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There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs to turn up the flavor dial on a dish. Adding herbs is a great way to excite your tastebuds without adding those less-than-healthy flavorings for which we so often reach. (We’re looking at you, salt and fat.) But there are a few problems with fresh herbs. First, there’s their price tag at the grocery store. Then, you face the fact that they often spoil before you can use the whole package. Is there a better way to get these delicate leaves into your dinners without busting your budget? Absolutely! All you need to do is a set up a garden with a few of the best herbs to grow indoors.
Getting your herb garden started is easy. First, choose a sunny part of your home. A kitchen windowsill is an ideal spot because it makes it easy to trim herbs as needed while cooking. Line up a few pots, grab a narrow planter, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, set up a living wall. With some potting soil and herbs from your local garden center or home improvement store, you’ll be well on your way to fresh, flavorful meals. But which herbs should you choose? Take a look below for seven of the best herbs to grow indoors.
Put basil in a warm and sunny spot and it will thrive. When you use your basil, pick leaves from the top of the plant. This keeps it growing closer to the base, preventing it from flowering. While delicate white basil flowers might look pretty, they can turn your basil’s stem woody and leave you with less flavorful leaves.
If you’re feeling up to a challenge, basil is a great herb to start from seed. It’s fairly forgiving, and as long as it’s given lots of sun, you should have no problem sprouting your very own basil plant from next to nothing.
Oregano is another indoor herb that likes sun. As long as you supply moderate light and water it once the surface of the soil is dry, it will grow well. To use the leaves in your cooking, snip off a section of stem and then strip the leaves from it.
Oregano is more potent when it’s dried. If you have some time, wash a few cut stems and bundle them up to dry in a well-ventilated place. Or, if you have guests coming over for dinner and need that powerful punch for your dish, you can dry oregano in the oven.
Thyme also prefers full sun but, like oregano, can grow well as long as it receives a few solid hours of light each day. Give it water when the surface of its soil is dry. If you notice your thyme looking wilted, you’re most likely underwatering. Thyme’s flavor makes it a favorite in sauces and roasts, and its attractive stems solidify it as a perfect garnish. However, don’t limit this herb: It also works well in cocktails and lemonade.
Grow rosemary for a natural indoor air freshener. Image: The Room Illuminated
If you’re looking for a way to keep your kitchen smelling great, rosemary is one of the best herbs to grow indoors. Give it plenty of sun and it will give your kitchen a fresh, herbal smell. Rosemary is another great garnish. You can add lengths of stem to roasts and soups; just make sure to keep the stems long enough that people can spot and eat around them. Or, if you want a way to fully incorporate rosemary into your dish, you can strip the needle-like leaves from their stems and mince them.
If you’re looking a quick-growing indoor herb, mint is ideal. Image: Blakes London
Who doesn’t love mint in a light summer salad or refreshing drink? Whether you want to grow mint for your iced tea, as a fun addition to your morning smoothie or yogurt, or in order to give your roasted vegetables a fresh spin, it’s a forgiving plant. In fact, mint is best kept in its own pot or container because it grows so quickly. Most mint varieties like moderate to full sun and moist soil.
Parsley is a nutrient powerhouse and adds a pop of color to any dish. Image: Ballingslöv Frölunda
Parsley is so much more than a garnish! It’s packed with vitamin C, iron, fiber, and calcium, making it one of the best herbs to grow indoors when you’re looking for something healthy to add to a meal. Work it into sauces or soups, sprinkle it on top of dishes for a touch of green, or put whole leaves into your salad for a flavorful kick. Parsley grows best in a deep pot. The more sun you give it, the faster it will grow.
Don’t be afraid to use almost your entire chive plant. It can grow back from just two inches. Image: B&Q
Another sun lover, chives can add an onion-esque flavor profile to eggs, salads, and potato dishes. You can snip off the tops as you need them, mincing them or leaving lengths whole depending on your cooking needs. Have a big dinner party coming up? Don’t be afraid to use your chives. You can trim the entire plant down to about two inches and it will have no problem regrowing.
As the weather cools off and the outdoor growing season ends, it’s the perfect time to start an indoor herb garden. These are a few of the best herbs to grow indoors, but this list is by no means comprehensive. Do you have any other favorites that are thriving in your kitchen windows? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!