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 NameBotanical NameDays To HarvestIndoor Start DateGermination TimeTransplant Outdoors
ArugalaEruca vesicaria sativa30 dayslate-April-early May10 daysmid-late June
Basil (lemon)Ocimum basilicum citriodorum80 dayslate March-early April1-2 weeksmid-late June (after frost)
Basil (purple)Ocimum basilicum 'Purpurescens'80 dayslate March-early April1-2 weeksmid-late June (after frost)
Basil (sweet)Ocimum basilicum85 dayslate March-early April1-2 weeksmid-late June (after frost)
Basil (thai)Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora75 dayslate March-early April1-2 weeksmid-late June (after frost)
ChamomileMatricaria chamomilla80 daysmid March1-2 weeksearly June
ChervilAnthriscus cerefolium70 daysearly April2-3 weeksearly June
ChivesAllium schoenoprasum80 daysmid April1-2 weeksearly-mid June
Chives (garlic)Allium tuberosum80 daysmid April1-2 weeksearly-mid June
CilantroCoriandrum sativum60 daysrecommend outdoor seeding1-2 weeksafter last frost
DillAnethum graveolens70 daysrecommend outdoor seeding1-3 weeksafter last frost
LavenderLavandula angustifolia90 dayslate February-early March3-5 weeksafter last frost
Lemon BalmMelissa officinalis95 daysmid March2-3 weeksearly June
Marjoram (sweet)Origanum majorana70 dayslate March1-3 weeksmid-late June
MintMentha spp.90 dayslate March-early April1-2 weeksearly June
OreganoOriganum vulgare90 daysmid-late March1-3 weeksafter last frost
ParsleyPetroselinum crispum75 daysearly-mid March2-4 weeksmid-late June
RosemaryRosmarinus officinalis85 dayslate February1-4 weeksafter last frost
SageSalvia officinalis75 daysearly March1-2 weeksearly-mid June
Summer SavorySatureja hortensis60 daysearly-mid March1-3 weeksearly June
SorrelRumex acetosa70 daysmid March1-2 weeksearly-mid June
SpearmintMentha spicata85 dayslate March-early April1-2 weeksearly June
SteviaStevia rebaudiana75 daysearly-mid March1-3 weeksafter last frost
TarragonArtemisia dracunculus85 daysmid-late February1-4 weeksearly June
ThymeThymus vulgaris85 daysmid March1-3 weeksearly June

Remember this is just a guidline, seeds may take longer to germinate or grow and this can vary based on what kind of conditions each seed is grown in. See us in store and we will do our best to answer all of your questions.

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