How Often To Water Herbs? Guide For Watering (2023)

Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Mattias

Herb plants are an amazing addition to any garden! Not only are they beautiful to look at with their vibrant colors, but they also provide an abundance of flavor to your favorite dishes and health benefits to your body.

Picking fresh herbs in an outdoor herb garden or from small pots indoors is a special feeling.

But one question often comes up: How often to water herbs? And how much water do they need? 

This article covers everything about watering your herbs.  

Grab your watering can, and let’s get started. 

How Often To Water Herbs? 

how often to water herbs

Some herbs need water once a week, while others need it two to three times a week.

The most important thing for a herb to grow is the right amount of water. But it all comes down to which type of herb you water and other key factors. 

Here is a list of different types of herbs and how often they need watering. But keep in mind that the watering frequency can change. We will go through more factors later that can change the water frequency. 

HerbHow often to water 
Basil1-2 times/week
Chives1-2 times/week
CilantroEvery 1-3 days
DillOnce a week 
FennelOnce a week 
Mint1-2 times/week
Oregano2-3 times/week
Parsley1-2 times/week
Rosemary1-2 times/week
Sage1-2 times/week
ThymeEvery 10-15 days 
Lemon BalmEvery 7-9 days
LavenderOnce every two weeks
Apple MintEvery 3-4 days

3 Factors That Determine How Often To Water Herbs

woman with her son watering plants

Three factors can change how often to water herbs frequency which is: 

  • Weather Conditions. 
  • Where It Is Planted.
  • The Type Of Soil It Is Planted On.

Let’s take a look at each factor. 

Weather Condition 

The weather is a big factor when watering herbs. 

If a herb plant is exposed to many hours of direct sunlight,  hot weather, dry weather, or high temperatures, a herb plant needs plenty of extra water and frequent watering, especially during the growing season. 

If not, the soil will dry up fast, and the herb plant may be hurt. But remember that it’s easier to save an underwatered plant than an overwatered one. So don’t rush into watering too much. 

If you’re using potted herbs, you can move the pots into the shade for a while during hot days or find a spot with partial shade. 

However, there is high humidity and a lower temperature during the winter months, and the soil stays moist for much longer, so it doesn’t require as much frequent watering as in the summer months. (depending on where you live). 

Like most plants, it is pretty straightforward: 

Warm temperatures: More water 

Cold temperatures: Less water 

Where It Is Planted

Herb plants are planted indoors or outdoors. When grown indoors, herb plants usually require less water than outdoor ones. This is because outdoor plants have more hours of sunlight, while indoor herb plants only get indirect sunlight (fewer hours of sunlight).

This means that when it’s plated outside, the moisture in their soil will dry out much faster than indoor herb plants, which don’t have access to as much sunlight, and therefore more frequent watering will be needed.

Another factor to keep in mind when watering indoor herb plants is if the plant stands in a southern exposure window, this will require more frequent watering. 

The Type Of Soil It Is Planted On

Another significant factor determining how frequently you should water your herbs is the type of soil it is planted on. 

For indoor herbs, a potting mix is the best choice since it helps the herb to have proper drainage. It also helps the plant root systems to breathe and grow.

The best advice we can give you when it comes to indoor herbs is to stay away from gardening soil because it’s lighter and once it gets wet, it won’t stay compacted. 

For herbs to grow properly, you need to plant them in well-drained soil with good drainage to help expel the water appropriately and reduce their risk of being overwatered and affected by root rot. 

Growing herbs in soil that isn’t well-drained will put them at a high risk of being overwatered and affected by root rot because it will hold too much moisture and will be unable to expel it.

Note: Most herbs like dry soil with good drainage. But some may prefer:

  • Moist soil 
  • Damp soil 
  • Drier soil 
  • Heavy clay soil

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Water Your Herbs?

a water hose watering plants

There are three different ways you can use to decide whether it is time to water your herbs:

• By using a soil moisture gauge.

• By checking the soil’s top layer. 

• By using your finger.

Let’s go through each of them and how they work. 

Using A Soil Moisture Gauge

A soil moisture gauge is the best way to check the moisture level in the soil where your herbs have been grown. 

If it shows that the moisture level is low after checking with the gauge, it is time to water your herbs. Nevertheless, you should not water your herbs if it shows a high moisture level. Instead, wait a few days. But keep in mind that the weather is a big factor as well. 

By Checking The Soil’s Top Layer

You can also check how moist the soil is by checking its top layer. If the top of the soil is dry, you should water it, but if it isn’t, you will have to wait a few days and recheck it. 

By Using Your Finger

Lastly, you can check the soil’s moisture level by putting your finger on it. 

Stick your finger into the top inch of soil; if it’s dry, then it is time to water it, but if you stick your finger into it but it is still wet or isn’t correctly dry, then you should wait for a few days and recheck its moisture level, to determine if you should water it or not. 

How Much Water Do Herbs Need?

Planted herbs in pots

It all comes down to which herb it is. But your herbs must get enough water to soak them up and go down to their root system. So, ensure you use the amount of water to acquire this goal. 

If you’re using pots for your herbs, ensure it has drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, which can expel the excess water and reduce its risk of being overwatered and affected by root rot.

How Do You Know That Your Herbs Are Being Underwatered?

underwatered herb

There are three main signs to look out for. If you see anyone of these, it’s time to take action. But don’t rush into overwatering your herbs. Too much water can harm them. 

A Change In The Colour Of The Herbs Leaves

When the green leaves of your herbs begin to turn to yellow leaves, it could be a sign that it is being underwatered.

However, this sign can also be experienced when the plant is overwatered, so ensure you experience this sign together with the other signs before concluding that this is due to underwatering. 

Black leaves are also a sign that your herb is being underwatered. 

A Change In The Texture Of The Plant’s Leaves and Stem

Wilted leaves that feel dry/crispy when you touch them. 

Note: Underwatering herbs for too long could cause them to die, so ensure you water them at the right frequency and quantity. You might need to replant it in severe cases, especially if you have your herbs in pots. 

How To Fix Underwatered Herbs

If you notice signs that your herbs are being underwatered, you need to increase how often you water them and how much water you use.

You must also ensure you use a lot of water to moisturize the entire plant and the plant’s roots. 

How Do You Know That Your Herbs Are Being Overwatered?

overwatered herb

It’s easy to overwater a herb, especially when you think it has been underwatered. Here are 10 signs to look out for. 

10 Signs That Your Herb Is Overwatered 

  • Leaves become yellow or black. 
  • Leaves fall
  • You can see the substance “fuzzy mildew” on the herb.
  • A visible layer of fuzzy mildew is present on the herb.
  • Signs of edema* can be seen on the leaves.
  • The herb isn’t growing.
  • The herb shows no signs of improvement after watering.
  • The plant’s stem becomes softer than usual
  • The roots break off easily
  • Root rot

How To Fix Overwatered Herbs (In Pots)

Just because your herbs are overwatered, and wilted doesn’t mean they are a lost cause. 

  1. Move your herbs to an area with shade.
  2. Ensure the pot has proper drainage; try to create more space around the roots. 
  3. Be careful with watering; touch the soil, and only water when it’s dry. 
  4. Let it take some time; don’t rush the plant. 

How Often To Water Herbs Summary

We hope you enjoyed this article about how often to water herbs and our watering tips. As you may know, there’re many herbs, each of which demands different types of care and watering. 

If you have a herb garden or know anyone who does herb gardening, share this article with them and send your pictures to us!

Good luck in watering your herbs!