Best Herbs To Grow Indoors

You can easily grow herbs indoors in your kitchen or on the windowsill. You just need to know what the plant requires to flourish and provide it for them.

Herbs For Indoors

fresh herbs sprigs spread out on a plate with a dish of olive oil

Herbs are one of the easiest crops and can be grown just about anywhere. They are happy growing in containers as long as you provide enough sunlight and the correct soil and water for them.

We find that we enjoy having fresh herbs available for our culinary adventures. Growing them indoors makes for easy access to lots of fresh herbs and is way less expensive than buying them at the store.

The convenience of having them available growing in the kitchen outweighs having to drive anywhere anyway.

Just think of all the compound butter and seasoned poultry you can prepare and serve with your fresh herbs. Any other ideas?

Let’s learn about growing herbs indoors. You’ll experience a high success rate with your indoor herb garden plus a delicious harvest!

What You’ll Learn

We’re going to talk about how to successfully get started growing herbs indoors. When we’re done, you’ll find that growing herbs in your kitchen is easy, fun, and delicious!

And the best part?

You’ll be growing the freshest herbs and trying to decide which dish to prepare to use them in.

You’re going to learn about:

  • Which herbs are best for growing indoors
  • What kind of containers you should plant them in
  • What potting soil to use
  • If you should add fertilizer
  • How much light and water they need
  • How to harvest them for peak flavor
  • Which herbs we recommend

Which Herbs Are Best?

Since space is probably limited inside your home, you’ll want to choose herbs that are small in size.

Look for compact or dwarf herb species that will have limited growth habits. We have listed our favorite herbs for indoors at the end of this post.

Pots or Containers

growing herbs indoors three pots with saucers and herbs on windowsill

Choose your pots or containers, whatever you want to grow your herbs in. When growing herbs indoors, any pot will do well, but make sure there are adequate drainage holes on the bottoms.

Terra cotta pots are good for indoor herb gardens, but actually, any container will work as long as it drains well.

Saratoga Home Herb Pots with Tray Set - Indoor Windowsill Galvanized Planters with Drainage Holes for Healthy Plants

I have herbs planted in this three-pot set that I found on Amazon. The pots are made with galvanized steel and sit in a steel tray. The tray is sealed with silicone so no water can leak out. It’s cute and functional The herbs are very happy!

We tried planting our herbs in a strawberry planter and it works if you have enough room for the pot. Just think! You could plant your entire herb garden in one pot! Here’s the strawberry pot we are using from Amazon.

Potting Mix

growing herbs indoors from seed
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Use a soil-less potting mix to plant the herbs into. This will provide excellent drainage and adequate space for the roots to grow into. We use an organic seed starting mix from Burpee for our herb seeds. We think our herbs do really well using this.

Try to have a pot that is large enough to hold one gallon of potting mix and has drain holes at the bottom. Fill the pot to within 2 inches from the top, in order to provide plenty of watering space.

Consider growing your herbs as annuals, starting over with a new crop every spring and fall. This will almost guarantee success with your plantings, plus help keep the herbs bushy and producing lots of leaves for you to pick.

Start your herbs from seed instead of buying starts. I find that the seeds develop into plants that are better acclimated to being indoors than the transplants are.

Feeding

You won’t need to add fertilizer to the herb containers. Your herbs will be more flavorful and fragrant if they’re not fertilized.

If you think your plants want more nutrients, you can add a bit of liquid seaweed or worm castings to your watering water. This will provide minerals and trace elements that will result in lush foliage and great yield.

We use Wiggle Worm Organic Earthworm Castings Fertilizer. The name of that product always makes me laugh.

Watering

growing herbs indoors girl watering indoor herbs with watering can
Watering The Indoor Herb Garden

Use a watering can and water the top of the soil, not the leaves or plant.

You will want to add water slowly. This way, the soil will absorb the water, instead of letting it flow through and out the bottom of the pot. Water when the soil feels dry at the top.

Avoid overwatering. Most herbs don’t like to have their feet wet. If too much moisture accumulates in the bottom of the pots, you could get root rot.

Harvesting

growing herbs indoors on a windowsill

When growing herbs indoors, try to pick herbs regularly and correctly through the growing season.

Remember to pick the tips of each stem to encourage rounded growth and thick foliage.

Don’t pick the stems from the base of the plant. Doing this will cause your herbs to grow tall but with little foliage.

Herb Companions

Some herbs just go together based on the flavor profiles or moisture requirements. Here are the ones we always plant together in one pot:

Rosemary, sage, and thyme all enjoy dry conditions. You can sing the song while you’re planting them.

Basil and parsley require consistent moisture.

Basil, parsley, tarragon, and cilantro like consistent moisture and the same bright light.

Lemon verbena with lemon thyme will yield a nice citrus mix.

Mint Warning: Keep mint separated from everyone else as it is very invasive. Even keep mints separated from each other so they don’t pollinate between themselves.

The Herbs We Recommend

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of the best herbs to grow indoors, but it’s a good start.

Growing Herbs Indoors A – L

Basil is my favorite when talking about growing herbs indoors. It’s a staple of Italian cooking and loves to accompany tomatoes. We love it served with mozzarella and tomatoes with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

  • Basil wants full sun and fertile, well-draining soil. An excellent companion to parsley and thyme.

Chives are like tiny onions but are grown for their leaves and blossoms, not their bulbs. Try the chopped leaves on baked potatoes or soup. The beautiful pink flowers are edible and make a nice garnish with flavor.

  • Chives like well-drained potting soil that is rich in organic matter and consistently moist soil. Don’t let the dirt dry out or they might die.

Cilantro is also known as coriander and provides leaves or seeds. We love cilantro and use it in dishes like fresh salsas and Thai food.

  • It likes well-drained soil. Cilantro has a long taproot and needs a pot that is at least 12” deep.

Lavender has beautiful purple flowers that can be used for cooking or aromatherapy. In fact, lavender has been proven to help reduce stress and help with relaxation. You might want a lavender plant in your bedroom!

  • Lavender likes a well-drained potting mix. Keep the soil on the dry side and add no fertilizer.

Lemon Balm tastes and smells like lemon. It can be used in place of lemon peel in most recipes. Think drinks, soups, vinaigrettes, fish, poultry, cookies.

  • It likes a moist, rich, well-drained potting mix.

Lemon Verbena is a lemony herb that is used to add an interesting flavor to teas and baked goods.

  • It likes a moist, well-drained potting mix.

Growing Herbs Indoors M – T

Marjoram is a relative of oregano with a sweeter, milder flavor and aroma. It’s one of the few herbs whose flavor is more concentrated when dried.

  • This herb prefers a well-drained potting mix.

Mint is a group of really vigorous plants. It is highly invasive unless confined.

  • Mint produces the best leaves if it’s planted in rich soil.

Oregano is a Mediterranean herb and loves tomatoes. It’s not just for Italian food and can be used to flavor Mexican dishes and meat.

  • It wants full sun and well-drained potting soil. In fact. the more sun it gets will result in more pungent flavor of the leaves. It does not tolerate wet soil.

Parsley is another of my favorites when growing herbs indoors. It’s a beautiful plant that is used for garnish and flavor. It will produce for two years, then it will produce flowers and die back.

  • It likes more water than most herbs and could use a bit of fertilizer.

Rosemary has a fresh, sharp taste that is delicious with poultry, pork and Mediterranean cuisine.

  • It likes hot, dry, sunny surroundings. Preferring quick-draining soil, avoid overwatering rosemary.

Sage is a favorite for seasoning poultry but it’s also good with fish, lamb, and veggies.

  • Sage prefers a moist, well-drained potting mix. Don’t overwater it!

Tarragon is the classic French herb that is used to season fish, poultry, and even adding to bread. Its flavor is reminiscent of licorice, anise, and fennel.

  • It likes full sun and a well-drained potting mix. Don’t overwater rosemary.

Thyme pairs well with beans, meat, and tomatoes.

  • It likes well-drained soil. Avoid overwatering.

The Best Herbs to Grow Indoors Wrap-Up

We love to cook, and having fresh herbs available for our culinary adventures is a wonderful thing.

Bon Appetit has a ton of delicious recipes that will make use of your fresh herbs.

Have you tried growing herbs indoors? What is your favorite herb and planter? What do you think the best herbs to grow indoors list should include?

Learn about the best vegetables to plant in containers.

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