Herb Seed Start Dates
The guide below is intended to be used for starting herb plants indoors and then moving them outside for the summer months. It is focused around our climate here in southern Alberta. If you are interested in growing herbs indoors year round, this guide will help you with germination and harvest times, just ignore the plant out dates.
Note: The dates listed on the chart for recommended transplant out dates are just a guideline. The Spring here can sometimes throw a curveball your way. Herbs started indoors are always tender to the frost at first. Some are not able to handle any frost at all. Keep this in mind when planting out and be sure to check the weather.
Herb plants started indoors need hardening off, even hardy ones. They are used to the controlled conditions indoors and need to be acclimatized to the conditions outdoors.
- Hardening Off:
- As the weather gets nicer start putting the plants outside during the day and bringing them in at night.
- After about 2 weeks the plants should be hardened off, start this process about 2 weeks before the plant out times, weather permitting of course.
- Some young plants are tender to frost and near frost conditions and need to be brought in at night, sometimes this weather will last into June.
- Many herb varieties are unable to handle any frost conditions and may need to be moved in and out until the weather permits them being left outside.
|Common Name||Botanical Name||Days To Harvest||Indoor Start Date||Germination Time||Transplant Outdoors|
|Arugala||Eruca vesicaria sativa||30 days||late-April-early May||10 days||mid-late June|
|Basil (lemon)||Ocimum basilicum citriodorum||80 days||late March-early April||1-2 weeks||mid-late June (after frost)|
|Basil (purple)||Ocimum basilicum 'Purpurescens'||80 days||late March-early April||1-2 weeks||mid-late June (after frost)|
|Basil (sweet)||Ocimum basilicum||85 days||late March-early April||1-2 weeks||mid-late June (after frost)|
|Basil (thai)||Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora||75 days||late March-early April||1-2 weeks||mid-late June (after frost)|
|Chamomile||Matricaria chamomilla||80 days||mid March||1-2 weeks||early June|
|Chervil||Anthriscus cerefolium||70 days||early April||2-3 weeks||early June|
|Chives||Allium schoenoprasum||80 days||mid April||1-2 weeks||early-mid June|
|Chives (garlic)||Allium tuberosum||80 days||mid April||1-2 weeks||early-mid June|
|Cilantro||Coriandrum sativum||60 days||recommend outdoor seeding||1-2 weeks||after last frost|
|Dill||Anethum graveolens||70 days||recommend outdoor seeding||1-3 weeks||after last frost|
|Lavender||Lavandula angustifolia||90 days||late February-early March||3-5 weeks||after last frost|
|Lemon Balm||Melissa officinalis||95 days||mid March||2-3 weeks||early June|
|Marjoram (sweet)||Origanum majorana||70 days||late March||1-3 weeks||mid-late June|
|Mint||Mentha spp.||90 days||late March-early April||1-2 weeks||early June|
|Oregano||Origanum vulgare||90 days||mid-late March||1-3 weeks||after last frost|
|Parsley||Petroselinum crispum||75 days||early-mid March||2-4 weeks||mid-late June|
|Rosemary||Rosmarinus officinalis||85 days||late February||1-4 weeks||after last frost|
|Sage||Salvia officinalis||75 days||early March||1-2 weeks||early-mid June|
|Summer Savory||Satureja hortensis||60 days||early-mid March||1-3 weeks||early June|
|Sorrel||Rumex acetosa||70 days||mid March||1-2 weeks||early-mid June|
|Spearmint||Mentha spicata||85 days||late March-early April||1-2 weeks||early June|
|Stevia||Stevia rebaudiana||75 days||early-mid March||1-3 weeks||after last frost|
|Tarragon||Artemisia dracunculus||85 days||mid-late February||1-4 weeks||early June|
|Thyme||Thymus vulgaris||85 days||mid March||1-3 weeks||early June|