If you’re tired of limp, flavorless herbs and would love to have fresh herbs available right in your kitchen why not grow your own? They are surprisingly easy to cultivate.
If you’re just starting up it makes sense to plant two or three herb varieties. Learn the ropes and then add more herbs to your collection. Choose the best herbs to grow indoors from our selection below. Then use our tips as a guideline for starting your indoor herb garden.
Best Herbs to Grow Indoors
Perhaps you’re a mojito fan, you like mint tea or you enjoy tzatziki. Then, mint is a definite candidate for your indoor garden. Though mint likes sunlight it will also tolerate partial shade. It’s so easy to grow that it takes over in outdoor gardens.
Mint likes a lot of water so make sure to schedule regular sprinkles. Most varieties are hardy perennials that will tolerate fairly low temperatures. Don’t let your mint flower; it will negatively affect leaf production, so remove any buds.
Basil is great in salads. It is also the main ingredient in pesto. When in the sunlight it emits a lovely aroma into the air. This Mediterranean herb is part of the mint family. It doesn’t like the cold and it needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day. Basil needs well-drained soil. If its roots become too wet, the roots will rot and your plants will die.
You should water basil once a week. Pinch off the top buds to encourage fuller growth. Put your basil in south or west-facing window and keep your plants out of cool drafts.
Basil is good for a few weeks. Then the stem goes woody. Plant new seeds from time to time to ensure an ongoing supply. Basil is great in salad and pasta. You can also liquidize it with a little water and freeze it in an ice tray for later use.
Another member of the mint family, oregano is really easy to grow—these plants like plenty of sunshine. The leaves of the oregano plant will spice up any tomato or meat dish. It is a firm favorite in Mexican, Italian, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Dried oregano is stronger in flavor than the fresh variety.
Otherwise known as French parsley, chervil has an anise-parsley flavor. Chop it into soups, fish, eggs, and poultry and enjoy the lovely aromatic taste. Plant your chervil seeds in late spring and summer.
Chervil needs a deep pot as it has a taproot. Like basil, chervil likes warmer temperatures in the region of 65° to 75° Fahrenheit.
A member of the onion family, chives are quick to grow and harvest. You can cut them right down to within two inches of the soil and they’ll just grow again. They are great in eggs, soups, and salads.
Chives like plenty of sunlight so a south-facing window sill is an ideal place to put them. Keep a tray with pebbles and water beneath the chives to create some humidity around the pot.
Parsley has a lovely fresh flavor, great for stews, soups, and salads. There are two types of parsley, flat-leaf and curly-leaf varieties. Flat-leaf is the most popular and has a stronger flavor than the curly leaf.
Parsley needs a deeper pot than most other herbs because it has a taproot. Parsley is more water tolerant and also tolerates lower temperatures. When harvesting, cut the leaves from the outer perimeter. New leaves will shoot in the center of the plant.
A versatile herb, thyme is also fairly easy to grow. It likes a lot of sunlight but will tolerate less light than some of the other herbs on our list. You can dry thyme and preserve it by cutting branches off the plant and hanging them up in a warm dry space. A Mediterranean herb, thyme adds interest to your soups, stews roasts, and vegetables.
Also known as coriander, cilantro is a delicious herb that is great with curries, soups, salads, and Mexican food. This South-East Asian herb is a single stem plant so place them more densely into pots than you would with other herbs.
Cilantro doesn’t need as much light as most herbs and it thrives in slightly lower temperatures. This herb doesn’t grow as fast as basil, so you should let the plant reach a good size before you start to harvest the leaves. Cilantro will last about three months if you fertilize it monthly.
Rosemary isn’t the easiest plant to grow indoors and it takes a long time to cultivate it from seed. It is quicker and easier to grow rosemary from cuttings. Use a big pot as rosemary can become quite a large plant. This herb is delicious with roast meat, potatoes, and vegetables. It also dries very well and retains its flavor once dried.
Related to the celery plant, dill has soft feathery leaves. It’s often used in pickles and potato salad. It has been used for hundreds of years in European and Asian food. Dill tastes like licorice and the seeds taste like caraway.
Dill loses its flavor when cooked so it is best to add the herb in small amounts to salads. It should go into cooked food at the end of the cooking process.
Sage is a Mediterranean herb with a strong flavor. It has light green-grey leaves and is a member of the mint family. Because of its strong flavor, sage should be teamed with ingredients that can hold their own.
Add it to the pot at the beginning of the cooking process. Sage is famously used in turkey stuffing. It is also great in pasta and chicken dishes.
Helpful tips for growing herbs indoors
Plant each herb in its own container. This way, you can customize their care, giving them a better chance to thrive. Putting all your herbs in one pot could allow the hardier plants such as mint to take over to the detriment of less aggressive plants.
Planting herbs in separate pots also allows you to replace herbs, like basil, with new plants when the time comes. Pots must all have drainage holes as your herbs will die if the roots are constantly saturated. Make sure that each pot has a potting tray for the water to drain into.
Use good quality organic potting mix to fill the pots. Potting mix contains perlite or vermiculite to facilitate efficient drainage.
Water your herbs only when the soil is dry down to an inch deep. Your herbs will also benefit from a regular feed of organic fertilizer. If a plant is overwatered, its leaves will turn yellow.
Don’t hesitate to regularly harvest leaves once your plant is established. That’s what it’s there for. Regular harvesting will encourage new leaf growth.
Your herbs will need about six hours of sunlight each day, so a sunny windowsill is an ideal spot for them. Turn the pots from time to time to encourage even growth. Herbs that don’t have enough light will become lanky as they seek the light.
What are you waiting for?
Start your herb garden today. Herbs from an indoor herb garden are cheaper, fresher, and tastier than those you can get in the supermarket. You’ll find yourself cooking up a storm when you have a garden full of fresh herbs to tempt your taste buds.