Fresh herbs make your culinary dishes taste even better, but not everyone has the climate to be able to grow herbs outside year-round. Growing herbs indoors gives you a fresh supply under grow lights or on a sunny windowsill, but not all herbs are the best herbs to grow indoors.
Where Can I Grow Herbs Indoors?
Before you start growing herbs inside, you have to select the right location for them. Here are two places to put them.
The best place in your home to get natural light is in south-face windows. These windows will have the brightest light and the most amount of sunlight during winter days. Many plants grow in these locations, but tropical and semi-tropical plants grow well under natural light. Windowsills are most commonly used, but you might use a bookshelf or table near a window.
If you don’t have a south-facing window, so east and west-facing windows typically receive six hours in the morning and afternoon. East windows are cooler. Plants that prefer cooler temperatures like these windows include mint, chives, and parsley.
Sometimes, you don’t have enough light coming from the windows. Full-spectrum grow lights are great for herbs. The plants need to be within a foot of the bulbs. These lights need to be on for 12-16 hours per day.
The 8 Best Herbs to Grow Indoors
Not all herbs grow well indoors, so you have to pick ones that will handle the conditions inside rather than outside. Here are the best selections.
Everyone loves basil, and it’s easy to grow indoors. You can remove individual leaves, adding them to salads, sandwiches, and sauce. Homemade basil pesto is a treat.
Basil loves heat and bright light, so place them in a southern or western window. You also can use a grow light if you don’t have the right window. Make sure to avoid cold, drafty spots, especially in the winter.
However, basil doesn’t work well as a long-term houseplant. Expect for it to last for several weeks, but the stems become too woody. If you want to have a steady supply for fresh basil indoors, you’ll need to start a new batch from seeds every few weeks.
Bay laurel is a Mediterranean shrub that is added to dozens of soups and stews. The leaves are thick and full of flavor. You can harvest the leaves as needed, or you can collect more than one and dry them for storage. Older leaves have a stronger flavor.
Make sure to put well-draining soil into the plants. Put the plants in a bright east or west-facing window. You’ll also want to ensure the plant has good air circulation, which helps to prevent disease.
Chives are an onion-flavored herb that goes great with soups, salads, egg dishes, and more. You can use your scissors to snip off individual leaves or cut back the entire plant at one time.
Chives need to be grown in fertile, organic soil. Make sure it has bright light, such as a south-facing window. A grow light works great too if the plant is close enough to the bulb.
Many gardeners prefer to grow mint in containers because its sprawling nature means that it will spread across your entire garden bed. With so many different flavorful varieties, you can devote a whole garden to mint. You have so many options: peppermint, chocolate mint, spearmint, orange mint, banana mint, and more.
Mint must be grown in moist soil, and it needs moderate to intense light. Mint is a hardy perennial, and it can survive in temperatures as low as the 30s.
Oregano is a must-have herb if you cook Italian, Middle-Eastern, Central American, or Mexican cuisine. It’s a member of the mint family. You can strip the leaves off the snipped stems, adding them to your tomato sauces, meat, soups, stews, and casseroles.
When it comes to oregano, the dried leaves are stronger than fresh. You should grow oregano just like you would other mint plants. The plant needs to be watered when the soil is dry, but don’t let it dry out. It needs to be grown with moderate to intense light.
You can pick between curly or flat-leaf parsley. Most people think that parsley is just a garnish, but parsley adds bright color and flavor to soups, sauces, and salads. You can add it to a dozen different dishes.
Parsley can be harvested by the individual leaves. You can pinch stems off near the base of the plant. Basil grows well in fertile, organic potting soil in containers, so long as you ensure it has intense light.
Rosemary has an earthy fragrance and flavor inside of its needled leaves. It’s a must-needed herb that goes well with pork, lamb, chicken, soups, potatoes, bread, and more. You can even add it to cream and tomato sauces.
Growing rosemary typically requires a hot sunny location, but it can prefer cooler temperatures, around 40-65℉ in the winter. Wherever you place it, make sure it has intense light.
Thyme has a unique, versatile flavor, so it’s an ingredient in hundreds of recipes from around the world. The plant has small leaves and trailing stems that make it a natural houseplant.
Container-grown thyme requires well-draining soil, and it also needs a warm, sunny window. Make sure to water the plant when the soil is dry, but don’t let it wilt.
3 Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
Here are a few simple tips for growing herbs indoors. It’s a lot easier than you might think.
- Ensure the container has good drainage. The water should be able to run freely; waterlogged plants are never happy.
- Start just with a few plants that you cook with the most. Think about the dishes that you make the most often.
- Always use the best potting soil that you can find. Organic potting soil designed for containers that have organic matter is the best.
Growing herbs indoors means picking the right plants. You want ones that handle the light from windows or under grow lights. Any of these eight herbs to grow indoors will produce a harvest that makes your dishes look fantastic.