Is it time yet?! Seed starting season is in the air! Knowing when to start planting seeds depends greatly on the type of plant and where you live. But there are some general guidelines you can follow to figure out when to plant herbs.
In this post, you will learn:
When to Plant Herbs from Seed Indoors
People might think gardeners are snoozing during the winter, but the reality is seed starting happens much earlier than you might expect.
To get a jump start on the gardening season, most gardeners who grow from seed will do some seed starting. You start the seeds indoors and transplant them outside when ready.
This extends the season and allows your herbs to be ready for harvesting earlier than if you were to direct sow them outside.
Generally, you start herb seeds indoors from February to March. February is best for warmer and mild climates, while March is better for colder climates.
You don’t want to start too early. Herbs can get leggy when grown indoors searching for sun, but it can sometimes still be too cold to plant them outside.
When to Plant Herbs Outside With Direct Sowing
You can also direct sow. This works if you either forgot to do seed starting earlier or don’t have the space for seed starting. Some plants also direct sow very easily, and you may not need to go through all the effort of starting seeds indoors.
It’s best to direct sow after frost, so you would start much later than you would inside. Typically, late April to mid-May is a good time to plant herb seeds directly outside.
Check out how to direct sow herb seeds here.
Common Herb Planting Chart
I suggest these start times for milder winters, such as mine in coastal British Columbia. I also noted suggestions for colder regions, such as zones 3 and 4.
- Basil: Start indoors in April or direct sow mid-may for all climates.
- Cilantro: Direct sow as early as March. In colder climates, direct sow mid-April.
- Dill: Direct sow outside in May. In colder climates, direct sow mid-April.
- Lavender: Start indoors in January or direct sow in March. Do not direct sow in colder climates.
- Lemon Balm: Start indoors in February or direct sow in April. In colder climates, start one month later.
- Mint: Start indoors in February or direct sow in April. In colder climates, direct sow mid-April.
- Oregano: Start indoors in mid-February or direct sow mid-May. In colder climates, start indoors in April or direct sow in mid-May.
- Parsley: Direct sow in mid-April. In colder climates, direct sow May.
- Rosemary: Start indoors in February or direct sow mid-May. Do not direct sow in colder climates.
- Sage: Start indoors in February or direct sow in mid-May for all climates.
- Thyme: Start indoors in February or direct sow in mid-May for all climates.
If you don’t see the herb you’re looking for or are unsure about your climate, search for a herb planting chart followed by your zone.
When to Plant Herb Plants
If you start herb seeds indoors, they’re ready to be transplanted outside when they have two sets of true leaves. It should also be after the last frost date. Most herbs are annuals and won’t handle the cold well.
Frequently Asked Questions About Planting Herb Seeds
I wouldn’t recommend it. The seedlings will be a lot of maintenance to keep alive in the heat, and it will take a while to reach maturity. By then, the cold may already be coming, and the plant will die for the winter.
It’s best to buy herbs from the garden centre when starting in the summer rather than begin from seed.
To enjoy herbs year-round, you’ll need to grow an indoor garden. Depending on climate and sunlight, you may need a grow light to ensure they grow large enough for you to harvest from them.
Learn More About Growing Herbs