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I'm trying to grow some herbs (basil, coriander, and chives) in pots on my kitchen windowsill. This seems to work pretty well for a while, but usually they die after a little bit (well, the basil doesn't, but I'm pretty sure basil would survive a nuclear war).

Having done some reading, it seems that I need to learn how to prune, as well as invest in some fertilizer.

One thing I was wondering though, do I need to periodically entirely replace the soil that the herbs are potted in, or does the fertilizer take care of that?

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Please, edit your question and tell us the name of your herbs. Thank you! –  BYJ Aug 3 at 21:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Typically the substrate is not completely replaced. The usual procedure is to fill with new substrate or to transplant to a pot 4 cm. longer (in diameter). By the way, this is not applicable to all herbs because some of them are annuals.

Basil [Ocimum basilicum L.]:

This is an annual plant, so you don't need to repot. Instead, store some seeds and grow them the following spring. O. basilicum need a sunny position, moist but well drained soil (loam type is best) and some fertilizer.

My advice to get the best taste and to have a very long-lived plant: Remove the inflorescences.

Coriander [Coriandrum sativum L.]:

This is another annual plant. They need full to partial sun, moist but very very well drained soil (sandy-loamy type is best). Please do not overwater. It will kill the plant... let the soil to dry before next irrigation.

If you want green leaves and long-lived plant, remove the inflorescences... but take in mind that yellowish leaves after flowering are the most flavored (in my opinion at least).

Chives [Allium schoenoprasum L.]:

I am not very familiar with common names in English, so I choose A. schoenoprasum as reference. They need full sun (maybe not as much as basil), moist sandy-clay soils. Please do not flood the soil, but do not leave it dry.

Last thing:

I can not be sure.. but I think that your plants are dying due to overwatering. If you update your questions with pictures or descriptions about what happen until the plant die I will update this point. Do not forget to change your substrate every year and wash your pots to eliminate rest of salts, fungi, etc.


Ocimum basilicum L. (Spanish)

Coriandrum sativum L. (Spanish)

Allium schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum L. (Spanish)

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Thanks for the thorough answer! =) –  Joe Aug 4 at 9:12

You do not need to repot annual herbs, but you do have to fertilize them, especially in you want to harvest hard/often. The coriander and basil are annuals, and the chives are perennial. Indoors, growing chives as an annual is much more convenient, because you don't have to try to overwinter them or repot each year. For convenience, treat them as an annual.

Fertilize all your herbs in a root drench every two weeks. Find a high nitrogen soluble fertilizer. Also, as ondoteam pointed out, do not overwater. This will eventually kill the plant.The basil and coriander will also benefit from the regular removing of all the flowerheads that appear, as any seed-setting brings growth to a halt. Chives rarely flower indoors, but if they do, it shouldn't seriosly affect growth.

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Thanks for the edit, and the answer - I'll look up soluble fertiliser =) –  Joe Aug 4 at 9:11

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