The Fastest Growing Herbs from Seed


After reading my post about herbs that grow without direct light, you’re now interested in growing an herb garden. The thing is, you want to do it now, as the sooner the better, right? If you’re starting from scratch with your herbs and have only seeds, how long will it take for them to grow?

What are the fastest-growing herbs from seed? The following fast-growing herbs from seed will suit your indoor garden:

  • Sage
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Chervil
  • Mint
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Basil

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about planting the above 10 great herb species from seed. You’ll learn growing conditions for each herb and how long it will be until you can harvest your indoor garden to garnish your home-cooked meals!

In a Rush? Grow These 10 Herbs from Seed Today

Sage

You may recall seeing the sage on my list of herbs that don’t need direct light. If you’re new to indoor gardening and you’re afraid you’ll mess up your plant’s lighting conditions, start with the sage.

Not only is sage one of the fastest herbs to grow from seed it’s also one of the hard-to-kill herbs. I’d describe sage as one of the least picky and most forgiving herbs I’ve grown over the years.

If you don’t already own a seed Bio Dome, and your goal is to germinate and grow a lot of herbs all at once, I highly recommend that being your first order of business. Here’s one on Amazon from Park Seed that has 60 Bio Sponges and 60 cell planting blocks. Add one sage seed to your Bio Sponge. Alternately, when growing your sage in a seed flat, put some vermiculite atop the seeds.

Plant your sage seeds in the spring, with 18 inches of space between each one. Use well-draining soil and give the sage plenty of bright sunlight if possible.

Then, between 10 and 21 days after you plant the seeds, you should notice your sage has started growing. You can harvest the sage when the herb reaches a height of four inches and has several true leaves, at least two sets.

Fennel

If you want to use fennel in your salads or you wish to snack on the bulb, you won’t have to wait long. By planting the fennel seeds in the middle of the summer, so sometime in July, you should have growing fennel ready by September or so.

When planting fennel seeds in a container, make sure each seed has 10 to 12 inches of space from another. Increase that space to 18 or 24 inches if you’re growing your fennel in rows. Then, bury each seed in soil, about 1/4th an inch.

Dill

The flavor of dill weed has notes of celery, anise, and fennel but with a slight bitterness and warmth that makes it truly unique. Growing dill from seed in your indoor garden is an endeavor that takes 10 to 14 days, so if you’re impatient, you won’t have to wait long at all to see results.

Make sure that where you grow your dill is where it will stay for a while. The taproots dill establishes are sensitive to disturbances, so moving the dill could stress out the plant.

Maintain a soil temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can test the temperature of your soil anytime with a soil thermometer such as this one from Smart Choice on Amazon.

The dill seeds should get full sun each day. Use soil that has organic matter but drains well, and ensure the soil’s pH isn’t too basic nor overly acidic.

A good neutral soil is best, or as close to neutral as you can get. The seeds should be spaced 18 inches from one another and buried 1/4 inches deep in your soil.

Two weeks after the dill germinates, prune the plants so each has a distance of at least 12 inches from one another (18 inches’ distance is even better if you can make it work). Once you get into the swing of things with growing dill from seed, do it often from the middle of summer into the autumn so you don’t run out!

Oregano

Having some oregano in your pantry is a delight. To start planting yours from seed, choose a sunny spot in your home, office or kitchen. If you read my article on herbs that can grow in shade, oregano is one of them, so it’s okay if yours can’t get full sun all the time.

The soil for your oregano seeds should drain well and be packed loosely. Keep the pH between 6.0 and 7.0, which is more on the neutral side.

As well as a fast grower, oregano is also another very forgiving herb you can grow. I mainly say that because, even if you end up having to use a soil of poorer quality, if it can drain well, the oregano will probably be fine.

Keep the temperatures indoors at 70 degrees where the oregano seedlings grow. Within a few days, you’ll see some growth, and full germination will occur in 10 to 15 days.

Before the seedlings are visible, you can use a cheesecloth or similar covering to protect the seeds and give them some darkness for growth.

Chervil

Chervil is known as the French parsley. It has a licorice and anise-like taste in the same vein as parsley, tarragon, and fennel, but it’s milder than those three herbs.

You can accent your own indoor garden with chervil by using a seed-starting formula and covering the seeds in 1/8 inches of soil.

Maintain a soil temperature of 70 degrees, and within two weeks, your chervil should germinate. As a caveat, in some instances, chervil has been known to take 28 days to germinate.

On germination day, ensure the chervil gets lots of sun. You can leave a fluorescent light on for 16 hours a day, putting the seedlings about three inches beneath the light. Turn the light off overnight for eight hours.

Otherwise, a bright and sunny windowsill will definitely suffice for the growing seedlings.

At three weeks, fertilize your chervil with a half-strength starter solution. This may seem early, but fertilizing at this stage will really help the chervil grow even faster.

Mint

Mint is a refreshing, sweet herb to add to your indoor garden, and growing mint from seed only takes between 10 and 15 days. You’ll again use your Bio Dome and a Bio Sponge to encourage the growth of your mint, so have those supplies ready.

A seed flat also works really well, but you want the seeds in the middle or atop the flat.

Leave your mint seeds uncovered so they can drink in all that sunlight they get from day to day. Keep temperatures at 68 to 75 degrees to help germination occur.

Then, wait for some true leaves to develop, two or more sets of these, and you’re safe to transplant the growing mint elsewhere in your indoor garden if you prefer.

When is the best time to harvest mint?

The oils, where the minty flavor comes from, are more prominent first thing in the morning than they are later in the day.

Thus, making morning time the time you want to harvest your mint, as it will have the most prominent flavor!

Coriander

Coriander is the houseplant species where you get cilantro from. This herb usually enjoys moderate sunlight, but as the intensity of the sun grows during the day, it’s a good idea to shade your coriander for the rest of the afternoon.

Use fertile, draining soil in a pot or container. Like some of the other herbs on this list, moving the coriander once you plant it will stress it out, delaying germination.

When it comes to choosing where to plant coriander, try to plant it where it’s going to permanently live. Almost every time I’ve moved my coriander from it’s original home it’s ended up becoming stressed and either died or needed a lot of attention it wouldn’t have needed otherwise.

Choose the home for your coriander carefully.

Besides soil, coriander also grows well when potted with multipurpose compost. Make sure the taproots of the coriander can reach about 10 inches deep, so a sizable pot is best. You can plant five seeds at a time, giving them a distance of about 10 inches apart from one another.

In two to three weeks, germination should occur. You may have to prune your growing coriander to ensure each plant has the necessary distance. On a three-week basis, add more coriander seeds to your pot so you can keep your supply going all summer long.

Chives

If it’s chives you’re interested in growing as part of your indoor garden, it takes about two weeks for germination to occur. Your chive seeds need to be in an environment that’s at least 70 degrees.

Use flats for the seeds, if possible, and give them darkness in those first few weeks or germination may not happen. You can put cardboard or newspaper over the seeds so no light can get in.

Do your best to refrain from checking on the seeds during these first weeks, as much as you’ll want to. Exposing the seeds to light can delay the germination process and even ruin a seeds chances to form and grow correctly.

Once germination has happened, take the covering off the growing chives and let them get sunlight from a sunny window or an artificial light source. Use fluorescents instead of incandescents for the chives, as the latter might be too harsh.

Wait about four weeks and, if you want, you can move the chives elsewhere. Otherwise, you can harvest them soon after germination.

Parsley

You might be a touch surprised to see parsley on this list, as this herb is usually not the quickest grower. You can change that with a little hack. Before you sow parsley seeds, soak them in water overnight. This will encourage them to grow faster.

Use loamy and moist soil for parsley and add some compost once you plant your seeds. Provide at least partial sun each day, with full sun better at times. Putting your parsley on a windowsill or otherwise near a window will be its best home in those early growing days.

Keep your parsley plants nine inches from one another, and prune the growing parsley to maintain that same distance after germination. When you go to harvest your parsley, take its leaves, mostly from stalks at the top or nearer the bottom of the herb. Leaving the center stalks intact may encourage more growth over the parsley’s second year.

Basil

The last herb you can quickly harvest when growing from seed is basil. This herb appreciates moist soil, so wet yours with water if necessary until you get the desired consistency.

Place the soil about an inch deep into your seed cells, adding several seeds per cell. Top the seeds with some dry soil. Spritz water atop the soil and then add your Bio Dome.

Following the previous steps and keeping the temperature right around 70 degrees should result in your basil seeds germinating in three to five days.

Yes, that makes basil the fastest-growing herb on this list!

After germination, take the Bio Dome off the basil and provide artificial light or sunlight for six hours a day to strengthen your growing plants. The light will also control basil legginess.

Keep the light no further than three inches from the basil. Make sure you nourish your seedlings with water twice weekly until you become able to determine the specific watering needs of your basil.

Conclusion

Growing plants from seed can be so satisfactory, but admittedly, the waiting game is a difficult one to play. The 10 herbs I covered today all grow from seed in a matter of weeks, with some herbs even sprouting up in days.

Once you see how easy it is to grow your own tasty herbs, you’ll be hooked on indoor gardening! Best of luck with your herbs.

Fred Zimmer

I'm a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I'm focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I'm good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

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