The world of houseplants doesn’t have to be all about tropical foliage plants. In fact there are many herbs that make good houseplants. Add something different to your collection of pothos and peperomias by including a few herb plants in the mix. Herbs offer a combination of attractive foliage, flowers, a source of flavorings for cooking, and their scented foliage adds a refreshing fragrance to a room.
Caring for Herbs Indoors
Any herb you select to grow indoors will require regular watering in a pot with good drainage. It is a good practice to allow the soil to dry between waterings, which will help to discourage root rot and pests.
Herbs also grow best in a bright location that receives at least four hours of sunlight each day. A position near an eastern or southern window would be ideal.
Here are six of the easiest herbs to grow as houseplants:
Best attributes of lavender:
- Long stems of purple flowers are good for drying and used in potpourri or crafts
- Fragrant gray-green leaves give plant a soft appearance
- Varieties with variegated foliage are available
Once lavender is matured, the purple flowers can be used in sweet-smelling bouquets or to add a colorful accent to an herb wreath. Lavender can also be dried and used in homemade body products, like this sugar scrub. Place lavender near a bright window for best performance.
Best attributes of rosemary:
- Versatile and hearty
- Beautiful, fresh scent
- Easy to harvest and store for cooking
To harvest and store rosemary, simply trim a sprig from the potted herb and freeze it in an air-tight container as is. You can also snip off the leaves, pulverize them in a food processor with olive oil and freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. Rosemary grows best when placed near a bright window.
Best attributes of mint:
- Refreshing fragrance
- Many varieties to choose from
- Very easy to propagate and share with friends
Mint has many uses in the kitchen beyond the enjoyment of its fresh scent. The leaves can be added to teas, desserts, salads, or adult beverages like the mint julep. Mint plants grow best when placed near a bright window.
Best attributes of thyme:
- Petite, fragrant foliage eventually trails over the side of the pot
- Delicate, white flowers
- Easy to harvest and store
Like rosemary, thyme can be frozen in whole sprigs, or the leaves can be saved, suspended in olive oil, or frozen in ice cube trays. Thyme is a wonderful choice for seasoning dishes. It can also be dried and added to homemade herb salts or herb butter. Thyme thrives in full sun so give it a spot where it can receive bright light.
Best attributes of sage:
- Soft, silvery foliage creates a beautiful contrast when placed near green plants
- Lovely fragrance
- Easy to harvest and store
Sage is a terrific potted indoor herb, especially handy to have in the kitchen. It has soft, fuzzy leaves that can be easily snipped off and frozen as is. Sage can also be dried and used in homemade salts or herb butter. A sunny window is the perfect location for sage.
Best attributes of chives:
- Produces “balls” of dainty lavender-purple flowers
- Attractive grass-like foliage
- Mouth-watering garlic fragrance
Chives can find a home in just about any recipe; therefore, they are a great choice for an herb that grows well indoors. Keep a pot in a sunny kitchen window where they’ll always be available. The cooking process can destroy the flavor of chives so chop and add fresh chives to your dish at the end of cooking.
Growing Herbs as Houseplants
Between the fragrance and flowers, these herbs give you new houseplant options that offer a little something “extra” over a tropical foliage plant. Because so many of them are edible, a bright kitchen window is the perfect place to grow them.
During warm weather, growing herbs in pots outdoors is a great way to take advantage of small outdoor spaces. A container garden created with herbs can add fragrance to areas where people gather, such as a balcony or patio table. Potted herbs outdoors also provide a convenient way to add a pinch of fresh flavor when dining outside.