Regardless of if you live in a tiny apartment without room to grow food outdoors, or if you have a large outdoor garden, growing herbs indoors is a great option for anyone who wants to add some freshness and flavor to their diets. In this article I’ll share the best herbs to grow indoors. I’ll also provide you with some benefits of growing herbs indoors as well as some basic tips to help you successfully start an indoor herb garden.
Basic Indoor Herb Garden Requirements
Here are things you need to successfully grow herbs indoors:
- Growing medium, such as soil, coconut coir, or even water!
- A pinch of nutrients
- Sunlight or artificial light
- Minimal space
- A limited budget
Benefits of Growing Herbs Indoors
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When you grow herbs indoors, it doesn’t matter if the outdoor weather is harsh; your herbs will grow perfectly fine, and you will have plenty to garnish all of your dishes year-round.
Still unmotivated? Here are some more benefits to give you that extra push to grow your own herbs indoors.
1. Saving Money
Herbs are an essential ingredient in our everyday meals, and by growing your herbs, you won’t have to dash to your local grocery store for such a minor (but important!) ingredient or worry about changing a recipe. Store-bought herbs are also overpriced. It’s cheaper to grow your own herbs!
Store-bought herbs are usually wrapped in disposable plastic packaging, contributing unnecessary plastic to landfills. Also, the leftover unused herbs contribute to the food waste problem. When you grow your own herbs indoors, you harvest just what you need, when you need it so there is no waste.
Indoor herbs are also relatively easy to maintain compared to those grown outdoors and can be kept in a window or a kitchen sill to receive ample sunlight. Most of the herbs grown indoors are perennial, which means they can last quite long if you care for them properly.
4. Fresh Taste
Most stores don’t have the proper environment to keep herbs fresh. Having an indoor herb garden in your home ensures that you have herbs fresh and ready for any meal. Store-bought herbs are on the shelf or in transit for who knows how long. Herbs you grow yourself are always fresh and delicious!
When purchasing herbs from a store, you don’t know what has been used to grow them, what they have been in contact with, or where they have come from. Herbs grown in a field are continuously sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals. Growing your own herbs offers better peace of mind when you know the origin.
No matter how harsh or unfavorable the weather outside is, when you grow herbs indoors, you don’t have to worry about how cold or hot it is outside. You also don’t have to deal with annoying pests or nutrient deficiencies that often occur outdoors.
An indoor herb garden can be equally aesthetic as your plants and offers the same benefits that your indoor plants do but with an extra advantage. Also, some of the fragrant herbs can freshen up any space, often masking unwanted odors.
Creating an indoor herb garden is fun, like any other DIY project. I’ve found that growing food indoors, including herbs, improves my mood and provides a sense of accomplishment and wellbeing. You can also engage your children in this activity, offering them a fun green activity. You just might grow a little gardener as you grow fresh herbs indoors!
The Best Herbs to Grow Indoors
We have combined something special for you in this section. First, we have chosen the easiest and tastiest herbs to grow indoors. Second, we have filtered them by herbs that grow well in low light. While you’ll want to provide some light for your herbs, many of these herbs grow well without a ton of light.
All of the herbs listed below are easy to grow indoors. They’re tough, useful, and beautiful, and you can pop them right into soups, salads, smoothies or teas.
Here is a list of ten herbs that are perfect for growing indoors:
Basil is a pungent and delicious, relatively pest and disease-free plant which loves warmth but not the bright sun. You can quickly grow it from seeds. Use loose, well-drained potting mix and keep it moist but not soggy. You can also grow it in an AeroGarden.
Keep trimming and using the aromatic leaves once plants begin growing. They’re great with tomatoes or stirred into pasta sauce.
Here are some of my favorite varieties of basil to grow indoors:
Rosemary is an evergreen Mediterranean herb that can prove tricky to grow indoors. Grow it in sandy, well-draining soil and keep it well-ventilated. Place rosemary in the sunniest spot with at least 6-8 hours of sun. You can pop the blue flowers into cocktails. Make sure to let the soil dry out between waterings.
Rosemary is another herb suitable for growing in an AeroGarden. Just be patient, because it grows slowly at first.
Will this list ever be complete without mint? Mint has shiny green leaves with a refreshing flavor, useful for herbal teas, mint sauce, mint margaritas, or a tasty mojito. Mint is very easy to propagate by taking cuttings of runners, and you can root mint in water, too.
It likes rich soil but keeps the temperature between 59-70°F. Give it a large pot, and it will spread massively.
There are many mint varieties to choose from: pineapple mint, peppermint, spearmint, lemon mint, and even chocolate mint.
I’ve successfully grown mint in my AeroGarden. In fact, mint is one of the herbs included in some of the AeroGarden herb kits.
Pro tip: To get started growing herbs in an AeroGarden, I recommend picking up an AeroGarden Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit from Amazon. If you have already have herb seeds you want to grow in your AeroGarden, pick up some AeroGarden sponges from Amazon. If you prefer the more environmentally friendly sponges that don’t contain peat moss, I recommend these AeroGarden compatible sponges from the Urban Leaf.
The slightly bitter and aromatic smoky flavor of sage leaves seems perfect for stuffing meat and making good tea. It is also a Mediterranean herb that can be grown indoors, but it prefers a warm and sunny location. Sage doesn’t require fertile soil but use a terracotta pot for good drainage is a must.
Chives have slim green onion-scented stems and small purple pompom flowers that look attractive on a kitchen sill. You can even grow garlic chives if you enjoy a garlicky-onion flavor.
Chives taste great with potatoes and omelets. Plant them in peat-free multipurpose compost and cut off the yellow foliage. If you want your chives flavorful, don’t let them blossom. Also, heavy fertilizer dosages weaken the taste of the chives.
Chives are another herb that I’ve grown in my AeroGarden. At first, I had my doubts about growing chives in an AeroGarden because it started off super slow, and the growth was very thin and spindly. But then it took off and produced more chives than I could handle!
Sunshine is essential to keep oregano plants healthy. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Mist indoor oregano regularly.
I’ve also successfully grown oregano in an AeroGarden.
Bay was a symbol of honor in Ancient Greece. It is an attractive-looking plant that is one of the best herbal trees to grow in pots. You can clip it to size or prune it into an attractive topiary.
The glossy green pungent foliage has lovely aromatic properties. Its leaves, fresh or dried, will flavor your soups and stews. The plant itself is a pest repellant, too.
Use any soil type, but it must be well-draining. Bay laurel grows big so that it won’t fit on your standard windowsill. Please keep it in a sunny spot with good ventilation and mist the leaves frequently.
Parsley is invaluable in the kitchen and doesn’t need as much sunlight as many other herbs.
I’ve successfully grown parsley from seed in my AeroGarden. However, it can be tricky to grow parsley from seed in soil. There are two ways to overcome this, if you want to grow parsley indoors in soil. The first way is to start the plant in your AeroGarden. When it’s a few inches tall, transplant it to soil.
You can also buy small plants from a nursery or a garden center. I bought a parsley plant in my local dollar store that grew very well for me!
Two small parsley plants are enough and provide you with a year-round supply.
Plant parsley in a good size pot as it likes to grow big. Also, keep snipping off leaves. Snip the flowers immediately when you see them.
Marjoram is a drought-tolerant delicate herb with the same flavor as oregano but subtler. Its stalks are tender and enjoy a warm spot. The leaves can be plucked off the plant and added to salad dressings, and pasta dishes.
You can grow marjoram from seed any time of year, or you can buy small plants from garden centers. Use multipurpose compost and perlite for maximum drainage. Mist the plant daily and cut back hard in late summer.
Thyme is an excellent culinary herb, with tiny fragrant leaves on strongly flavored stems. You can use them in everything from marinades and salad dressings to roasted meat, rubs, and sauces.
You can quickly grow thyme from seed. Use sandy and well-drained soil. The tiny pink flowers look ornamental. It’s a Mediterranean herb, so keep it in a dry and sunny spot.
Thyme is another herb that grows well in an AeroGarden.
Requirements for Growing Herbs Indoors
Herbs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors but their requirements are almost the same.
Soil or a Hydroponic Growing Medium
Regular potting soil is best for all kinds of herbs. One necessary condition is that the soil should be well-draining.
If you grow your herbs in an AeroGarden, you’ll need AeroGarden sponges. I’ve purchased authentic AeroGarden sponges as well as some off brand AeroGarden sponges from Amazon. I also like these AeroGarden compatible sponges from the Urban Leaf, since they do not contain peat moss.
The formula for watering indoor herbs is to water less, but more frequently. Let the soil dry out between waterings. Water when the top inch of the soil starts feeling dry when you stick your finger into the soil. Don’t overwater.
If you grow your herbs in an AeroGarden, add water whenever the add water light turns on. If you prefer, you can add water each day.
Indoor-grown herbs require at least six hours of sunlight per day. If you don’t have access to natural light, supplement with artificial LED or HID lights for best results. Here’s a selection of grow lights from Amazon.
Naturally, if you choose to grow your herbs in an AeroGarden, lights are built in, and on a timer, so you don’t have to worry about your herbs getting enough light.
For indoor herbs, a slow-releasing nitrogen-rich fertilizer works best because only foliar growth is wanted in the herb’s case.
If growing herbs in an AeroGarden, you can use either the AeroGarden nutrients, or MaxiGro; both are available on Amazon.
Indoor Herb Care and Maintenance
Indoor herbs require very little maintenance because you are already snipping off extra leaves and stems, which keeps them in check. Repot when the herbs become too big.
Tips on growing herbs indoors:
- Our best tip for you to successfully grow herbs indoors is using terracotta pots. They keep the soil well-drained, which is very important when growing indoors.
- Place saucers beneath the pots and fill them with water for bottom-feeding and maintaining humidity.
- Grouping your herbs together is beneficial in many ways. Not only does it maintains the humidity but also the efficient light usage. It also keeps them warm, and watering them becomes easy. Some of the herbs are also pest repellent, keeping the other herbs safe with them.
- If you notice slow growth, don’t harvest for the time being and check the watering schedule.
- Don’t be afraid to use your herbs, thinking you’ll run out. Keep plucking the foliage and using it to encourage the herbs to keep producing new leaves.
- Rotate your herbs every second week by changing the arrangement. This ensures that each side receives sunlight.
- When your herbs have grown too big for a pot, you can transplant them outside in spring. These herbs will produce seeds, and you can take cuttings too for indoor transplantation.
- Many of these tips also apply to growing herbs in an AeroGarden, but with an AeroGarden, you have less to worry about since much of the maintenance is done for you.
If you enjoyed this article, you will likely enjoy these related articles about indoor gardening.
- How to Grow Basil in Water
- Indoor Apartment Vegetable Gardening Tips
- The Best Tomatoes to Grow in Pots