Want to harness the aromatic flavors and healing qualities of herbs in your home, yet were born without a green thumb?
Don’t worry – many herbs are pretty low maintenance and only require a basic level of care. This article presents 13 of the easiest to grow kitchen herbs.
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Basil is the perfect starter plant for indoor herb gardens. Not only does its pungent and peppery flavor perfectly complement many Italian dishes, but it’s also a laid-back herb.
The plants need full sunlight, plenty of water with excellent drainage and warmth – making your kitchen window an ideal position. Once tiny white blooms begin to appear, make sure to remove them immediately to preserve the herb’s flavor.
As well as using basil in cooking, you can take advantage of its healing powers. In fact, some varieties are actually as strong as anti-inflammatory drugs and have been shown to reduce swelling in arthritic patients by up to 73% in just 24 hours.
Lemongrass is so easy to grow that you can simply place a stalk of it in a few inches of water and leave it be! If you want to grow it in soil, however, choose a high quality potting soil and provide good drainage.
You’ll need to leave the plant in an area where it can receive at least six hours of strong sunlight a day – it likes warmth, and won’t do well in freezing temperatures. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
According to Mexican folk medicine, lemongrass aids digestion, calms the nerves, lowers high blood pressure and can help with insomnia. It also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties, and so has been shown to prevent acne and fungal skin conditions.
This fragrant herb will bring a zingy and fresh scent to your indoor space. It prefers morning sun and partial afternoon shade but it should be kept away from heating elements which can dry it out.
Choose a well-draining container, and keep your mint moist but not overly wet. Mist the plant between waterings or place it in a naturally humid room.
A hardy annual and a member of the parsley family, chervil has a delicate flavor and is often used in French cuisine.
Chervil does much better indoors than out as it doesn’t like hot summer sun – although it thrives in light shade and cool temperatures. If your plant isn’t doing so well, try moving it to a cooler location. Regular trimming of the top leaves helps the plant retain its bushy shape. Use these trimmings to flavor vegetables, soups, salads, casseroles and more.
Chives are so easy to grow, and impart so much flavor to food, that they should be in every kitchen garden!
This member of the allium family likes full sun – at least six hours a day, evenly moist soil and average temperature and humidity. Cut one-third of the hollow green leaves off the top regularly to stimulate new growth.
With a light onion flavor, chives work well in summer salads, soups, omelets and many other meals. In fact, the entire plant – from the leaves to the bulbs – has a culinary use.
With a tangy flavor popular in Nordic countries, dill’s seeds, flowers and foliage can all be used to season foods.
Indoors, dill grows taller than it does outside. It needs to be placed in a very sunny window and kept moist, but not soaking wet, at all times.
Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory garlic has been used since ancient times as both a food and a natural medicine – just one of the many reasons it deserves a place in your herb garden.
It’s an incredibly easy to grow plant which can even be sprouted from a single clove! Place one clove in potting soil, covering with an inch of soil and leave on the kitchen window to receive eight hours of sun a day.
Water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not wet and within a few months your garlic will be ready to harvest! Follow these steps and you can’t go wrong.
An exceptionally easy to grow perennial herb, oregano thrives in hot, dry and sunny spots around the home.
Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings and regularly pinch off the leaves to increase your yield. If your oregano plant grows too quickly, cut it back and check its roots to see if it needs repotting.
This amazing herb boasts 42 times the antioxidant power that apples have so add it liberally to your soups, stews, sauces and salads. A half teaspoon daily has been shown to fight the inflammation that leads to so many modern diseases. You can also make oil of oregano – which has some incredible healing properties.
Position your indoor parsley plant by a window where it will receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day. It is particularly suited to a spot in the kitchen as, not only will it be in reach during cooking, but it basks in the natural humidity of that room.
Keep the soil lightly moist, but don’t let the roots sit in water, and feed it twice a month with fertilize. All in all, parsley is a pretty low maintenance herb!
In addition to its culinary uses, parsley tea has anti-inflammatory and diuretic benefits, and the root helps relax stiff joints and alleviate pain.
A small, perennial shrub with light purple to pink flowers and pleasant, clover-like flavor, thyme does best with at least six hours of direct sun per day, and in average room temperatures and humidity levels. Allow the top layer of the soil to dry out between waterings.
Although there are over fifty varieties of thyme, English thyme is used most often in cooking. Research has found that thyme is an excellent pain-relieving herb that can work better than ibruprofen. Thyme tea is rich in antioxidants and works to settle the stomach.
Tarragon doesn’t do well when exposed to winter temperatures, which is why it’s an ideal candidate for an indoor herb garden.
Indoor tarragon will need between six and eight hours of light daily. Allow it to dry out between waterings but add humidity by gently spraying the leaves every other day with water. Finally, makes sure to fertilize the herb every two weeks.
Use your tarragon plant to add a light anise flavor to sauces, dressings and marinades.
12. Cilantro (Coriander)
Coriander and cilantro are actually the same plant – it just goes by different names! In many parts of the world coriander refers to both the leaves (herb) and the seeds (spice) although in North America, the leaves are referred to as cilantro.
With its long roots and dislike of repotting, choosing a large container for your cilantro from the outset is wise. It needs a sunny spot on a windowsill, although should be shaded during the hottest days. It’s a thirsty herb so needs regular watering – making it ideal for those who tend to drown their houseplants!
The leaves can be used to add a punch to salsas and guacamole, rice, salads, stir fries and more. Once it goes to seed, it won’t produce any more leaves but that doesn’t mean its work is done! The seeds have medicinal properties and can be used as a remedy for digestive problems like upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, bowel spasms and intestinal gas.
When grown outdoors, sweet marjoram may die during icy weather, but a spot indoors can see it thrive for years.
A sunny location and moderately moist, well-drained soil are all this aromatic and warm herb requires to thrive. You should also pinch back the plant prior to blooming in order to maintain its size and shape.
Sweet marjoram is known for its anti-bacterial properties, with research showing it is one of the top 10 most anti-inflammatory herbs. It also quells nausea and bloating when brewed into an herbal tea.
Best Indoor Herb Growing Kits
Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
Growing herbs indoors need not be a tricky or time consuming task – you’ve probably already noticed a few commonalities among the preferences of many of these hardy herbs. Although the specific requirements of each plant should be taken into account, in general indoor herbs prefer:
- Windows that face south or southwest – although east or west facing windows also will do. North-facing ones are too dull.
- Good drainage – don’t let the herbs sit in water or their roots will rot.
- Normal indoor temperatures – if you are comfortable, chances are your plants are too (although basil can prefer slightly warmer temperatures).
- Slightly above normal humidity – such as the levels found in the average kitchen.
- Monthly or bi-monthly fertilizing – especially if the leaves are being harvested regularly.
- To be rotated regularly – this helps maintain an even shape as herbs tend to bend toward the light and become lopsided.
Finally, if you are still struggling to grow even these most hardy herbs, make sure to quit doing these 15 things that are killing your houseplants.