Managing Unruly Herbs – What To Do With Overgrown Herbs Indoors

overgrown herbs
overgrown herbs
(Image credit: Tim Allen)

Do you have any large, uncontrolled container herbs? Not sure what to do with overgrown herbs such as these? Keep reading because there are a few things that you can do to solve your out of control plants.

Managing Unruly Herbs

If your indoor herbs are too big, there are a few things that you can do. Some of the options include pruning them back, propagating them, and providing better indoor growing conditions to encourage stronger growth. 

Prune Back Overgrown Herb Plants

Don’t be afraid to prune back your plants if your indoor herbs are too big. You can use the clippings for cooking or to make tea. Pruning your herbs will keep them growing well, which means more for you to use!

Pruning them back will also delay the plant from going to seed, which means more leaves for you to use too. Herbs like basil and cilantro are grown for their leaves, so if you prune back the plants, they will produce more leaves for you to use. 

Propagate Your Herbs

You can take advantage of any overgrown herb plants by propagating them to give to friends, or to make more for your garden or new pots.

Propagating herbs is very easy. Herbs like basil, sage, oregano and rosemary are easy to root from tip cuttings. Simply snip the cuttings right below the node. The node is where the leaves meet the stem and where rooting will occur. Cuttings are best taken on newer growth, so late spring to early summer is ideal. 

Remove any of the lower leaves, and insert into a moist potting mix. You can also use moist perlite or vermiculite. If you prefer water propagation, this is an option too. It is best to increase the humidity as cuttings are rooting, so place them in a plastic bag, or enclose them under a plastic dome, but be careful not to let the leaves touch the plastic. 

Within a short time, your cuttings should root. Keep them in a warm, but shaded, area while rooting.

Divide Your Herbs

If you have uncontrolled container herbs and you don’t want to take cuttings, you can simply take your plant out of the pot and divide the herbs at the roots to make new plants. This way, you don’t have to wait for rooting to occur and you can easily pot up the divisions in new pots. 

If your herbs are leggy and weak, be sure to prune them back a bit to encourage new growth.

Give Your Herbs More Light

If you are growing your herbs indoors and they are weak and leggy, chances are that they need more light. Light intensity indoors is much weaker than outdoors, even in a sunny window. Herbs need a lot of sunshine indoors in order to grow strong. So choose a window that has several hours of sunshine.

If you do not have enough sun indoors, considering using artificial light for 14-16 hours a day.