Sunrooms are ideal for all kinds of flora and in some ways have more ideal conditions than the outdoors. Sheltered from freezing temperatures, harsh winds or blaring sun conditions, sunrooms can be an ideal place for an indoor herb garden.
Herbs, like all plants, have certain requirements for sunlight, humidity, temperature, and careful watering in order to optimize their health and growth.
Exposure to Sunlight
When deciding on which herbs to grow, a little research may be in order. You’ll need to know how many hours per day of sunlight a particular herb plant needs and the intensity of the sunlight – does the plant need full sun, some shade, or total shade? Herbs generally prefer 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
If there are trees or large bushes in front of your sunroom that partially obstruct the sun from entering freely into your sunroom, you may need to use some artificial lighting.
A south-facing sunroom has bright light all day with the most intense sunshine around midday. Though this direction is considered the most advantageous, make sure to monitor the herbs closely in summer. Move them back from the window if they show signs of heat stress (wilting or burnt leaves). The farther away from the window they’re placed, the less intense the light and heat. Avoid letting the leaves or other parts of the plant directly touch the window to avoid burning the plant.
An east-facing window receives full sun for a few hours in the morning and bright light the rest of the day. Intense heat is less of a problem, so you can place the herbs close to the windowpane.
A west-facing window receives bright light in the morning and a few hours of full sun in the afternoon. Look out for Intense afternoon sunlight in the summer. Move the herbs back from the glass if leaves wilt or look burnt.
Most herbs prefer full sun and, unfortunately, you won’t have very much direct light in a northern window. Place the herbs close to the window, but keep a close watch in winter. If the windows are drafty you may need to move the herbs back a bit. Stick with herbs that prefer partial sun but can tolerate shade.
Indoor herbs need both fairly high humidity and excellent air circulation. 50-60% relative humidity should suffice to keep your herbs growing healthy. To check the humidity level in your sunroom, you can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer online or at a hardware store.
If your humidity levels are too low the leaves will turn brown at the tips and have yellow edges or leaves may dry up completely. This can be solved by misting your plants once a week or adding a humidifier.
If the humidity level is too high you may get grey moldy leaves. Stems and leaves may begin to rot. You could add a fan to keep air circulation consistent or use a dehumidifier.
Temperature is an important factor in successfully growing herbs indoors. The ideal temperature for most herbs is between 65 to 70 degrees, which is similar to household temperatures.
When temperatures are too high, 75 degrees F, or higher, spray misting is helpful to combat high temperatures.
It is important to avoid temperatures that are too low as ultimately, this can cause damage to its growth. Space heaters can be used to raise the temperature but be sure to keep direct heat away from herb plants.
Different areas of a sunroom can have slightly different temperatures. Chilly and drafty doors and windows can affect some plants adversely. If a plant shows signs of distress and is near a drafty spot, move it to a warmer area.
For proper watering, pay attention to the containers you use. Any pot used to grow herbs indoors needs to have adequate drainage holes. Herbs do not like to be kept in standing water, so there needs to be a way for the water to drain out of the pot.
Allow the soil to dry out a bit in between watering. Use your finger to test the soil. If the soil is dry about 1-2 inches below the top, it’s time to water. The goal is to get the roots to grow deep down looking for water. This encourages a strong, healthy root system.
Water your herbs slowly. You want the soil to absorb the water. Watering too quickly makes the water run straight through and out the drainage holes.
If you aren’t sure if you are under watering or over watering your herbs, you may want to buy a soil moisture meter. These gadgets keep track of how much water the soil holds and indicate when more water is needed.
For more than 25 years, the pros at Sunshine Sunrooms have helped homeowners with sunroom design, installation, renovation, and repairs, all with top-tier customer service and technical know-how.
For the very best in sunroom design, installation, and repairs, call Sunshine Sunrooms at (972) 243-5390 or request a quote online.