What are the best herbs to grow indoors? We’re going to talk about growing herbs indoors and how to get started. When we’re done, you’ll find the best herbs for you.
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. You can even take them indoors if you want to have them close to your kitchen.
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 outweighs having to drive anywhere anyway.
Let’s learn about growing herbs indoors. You’ll experience a high success rate with your indoor herb garden plus a delicious harvest! Just think of all the compound butter and seasoned poultry you can prepare and serve with your fresh herbs.
What You’ll Need To Grow The Best Herbs Indoors
When growing herbs indoors, there are just a few things to remember.
You’ll need to be able to provide an area for them to grow in that has plenty of sunlight, probably the sunniest area in your house.
Choose your containers and get the potting mix that is best for growing herbs in.
Pots or Containers
Choose your pots or containers, whatever you want. When growing herbs indoors, any pot will do well, but make sure there are adequate drainage holes on the bottoms.
Plastic pots last longer outside. Terra cotta pots are best for indoor herb gardens, but actually any container will work as long as it drains well.
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! We have it outside our back door by the kitchen.
Here’s the strawberry pot we are using on Amazon.
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.
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 always makes me laugh.
Use a watering can and water the top of the soil, not the leaves or plant.
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.
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.
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 use 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.