Embarking on the journey of indoor gardening is an exciting endeavor and today I’m sharing 5 easy essential herbs for beginners to grow indoors. Keeping culinary herbs on hand is an easy way to start our own herb garden and have tons of fresh herbs available for a myriad of culinary uses. The best part: since we’re growing them indoors, it’s a great way to grow herb plants year round regardless of the outdoor conditions. Today, let’s explore five easy-to-grow essential herbs that are perfect for beginner gardeners seeking to craft a thriving indoor herb garden.
Here at Cooking with Our CSA, we’ve got both an outdoor herb garden and an indoor garden. I try to grow our annual herbs outdoors considering we start our growing season in spring. Perennial herbs are helpful to keep indoors for best results throughout the year. For our year-round herbs, I keep them in separate small pots near a sunny kitchen window. I love to grow herbs that supplement the ingredients we receive in our weekly produce boxes through the Sage Mountain Farm CSA and the ways they help add tons of flavor to everything from pasta sauces to salad dressings and more. Scroll down to see my top 5 easy herbs to grow in a small space.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Known for its aromatic leaves and distinctive flavor, basil is a versatile herb that deserves a spot in every indoor garden. With its love for sunlight and well-drained soil, it’s one of the easiest herbs to grow and care for. During summer, I also love to grow a few small plants outdoors given we get full sun in our garden bed. Growing it outdoors also makes it an excellent companion for tomatoes. Its fresh leaves also adds a delightful freshness to salads, pasta, and my favorite seasonal pestos.
Tips for Growing Basil Indoors:
- Provide ample sunlight, at least 6 hours per day. Plan to place your pots in a sunny spot.
- Water when the soil feels slightly dry to the touch. Fresh basil loves moist soil.
- Pinch off the flowers to encourage leaf production. This will help promote more green leaves throughout the life cycle.
Mint (Mentha spp.)
Mint is a hardy herb with a refreshing taste that enhances both beverages, desserts, and a few savory dishes. Its vigorous growth makes it an ideal choice for beginners. Mint varieties such as spearmint or peppermint are easy to cultivate indoors and can be a delightful addition to teas, cocktails, and even homemade ice cream. I personally love growing mint in a small containers versus garden beds as it grows super quick and can take over outdoor garden spaces if not contained. I also have a small pot of chocolate mint given the delicious flavor it can add to chocolate and vanilla based desserts. Growing mint plants indoors helps me control the amount of mint I want to grow through the year.
Tips for Growing Mint Indoors:
- Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Good draining is also key here.
- Place in a location with partial sunlight. If kept on a sunny windowsill, look for a spot where there is some partial shade.
- Consider planting mint in a separate container to prevent it from taking over other herbs. This will help to keep it low maintenance to enjoy even during the winter months.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Chives are a member of the onion family and offer a mild onion flavor that compliments a variety of dishes. I love adding chives to omelettes and in herb blends for roast chicken or turkey. These slender green shoots are easy to grow indoors and can be a wonderful addition to your indoor herb garden. If you open to grow this outdoors, they’re also a great companion plant to summer crops and are great pest deterrents. Garlic chives are one of my favorite chive varieties to grow year round.
Tips for Growing Chives Indoors:
- Provide well-draining soil and water when the top inch is dry.
- Trim regularly to encourage new growth. You don’t have to wait long to grow them tall to use your chive plants in dishes.
- Place in a location with plenty of sunlight. A west-facing window can be helpful in tracking hours of sunlight.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Parsley is a versatile herb that comes in two main varieties: flat-leaf (Italian) and curly. Both varieties are rich in vitamins and add a burst of freshness to your meals. I love Italian parsley for pesto and other sauces as well as garnishing dishes. It is also a forgiving herb for beginners and can thrive in indoor conditions.
Tips for Growing Parsley Indoors:
- Choose a well-draining potting mix to support excellent drainage for your parsley.
- Water consistently to keep the soil evenly moist.
- Trim outer leaves to encourage continuous growth.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is an incredibly fragrant herb with needle-like leaves and a robust flavor. It’s super easy to grow outdoors and is a natural pest deterrent. However, I love having a small pot of these aromatic plants indoors too. It’s a wonderful herb to cultivate indoors to have on hand for a number of winter savory dishes. This aromatic herb pairs wonderfully with roasted meats, potatoes, and even homemade breads.
Tips for Growing Rosemary Indoors:
- Provide ample sunlight, at least 6 hours per day.
- Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. The water needs for rosemary are less than the aforementioned herbs above. That said, you definitely want to keep a drier soil and grow rosemary in its own pot.
- Prune regularly to maintain a bushy shape.
Closing Thoughts on the Best Herbs to Grow Indoors
Starting a kitchen garden with different varieties of home-grown herbs couldn’t be easier! I hope these five recommendations offer inspiration to you and your growing herb garden ideas. Have questions or want to know more? Let me know in the comments. Growing a garden is something I’m learning about more and more and I love sharing those insights and learnings with you here.
Looking for recipes that take up the variety of fresh herbs show here? I encourage you to check out my Robust Heirloom Tomato Sauce, this zesty carrot soup, or this seasonal pesto using basil. Starting an indoor herb garden as a beginner and using those herbs in a variety of home cooked dishes is a truly rewarding experience. These five essential herbs—basil, mint, chives, parsley, and rosemary—offer a diverse range of flavors and are relatively easy to grow indoors. With a little care and attention, you’ll soon be enjoying the satisfaction of using fresh, homegrown herbs in your culinary creations. Happy growing!