When it comes to growing herbs indoors, there are plenty of herbs to choose from. Many of the herbs used for both culinary and medicinal properties can be grown indoors throughout the year — even in the dead of winter. 

Most herbs only require moderate light and are hardy plants designed to cut and come again, making them perfect additions for an indoor kitchen garden. Read on to learn more about which herbs you can easily grow indoors year-round. 

1. Lemon Balm Is a Great Herb to Grow Indoors for Medicinal Tea.

Lemon balm is a perennial herb that can be found growing in many indoor kitchen gardens. While this herb is native to Europe, it can be grown easily in most temperate climates. It is also very tolerant of being grown indoors since it needs only moderate light, and it is a manageable plant since it only grows to around two feet tall if left unharvested. (Source: University of Wisconsin)

Lemon Balm Information

Lemon balm is a popular herb to grow indoors for a few different reasons: 

  • Lemon balm has a bright lemon scent that smells great.
  • Its bright green-yellow foliage adds an attractive accent indoors, especially during the winter when greenery is scarce.
  • It’s a popular addition to herbal tea mixtures due to its lemony taste and medicinal properties. 

Lemon balm’s scent makes it a good choice to add to tea and soap, but it is also known to have the following medicinal properties (Source: Penn State): 

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Increasing appetite
  • Improving sleep
  • Easing pain and discomfort from gastrointestinal complaints

It’s a good idea to plant lemon balm indoors alongside other tea herbs such as spearmint or peppermint. That way, the fresh herbs can all be cut together for tea. Muddling the leaves or smashing them with a mortar and pestle or other heavy objects can release their scent and flavor. 

Lemon Balm Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for lemon balm: 

Preferred Soil TypeRich and well-drained, sandy loam
Preferred Light ExposurePart shade to full sun (will tolerate full shade)
Needs Fertilization?No
Preferred MoistureDoes not like wet soil; allow to dry after watering
Preferred Soil pH6.7 to 7.3

Mint is another extremely easy herb to grow indoors because even though it likes bright light, it grows like a weed and is tolerant of shade. Since the leaves of the mint plant are used, it doesn’t need to receive enough light to flower to be used as a culinary and medicinal herb. 

2. Mint Is One of the Most Versatile Herbs Grown Indoors

This sturdy and quick-growing plant tends to choke out its neighbors in a planter and will absolutely overrun an outdoor garden, which makes growing it indoors the optimal choice. 

Mint Information

Here are some other reasons that mint is a popular herb to grow indoors (Source: Utah State University):

  • Mint has a refreshing scent that is popular as an additive to artisan bath products like soaps, lotions, and bath bombs. 
  • Mint is an attractive bright-green plant that grows easily, making it a robust addition as a houseplant since it doesn’t have to be babied to thrive. 
  • Mint is a popular addition to teas (both for its taste and its medicinal properties). It is also a popular flavor in many other kinds of desserts such as candies, cookies, ice cream, cake, and coffee-based drinks.

The invigorating fragrance of mint makes it a good choice for cooking and making bath products. Like lemon balm, it’s also known to have the following medicinal properties (Source: Mother Earth Living):

  • Freshening bad breath
  • Suppressing the appetite
  • Calming digestive issues like diarrhea and stomach upset
  • Easing headaches and menstrual cramps

It’s a good idea to plant fresh mint in its own container rather than planting it alongside other plants since it will tend to strangle out its competitors quickly. 

Mint Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for mint:

Preferred Soil TypeRich soil
Preferred Light ExposureFull sun (will tolerate shade)
Needs Fertilization?No
Preferred MoisturePrefers soil to be kept moist
Preferred Soil pH6.0 to 7.0

3. Chives Are An Easy Substitute for Onions You Can Grow Indoors

Chives are a good option for herbs to grow indoors because many people don’t want to dedicate the space in an outdoor garden to growing the number of onions they’d want to use in cooking. However, chives grow much more easily and quickly than larger onions, but they’re still in the allium family and can provide the same onion flavor in culinary dishes. 

Chives grow best when they’re grown alongside other plants and benefit from getting plenty of fresh air and ventilation. Chives prefer strong light, so they need a sunny window to thrive. These plants may start to stretch if they aren’t getting enough sun. 

A major benefit of growing chives as a culinary herb is that this herb is a great source of vitamin K, an essential vitamin necessary for bone health and normal blood clotting ability. (Source: Medical News Today

Chive Information

Here are a few other good reasons to grow chives indoors: 

  • Chives help deter pests, and growing chives near a fruit basket can deter fruit flies. Plants grown near chives are also less likely to succumb to insect problems. 
  • Chives form interesting spikey foliage that adds interest and texture to any indoor planter. 
  • Chives are a popular universal garnish for various foods, from roasted meats and poultry to soups and dips. Their mild onion flavor is a good complement to many dishes. 

Along with having plenty of vitamins that are crucial to good health, chives are known to have the following medicinal properties (Source: Medicinal Herb Info): 

  • Aiding digestion
  • Increasing appetite
  • Detoxifying the blood
  • Helpful in treating anemia (due to high levels of iron) 

If you have limited real estate on your sunniest windowsills, chives should get the brightest spot you can afford to give them. Chives are perennial, which means they can easily be grown indoors year-round. 

Chive Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for chives:

Preferred Soil TypeRich soil with plenty of compost
Preferred Light ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Needs Fertilization?Yes, will benefit from a slow-release fertilizer
Preferred MoisturePrefers soil to be kept moist
Preferred Soil pH6.0 to 7.0

4. Parsley Is Great for Growing Indoors to Add Color to Cooked Dishes

Parsley is often found as a plant offered in grocery store displays in the produce section as a fresh growing herb, and with good reason—parsley is easy to keep happy indoors with just a little care. This rather delicate herb tends to scorch outdoors or wilt without enough water, but planting it indoors means it’s much easier for the gardener to maintain it and monitor its needs. 

Parsley is also a popular plant in many cooked dishes since it has an inoffensive, mildly grassy flavor that can help cut the flavor of richer foods such as creamy soups or fatty roasts. The dark green color of parsley is used as a garnish to add a dash of green to dishes that may otherwise be very monochrome with brown gravy or cooked meat. 

Parsley Information

Here are a few other reasons to grow parsley indoors: 

  • Parsley is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. Because it is easily mixed into other dishes, it’s a good way to sneak in an extra dose of healthy greens and goodness into otherwise naughty meals. 
  • Parsley is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. It’s also a good source of magnesium, potassium, folate, iron, and calcium. (Source: Healthline)

Parsley is best started from seed when growing it for the indoor garden. (Source: Better Homes and Gardens) Like many herbs, parsley can be used in its fresh form or harvested and dried for long-term storage. Either way, growing parsley indoors ensures that you can always have access to fresh parsley no matter the time of year. 

Parsley Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for parsley:  

Preferred Soil TypeMoist loamy soil
Preferred Light ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Needs Fertilization?Yes, will benefit from a slow-release fertilizer
Preferred MoisturePrefers soil to be kept moist but drought tolerant
Preferred Soil pH6.0 to 7.0

5. Basil Is One of the Most Popular Culinary Herbs for Growing Indoors

Basil is one of the most popular cooking herbs and forms the base for the popular Italian sauce known as pesto, a mixture of basil paste, cheese, and ground nuts used to flavor everything from pasta to poultry dishes. Basil is also one of the most forgiving herbs to grow indoors since it thrives with little care as long as it gets some light and water. 

Basil is well-suited to a kitchen garden since it grows best if it is regularly trimmed and harvested. Rather than taxing the plant, this only encourages it to put out new growth and will result in a bushy, vibrant plant that is the perfect size for an indoor planter. 

Basil has historically been used to aid a wide variety of ailments from digestive upset and gas to head colds. It is also used as a gargle to freshen breath and is given to new mothers to promote breast milk production. (Source: RX List

Basil Information

Here are a few other reasons to grow basil indoors:

  • Basil gives off a pungent, lovely herbal smell that is pleasant indoors. 
  • Basil is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and calcium, making it a great addition to a variety of culinary dishes. 
  • Basil is used externally in topical ointments for treating wounds and skin infections. 
  • Basil thrives when grown in a container and is easy even for beginner gardeners to maintain. 
  • Unlike some herbs, which can be finicky to germinate, basil grows easily from seed. 
  • Basil comes in several varieties, including some that are very ornamental and a good choice for aesthetic indoor planting. 

Along with being delicious and having a strong nutritional profile, basil is also known to have the following medicinal properties (Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods): 

  • Contains antibacterial properties that restrict the growth of bacteria such as Staphylococcus, E. coli.
  • Possesses anti-inflammatory abilities that can lead to reduced inflammation in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and arthritis. 
  • Contains vitamins that are crucial for maintaining cardiovascular health by improving circulation and reducing the risk of irregular heartbeat.  

If you have a healthy basil plant, you can easily create extra basil plants by pinching off a new growth section and placing it in a glass of water with some root growth hormones to promote cloning. Using this method, you can fill every planter in the house with basil! 

Basil Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for basil:

Preferred Soil TypeWill grow in poor soil as long as it is well-drained
Preferred Light ExposureNeeds 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day (indirect)
Needs Fertilization?Yes, will benefit from a balanced fertilizer
Preferred MoistureAllow surface soil to dry between watering
Preferred Soil pH5.5 to 7.5

6. Cilantro Is A Perfect Herb Choice for Latin Dishes

Cilantro is a good choice for an herb to grow indoors since this tender herb is susceptible to being bleached by the sun when planted. Also known as coriander in its seed form, cilantro often functions in Latin dishes as a condiment or garnish and is especially popular as an addition to Latin sauces such as pico de gallo and salsa. This herb is originally from Greece but has found culinary use all over the world. 

Before investing in planting a whole bunch of it, it’s a good idea to try some cilantro and see if you like the taste of it. A certain percentage of the population is genetically predisposed to tasting a soapy or chemical flavor when eating cilantro. If you’re one of these people, you may not want to bother growing it. (Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica)

Cilantro Information

Here are a few other good reasons to grow cilantro indoors: 

  • While cilantro is popular in the cuisines of countries with hot climates, this particular herb does not like growing in the heat and will quickly bolt or go to seed. Growing cilantro indoors in a temperature-controlled environment allows it to be harvested for longer during the season. 
  • Cilantro grows easily from seed and does not like to be transplanted, making it a good choice for a year-round resident in the indoor kitchen garden. (Source: Fine Gardening
  • The strong scent of cilantro can help deter pests like fruit flies and other insects from invading your other indoor plants. 

Cilantro is a popular cooking herb, but it is also known to have the following medicinal properties (Source: Dr. Axe):

  • Helps to remove toxic heavy metals from the body
  • Protects against oxidative stress
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Helps to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and hyperglycemia

Cilantro doesn’t like to get warm, so if you choose to grow this herb indoors, be sure to station it far from warmer parts of the house, such as the area around the radiator or the kitchen stove. A somewhat chilly window spot is best if you have space. It’s a good idea to keep several cilantro seedlings and plants going at once so that they can be discarded and replaced if any of them begin to bolt. 

Cilantro Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for cilantro:

Preferred Soil TypeLight, well-drained, moderately fertile loam
Preferred Light ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Needs Fertilization?Fertilize at establishment only
Preferred MoisturePrefers soil to be moist; check for dryness
Preferred Soil pH6.5 to 7.5

7. Thyme Is a Fragrant Herb for Indoor Gardens

Thyme is one of the most popular cooking herbs used due to its versatility in savory dishes, and this herb can be used on poultry, beef, and in stews and soups. This herb has a somewhat spicier taste than oregano and has a bright piney scent.

When used in outdoor applications, thyme is often used as a ground cover since it tolerates being walked on and gives off a pleasant scent when crushed. In the indoor garden, this same effect can be replicated by simply petting a thyme plant or gently ruffling it with your hand to produce heavenly wafts of herbal scent in the kitchen or any other room of the house. 

Thyme Information

Here are a few other good reasons to grow thyme indoors (Source: Botanical):

  • Thyme is a soft, touchable herb that gives off a good smell when touched, making it a sensory delight for gardeners and home chefs alike. 
  • Thyme can be harvested a little at a time without greatly affecting the appearance of the main plant, so even heavily used thyme plants will still be attractive indoors. 
  • Thyme has extensive culinary uses, and it is also used medicinally and makes an attractive houseplant.  

Thyme doesn’t just have extensive uses in the kitchen. This herb is also known to have the following medicinal properties (Source: Medicinal Herb Info): 

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Treating secondary skin infections (due to its antimicrobial properties)
  • Suppressing cough and sore throat caused by inflammation
  • Easing pain with menstrual cramps
  • Inhibiting bacterial growth in internal infections

Thyme grows best in light, dry soils, so it’s not a good match for water-loving plants such as basil. Instead, house thyme in a planter by itself or pair it with other dry-loving herbs. 

Thyme Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for thyme:

Preferred Soil TypeGrows best in light, dry soils
Preferred Light ExposurePartial shade
Needs Fertilization?No
Preferred MoisturePrefers dry soil; do not allow roots to stay wet
Preferred Soil pH6.0 to 8.0

8. Oregano Is an Easy Herb to Grow Indoors for Beginners

Like basil, oregano is one of the most popular cooking herbs globally, especially in Mediterranean cuisines such as Italian and Greek food. This zesty herb adds pizzazz to a wide variety of savory dishes and forms a flavor foundation for many classical sauces such as marinara.

Oregano is a good herb for the indoor garden since it is tolerant of less-than-ideal growing conditions and comes in a few different cultivars, including a spicy version that is perfect for use on pizzas and in other delicious foods. 

Oregano can be used in its fresh form (one of the best benefits of a year-round indoor garden), but it can also be harvested and dried for long-term storage if you end up growing more than you can use at a time. 

Oregano Information

Here are a few other good reasons to grow oregano indoors (Source: Ktchn):

  • Oregano is one of the easiest herbs to grow and has tons of culinary uses, making it perfect for novices in both the garden and the kitchen.
  • Oregano is a low maintenance herb when grown indoors and doesn’t need a lot of fussing to perform well or put out abundant foliage for cooking. 
  • Oregano has a bright, pungent smell that will permeate any space it’s planted in, making it a great way to disguise less desirable smells around the house. 
  • Oregano is a perennial, which means it grows easily indoors throughout the year without risk of bolting or dying off.  

Oregano has many cooking applications, but like other culinary herbs, it is also known to have positive health benefits. Oregano is known to have the following medicinal properties (Source: Medicinal Herb Info):

  • Acts as a strong natural antibiotic that is useful for curbing infections of the body
  • Reduces cholesterol levels when consumed regularly over several weeks
  • Is a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to the reduction of cancer and other serious metabolic diseases
  • Pain-alleviating properties and the ability to reduce inflammation 

Oregano tolerates partial shade, which makes it a good option for indoor plantings. However, to achieve the best flavor, oregano should be planted in the sunniest indoor spot you can find (or supplemented with extra artificial light). 

Oregano Growing Requirements

Here are the growing requirements for oregano:

Preferred Soil TypeLight, well-drained soil
Preferred Light ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Needs Fertilization?Yes, will benefit from fertilizer throughout growth
Preferred MoistureDrought-tolerant; keep soil dry between watering
Preferred Soil pH6.0 to 8.0

Can Potted Herbs Survive the Winter? Potting herbs is the best way to get them through the winter, especially if you typically keep them outdoors. Potted herbs that grow indoors can be grown all year-round, even those herbs which are typically annuals outdoors, such as basil, can be maintained throughout the winter months as long as they’re kept inside in a temperature-controlled environment. 

Here are some tips for helping herbs survive the winter indoors: 

  • Some herbs that prefer stronger light might struggle a little if they are in a window or planter, which doesn’t have as much access to direct light during the winter since the light in winter tends to be overcast and weak. However, this problem can be solved by installing some LED grow lights to help supplement your herbs’ light exposure. 
  • Placing a fan on indoor herbs can help dry excess moisture that causes mildew and other problems, and the extra circulation helps tender herbs grow stalks that are sturdy and strong. 
  • Regular harvesting of herb plants encourages most of them to put out new growth, and it also helps keep herb plants at a manageable size where they won’t begin to tax the confines of the planter. If an herb plant grows too big indoors, it may become rootbound (a condition where the plant finds it difficult to absorb nutrients due to root crowding). Be sure to choose smaller herb plants and dwarf cultivars for indoor use. 

If you follow the tips above, you can help indoor plants thrive even during the darkest parts of winter. 

How Long Do Indoor Herb Gardens Last? Indoor herb gardens can be maintained year-round with a variety of different herbs. Since many herbs are simple to propagate through cuttings rather than sewing from seed, it can be simple enough to replace older or spent herb plants by taking cuttings and propagating them. 

When older herb plants start to produce less, they can be uprooted and replaced by cuttings to keep a rotation of strong young herb plants in your indoor garden throughout the year. Some tender herbs such as basil may be inclined to flower and go to seed even indoors in lower light, so these plants may need to be replaced occasionally so that you maintain the productivity of their delectable leaves. 

Can You Grow Herbs Indoor All Year? Many herbs can be grown indoors all year, but certain herbs don’t perform as well. For example, rosemary prefers cold outdoor temperatures and lots of fresh wind to thrive, and it tends not to do as well indoors as it would if it was left outside to fend for itself in the cold winter months. This evergreen plant can continue to produce herbs throughout winter, even in cold weather, so it’s a good herb to leave in the outdoor garden. 

Other herbs can be grown throughout the year indoors, but it is often helpful to supplement these herbs with extra grow lights and plant food to help them grow well since they don’t get as much access to direct light. Ensuring that indoor planters are placed in sunny windows can also help you make the best of your indoor gardening space. 

Growing Herbs Indoors Can Take Your Culinary Game to the Next Level

People who aren’t familiar with gardening—or have no interest in outdoor gardening—may be leery of starting to grow herbs indoors. Still, this low-stress hobby is the perfect way to interject great flavors into your home-cooking and sneak in some extra vitamins while you’re at it. 

Between tea herbs and cooking herbs, you’ll always have plenty of fresh produce at your disposal if you invest in an indoor garden that you can tend year-round. 

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