10 best herbs to grow indoors

Whether you’re an aspiring green thumb or an experienced gardener, choosing easy herbs to grow indoors can be a great way to spice up your cooking while producing some of your own food.

Of course, there are a few details to consider if you want to start cultivating an indoor garden. For example, providing plants adequate light can be a challenge, so you may need to supplement natural light with an artificial source like fluorescent bulbs. But don't worry, we’ll walk you through the 10 best herbs to grow indoors so you know what to expect when it comes to each plant’s light, water, and soil needs.

1 of 10 Mint

Mint is among the best herbs to grow indoors because it can be grown all year long. Just choose a wide and shallow pot so the roots can spread out. You’ll also need some well-drained potting soil and a window with indirect light. When watering, aim to keep the soil evenly moist — but not overly so. Mint plants that are wilting or turning brown are likely suffering from under-watering.

Mint leaves can be harvested at any size, but you’ll get the largest harvest if you wait until the plant is about to bloom and then trim back the entire plant to the first or second set of leaves. Alternatively, you can make a mint plant bushier by regularly pinching off the two or four top leaves.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Prefers indirect light.
  • Water: Keep evenly moist but not overly wet; water if the upper soil is dry to the touch.
  • Soil: Well-drained potting soil or blend with equal amounts of sand, peat, and perlite.

2 of 10 Rosemary

Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary enjoys well-drained soil, hot temperatures, and humid air. This beautiful, aromatic herb lends powerful flavor to recipes and is well worth the added attention it may need as part of your indoor garden.

When growing rosemary indoors, choose a pot that has a drainage hole and that’s large enough to accommodate the plant; adding a layer of gravel at the bottom of the plant will also help its roots stay dry. As a general rule, your pot should be as tall or taller than the rosemary plant itself, and you’ll need to prune its roots occasionally if you want it to stay in the same container.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun; aim for a bright windowsill with all-day sun.
  • Water: Water when the top of the soil is dry, but don’t overwater; mist between waterings.
  • Soil: Loamy and well-drained with neutral to acidic pH.

3 of 10 Basil

Always a crowd pleaser, basil plants are often the centerpiece of a thriving kitchen garden. Not only is basil an extremely versatile herb — good with everything from pizza to dessert — it’s one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors because of its quick germination and low maintenance nature. 

The most important thing to remember when growing basil indoors is that the herb loves sun and prefers to get at least four hours of light per day. If you’re struggling to provide enough sun in the winter, basil plants can even thrive under regular fluorescent bulbs.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: At least four hours of full sun each day.
  • Water: Keep soil moist and water as soon as plant starts to wilt; mist between waterings.
  • Soil: Potting soil that is loose and well-drained.

4 of 10 Parsley

Parsley is a flexible herb that grows easily indoors. Sow a few seeds on the surface of the soil and cover with about a quarter inch of soil. Once established, the herb will do well in full or partial sun, and plants should be watered so that the soil is moist but not drenched. 

While parsley needs a large pot to accommodate its long tap root, you can grow other herbs in the same pot — especially basil, oregano, thyme, and chives. If your plant starts to lean towards the sun, simply rotate the pot every few days to keep the plant strong and upright.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Six to eight hours of direct sun each day; rotate regularly to prevent leaning.
  • Water: Keep soil lightly moist; mist periodically to increase humidity.
  • Soil: Prefers organic-rich soil with neutral pH (6.0 to 7.0); fertilize every two weeks with half-strength liquid fertilizer.

5 of 10 Oregano

Unlike some other herbs, oregano doesn’t require a large pot — instead, planting it in a smaller six-inch pot will enable the herb to trail. Because oregano is drought resistant, the soil can dry out without harming the plant, but it should be watered regularly. That said, oregano likes hot, sunny climates and needs to be placed in a bright window — or under fluorescent lights — to thrive. 

When you’re ready to cook with your oregano, simply pinch off leaves. Regularly doing so will also help the plant become bushier and ensure a bountiful harvest whenever you need it.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Position in a bright window with morning sun; fluorescent lights are also effective.
  • Water: Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings; don’t water excessively.
  • Soil: Light and fast-drying.

6 of 10 Thyme

Another versatile cooking herb, thyme can thrive indoors and out, making it an easy option if you want to move pots inside for the winter and outside in the summer. A clay planter makes the best habitat for thyme because it will help avoid soggy roots. Choosing the right soil combination — sand, potting soil, peat moss, and perlite — can also create the type of environment thyme needs to thrive. 

Make the most of your plant by pruning woody stems to promote new growth. You can also cut back flowers to encourage the plant to develop, and divide the plant into multiple pots to create new plants.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Likes full light for at least eight hours a day; use fluorescent grow lights if you don’t have a suitable window.
  • Water: Allow soil to dry out completely between waterings; prefers under-watering to over-watering.
  • Soil: Soil should be dry and well-drained; thrives in soil that is low in nutrients.

7 of 10 Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and has a wonderful lemon scent that can repel mosquitos. While lemon balm does best outside, it can still thrive indoors and isn’t too demanding when it comes to temperature or humidity. Ideally, choose a sandy, well-drained soil and, if possible, a terracotta pot that will prevent the plant’s roots from getting too wet and rotting. 

As an outdoor plant, lemon balm is self-seeding so its seeds create new plants and help the herb spread. However, if an indoor lemon balm plant flowers — also known as bolting — it’s typically best to start a new plant from seed. This ensures your lemon balm doesn’t lose its potency over time.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Place in a sunny window with at least five to six hours of sun per day.
  • Water: Err on the side of under-watering to avoid waterlogged roots.
  • Soil: Use sandy, well-drained soil and a pot with a drainage hole to prevent root rot.

8 of 10 Chives

With a delicate onion flavor, chives are great with everything from baked potatoes to salads and eggs. Chives typically need between six and eight hours of light each day, but fluorescent bulbs are also effective — especially in the winter. The plant can also tolerate temperature fluctuations, making it easy to grow during the winter when natural light and consistently warm temperatures aren’t available. 

To care for established plants, water when the soil is dry and choose a location where the chives will benefit from the humidity of other nearby plants. When the plant is about six inches high, harvest by cutting about two inches from the base of the plant using scissors.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Enjoys six to eight hours of full sunlight each day; rotate plant to avoid reaching.
  • Water: Water when top of the soil is dry to the touch; provide humidity by placing close to other plants or misting with a water bottle.
  • Soil: Well-drained potting mix.

9 of 10 Dill

If you’re into pickling — or just love the flavor with salmon or your favorite Greek recipes — dill can be an excellent addition to your indoor garden. Like parsley, dill has a long tap root, so plant the herb in a one- to two-foot deep container; the pot should also have a drainage hole to avoid over-watering. And, because it prefers temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, avoid drafty windows in the winter. 

Dill plants are typically ready to harvest six to eight weeks after planting the seeds. That said, you can also cultivate dill as a microgreen by harvesting the plant about seven days after germination. To do so, spread seeds on a coconut coir mat and harvest when they’re one to two inches tall.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Prefer at least six hours of sunlight per day; fluorescent, incandescent, or LED grow lights are also effective.
  • Water: Water thoroughly but allow the top one to two inches of soil dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Not too picky when it comes to soil; prefers well-drained, slightly acidic potting soil.

10 of 10 Sage

Another popular and aromatic member of the mint family, you may associate sage’s earthy flavor with Thanksgiving stuffing and other savory fall recipes. To grow sage at home, start with a container that’s about 10 inches in diameter and has a drain hole. Choose well-drained soil — cactus soil works great here — and place the sage in a window that provides at least six hours of sun per day.

When harvesting sage, use kitchen shears to cut off a stem or pinch off individual leaves. Just aim to harvest the herb before the plant flowers to ensure the best flavor.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: At least six hours of direct sunlight each day; fluorescent and LED lights are also suitable.
  • Water: Susceptible to over-watering; wait for top of the soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Choose a well-drained soil to avoid soggy soil that can kill the plant.

By Kiah Treece


Sustainable Living, Recycling & Waste, Environmental Impact & Policy, Off-grid Living, Home & Design, Vegetarian/Vegan Lifestyle


Environmental Law, J.D., University of Toledo College of Law, Interdisciplinary Ecology, M.S., University of Florida, Ecosystem Science and Policy, Geological Science, B.A., University of Miami


  • Her articles have appeared on sites such as Forbes and Fit Small Business.
  • She holds a J.D. with a certificate in environmental law from the University of Toledo. She also earned an M.S. in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida and a B.A. in ecosystem science and policy from the University of Miami.
  • Kiah has written for Treehugger since July 2020.


Kiah has worked with local governments, developers, and other stakeholders to coordinate the remediation and rehabilitation of contaminated properties in Florida. She also has extensive experience conducting environmental site assessments as part of real estate transactions across the country.

Kiah has written for Treehugger, Forbes, and Fit Small Business and has served as an editor for numerous scientific publications. She is dedicated to intentional, sustainable living and the role we can play in improving the environment for future generations.

After growing up in Florida and living in Boulder, Colorado and the Midwest, Kiah settled in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina where she is a writer and sustainability coach. She and her husband share their homestead with a Vietnamese potbellied pig and three spoiled chickens.


Kiah has a dual degree in ecosystem science and policy and geological science from the University of Miami. She earned a master’s degree in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida and holds a J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law, where she concentrated her studies on environmental law.

(Source: treehugger.com; January 22, 2021; https://tinyurl.com/y6529ep7)
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