Herbs for Less  

Tips for your new herbs!
dot Important! What to do when your plants arrive.
dot Caring for indoor herbs.
dot What about pests?
dot "Ask Us" and Frequently Asked Questions.
dot When your plants arrive!
Watering When your herbs arrive, if the soil seems very dry, you should water them as soon as possible. Usually, herbs prefer a regular watering schedule and they prefer slightly dry soil as opposed to wet soil. You should be conservative with the water, but check the soil regularly. You do not want the herbs to get too dry. Wilting is usually a sign that the plant need water. If you are keeping your herbs indoors, please read "Caring for herbs indoors below.
Planting Depending on your climate, you should plant your herbs outdoors when there is no danger of frost. You can check our map of climate zones and compare your location with the recommended zone of the herbs you have purchased. You should have your planting spot ready (whether indoors or out) and plant your herbs as soon as possible after arrival. Any sunny site where rain water is absorbed quickly will do just fine. Add sand to your soil if you find that the soil stays muddy after watering or rainfall.
Sun/Shade Your herbs prefer a sunny location, but some herbs will survive in moderate shade.
Mulch If you live in a cold climate (Zones 5 or less), you may wish to cover the ground around your herbs with leaf material, especially if you live where the snow cover is not consistent throughout the winter. See our zone map to find out where you are.
dot Caring for herbs indoors:
Sunlight Most herbs require 4-5 hours of direct sunlight every day. A south-facing window is ideal, but west or east will work as well. If you find that your plants are getting long and thin, it means they are not getting enough light. If you cannot provide more light, then cut the stems back to encourage bushier growth. Also try rotating the plant so that it will not grow in one direction only.
Heat & Humidity Herbs are usually happy as houseplants. However, problems can occur when the air is too hot or dry, for example, in colder climates, where plants are near a cold window where there is also a heat source like a radiator or air vent. To provide your plants with the humidity they need, you might try placing your herbs on a bed o fpebbles in a tray filled with water. They plants should not actually sit in the water, but on the pebbles just above the water line. When you water the plants, the excess water will drain into the pebbles. If a plant should dry out completely, try immersing it, container and all, in water for an hour. Then see if there are any signs of life!
Watering IMPORTANT! You should check the soil around the herbs frequently by pressing a finger a half inch below the surface of the soil. If it feels dry, gently pour water into the pot. Try not to pour water directly onto the stems since you might expose the roots this way. The soil should NEVER be soggy.
Fertilizing Since the soil nutrients in the pot can be used up quickly, it is important to fertilize with a WEAK infusion of an organic fertilizer. Apply a fertilizer when the plants are in a growing season, like in the spring or summer. NEVER use a fertilizer undiluted! Put about 1/2 a teaspoon of fertilizer in a litre of water.
dot About pests:
Pests Although insects are rarely a problem for outdoor herbs, they can become a problem indoors. If you intend to use your herbs in cooking, we strongly recommend that you do not use pesticides or chemical insecticides on your herbs. There are three kind of insects that are common invaders of houseplants and herbs are no exception. These are white fly, spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs and gnats. After all, the bugs like the same herbs we do!
Pest Where they attack What to do
White Fly These small white flying insects lodge themselves under the leaves of fragrant plants, like basil. Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of dish washing liquid or liquid soap into a litre of water. Spray the under side of leaves once a week.
Spider Mites Not readily visible except for fine webs close to stems and faint white spots on leaves. They cluster on the undersides of leaves. Plants susceptible to spider mites are: all members of the mint family (includes sage, lemon balm and catnip) and lemon verbena. Insecticidal soap (Safer's or the above concoction) sprayed on the undersides of the helps to discourage them. Dipping the plant upside down in a bucket of soap solution also works. Try to use soft water, if possible. Hard water diminishes effectiveness.
Aphids Aphids are slow-moving, soft-bodied insects that cling to the tips of plants. Aphids attack basil, coriander, lemon verbena, madder and parsley. Diatomaceous earth (Fossil Flower) or rotenone will control them. Apply weekly to the soil.
Mealy Bugs Small, soft-bodied insect covered with a downy fluff. They are attracted to the stems of "woody" plants (like rosemary). You can wipe mealy bugs off the stems with a piece of paper towel or Q-tip soaked in alcohol. Larvae can be controlled with an application of inceticidal soap.
Gnats The fungus gnat resembles a brown fruit fly. They cluster at the base of the plant in the soil surface. The young feed off the organic matter in the soil and on roots. Like fruitflies, this gnat is more unsightly than harmful. Spray with an insecticidal soap helps, but there is not organic way to control the larvae.