbs in small containers twice per week. You can water larger pots weekly. If they are outside? Then you only need to water if there is no rainfall.

How Often Should I Water an Outdoor Herb Garden?

The great thing about planting an outdoor herb garden is that the roots have the chance to grow deep into the soil and access water, even when the surface is dry. So, in cooler weather? Your outdoor herbs should not need any extra water.

If you have a dry spell in summer, with many hours of sunlight, then a good soaking once per week will keep your herbs in good condition.

watering herbs and vegetables in raised garden bed
Watering your outdoor garden herbs in the early morning while the air is still cool is a great idea. That way – the water seeps deep into the herb’s root system. The water seems to evaporate much faster under the heat of the blazing sun! The water can also dry before nightfall and help prevent fungus if you water early.

How Often Do You Water Certain Herbs?

The amount of water that herbs need does vary according to the type. Some thrive in dry conditions, while others love staying cool. And damp!

We classify herbs by three levels of water demand as follows.

Water Loving Herbs

Moisture-loving herbs are those that are quick-growing and have soft leaf growth. These include basil, parsley, and cilantro.

Medium Water Herbs

Herbs in this category grow slowly but don’t adapt well to hot weather. Chives, oregano, dill, and fennel are all medium water herbs.

Low Water Herbs

The herb plants that require the least amount of water adapted to survive in a hot Mediterranean climate, such as rosemary, thyme, and sage.

Read More – Harvesting Sage Without Killing the Plant! Made Easy!

What Herbs Don’t Need Direct Sunlight?

It is a great idea to plant herbs according to their preferences regarding sunlight and watering. You can have a bed of sun-worshipping Mediterranean herbs that require minimal attention. And then, in a shaded area, you can plant those that prefer less sunlight and more water.

That’s the beauty of planting herbs – and why we recommend herb gardens for new homesteaders. You can find an herb to match your landscape and water availability, whether your garden gets eight hours of sunlight or if you live in absolute shade.

Shade Loving Herbs

Any herb that loves damp ground will do well in the shade. The most notorious shade-loving herb is mint, which will quickly take over a dampened shady corner! Other shade-loving herbs include chives, parsley, and dill.

Sun Loving Herbs

Most woody perennial herbs love as many hours of sunlight as possible and will thrive in a sunny spot in well-drained soil. Rosemary, lavender, and sage are good examples of sun-loving herbs.

However, some leafy green herbs enjoy sunlight, and they want plenty of water, too! Basil, cilantro, and fennel all like to have several hours of bright sunlight every day and will thrive in warm, damp conditions.

Overall, the best advice I can give you is to group your herbs according to how much sun and water they like.

Have one patch for sun-loving herbs that need little water, another for those that like both sun and water, and a third for shade-loving herbs that thrive in damp ground.

Best Herb Seeds for Easy Watering

We know that watering your herbs causes a lot of stress – especially if you’re a new gardener!

It’s also tricky knowing which herbs you should try growing first. There can be too many options.

So we’re sharing the best herb seeds that won’t cause you too much trouble when watering.

We’ve analyzed some of the best seed collections for herb gardens, and we like the following herb seed bundles the most.

We hope they help your herb garden substantially.

Happy gardening!

  1. 12 Culinary Herb Seeds Pack | MadayFormula
    $12.92 ($1.08 / Count)

    Here's a beautiful herb bundle containing the best culinary seeds. The seed bag has mountain mint, Italian basil, chives, English thyme, tarragon, rosemary, sage, and summer savory. These seeds are perfect for indoor or outdoor growing. It's ideal for new herb gardens and advanced green thumbs alike.

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    06/12/2024 07:41 am GMT
  2. 300 Dill Seeds for Outdoor or Indoor Planting | Seedra

    These heirloom non-GMO dill seeds are excellent for pesto, salads, pickles, sauces, smoothies, baked bread, and soups. Dill seeds germinate in around one to three weeks, and they prefer at least six hours of daily sunlight. The dill seeds also come from the USA. The seed bags contain roughly 300 dill seeds.

    Get More Info

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  3. 10 Culinary Herb Heirloom Seeds Vault | Home Grown
    $12.99 ($1.30 / Count)

    We love this culinary seed vault! It has excellent reviews - and a stellar variety of seeds. The package contains over 3,000+ herb seeds. You get dill, oregano, thyme, mint, chives, cilantro, and parsley seeds. This herb seed selection rocks whether you're a chef, gardener, off-grid enthusiast, homesteader, or survivalist.

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    06/12/2024 10:06 pm GMT
  4. 12 Heirloom Medicinal and Culinary Herb Seeds | Farmer Valley
    $14.75 ($1.23 / Count)

    This fragrant herb seed pack contains 3,450 herb seeds! You get 550 Italian basil seeds, 200 thyme seeds, 50 rosemary seeds, 550 Italian parsley seeds, 200 chive seeds, plus a ton more. It's everything you need for an epic and abundant herb garden. The seeds are from the US.

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    06/13/2024 06:46 pm GMT
  5. Herb Seeds Silly Seed Collection | Sustainable Sprout

    This open-pollinated herb seed collection is excellent for starting an indoor herb garden. The kit includes Genovese basil, chive, Long Island mammoth dill, slow-bolt cilantro, and thyme seeds. Plus more! The seeds come from the USA and only have a handful of negative reviews.

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    06/13/2024 02:48 am GMT
  6. Culinary Herbs Seed Vault | Home Grown
    $23.99 $16.99

    Want to start a massive and flourishing herb garden for cheap? Peppermint and mint are only two of the herbs you get in this herb seed ensemble. You also get basil, chives, arugula, dill, garlic chive, lavender, and oregano seeds. The herb seeds are non-GMO heirlooms - and the reviews are also stellar.

    Get More Info

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    06/13/2024 01:36 am GMT


So, do you have your herb watering plan all figured out yet?

Don’t panic if it all seems a bit complicated – with practice? You will soon learn to understand what plants need water and when!

Remember to monitor your herbs at least every week to see how the plants look – and how the soil feels. The herb harvest gods will reward you for giving plenty of attentive care. And water!

Thanks for reading.

Have a great day!

Read More – Three Best Basil Plant Cultivars for Sweet Herb Gardens!

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