Herbs are easy to grow, disease resistant, hardy, look beautiful and are useful! Many herbs are perennials which means they grow for years (unlike annuals which grow for only one season never to return!) The 18 Best Herbs To Grow Indoors have selected for this web page are the most common with names you will recognize and uses you will appreciate. All of the herbs listed here can be easily found in your local garden center.
Herbs are also inexpensive to purchase and maintain. It would cost more to buy a sprig of fresh rosemary in your local supermarket than to buy one plant and grow it into a mighty shrub that will keep you stocked with fresh, pesticide free herbs for years to come.
18 Best Herbs To Grow Indoors
Can be successfully cultivated indoors. Will grow easily in pots. Aloe grows best in a wide, shallow pot and does not need much water – great for the forgetful gardener!
- Growing Conditions: Full sun or light shade (doesn’t like the frost!)
- Soil: Should be gritty and well drained.
- Planting: Remove offshoots when they are only one or two inches high. This is best done by unpotting the plant and gently removing the young plant from the mother plant and then repotting them both.
- Harvesting: Wait until the plant is at least two years old, then cut leaves when needed.
- Uses: Good for healing skin conditions. Will help anything from sunburn to diaper rash. Can be added to shampoo for an itchy scalp or moisturizer to calm cracked skin. Especially good for minor burns. Slice open a leaf and dab the gel onto the affected skin. The aloe plant will heal the cut section of the leaf itself.
Excellent for growing in pots and indoors. There are several types of basil including bush basil with small compact leaves, dark opal basil, which is a beautiful deep purple and lemon basil with lemony aromatic leaves.
- Growing Conditions: Protect from wind, frost and scorching sun (you can see why it likes to be indoors!)
- Soil: Well drained but well watered.
- Planting: Seeds can be sown directly into pots. If you are growing outdoors, be sure to wait until the danger of frost has passed.
- Harvesting: pick leaves and use throughout it’s growing season. Small white flowers begin to form towards the end of summer, pinching these flowers off will prolong the life of the plant and make it bushier. Harvest the mature plant and either use fresh or dry the plant to be used throughout the winter.
- Uses: This aromatic herb is used extensively throughout Mediterranean cooking. As well as adding to soups, stews and sauces, the leaves can be tossed in salads or used in sandwiches. Especially good with tomatoes. Use in vinegar’s and oils.
- Preservation: Can be dried, or stored in olive oil.
- Magickal Use: Love, wealth and protection.
Catnip is a member of the mint family. As the name might suggest, cats adore this herb! If you have felines in your family, this plant is a must for your herb garden.
- Growing Conditions: Sun or part shade.
- Soil: Prefers well drained soil.
- Planting: Sow seeds thinly directly into pots or start off in a seed tray and transplant to pots when seedlings are a few inches high.
- Harvesting: Pick leaves when young.
- Uses: Make cool cat toys! Make a ‘mouse’ and stuff it with dried catnip-your cats will love you for it. Catnip is also reputed to aid digestion (in humans) when drunk as a tea.
- Preservation: Dry the whole plant.
- Magickal Use: Cat magick.
With its relaxing apple-scented aroma and many cosmetic and medicinal uses, chamomile is a good choice for a small container herb garden.
- Growing Conditions: Sun worshiper.
- Soil: Rich and loamy.
- Planting: Sow in well-prepared soil. Can be divided or cuttings taken from off shoots.
- Harvest: Pick leaves anytime. Harvest flowers when fully open.
- Uses: Infuse flowers in boiling water and use as a tea to aid sleep and digestion. Use flowers in a facial steam. Add an infusion to the bath water to revive and calm sunburn. Use as an herbal rinse for fair hair. Apply a compress to aid healing wounds.
- Preserving: Dry flowers and leaves.
This member of the onion family is easily grown in pots. As well as being an asset to any kitchen, chives are also very decorative with pretty pink flowers.
- Growing Conditions: Likes the sun but will grow well in partial shade.
- Soil: Prefers rich well watered but well drained soil.
- Planting: Divide the bulb in fall.
- Harvest: Cut leaves when needed.
- Uses: A popular addition to cream cheese! Use in salads, soups, and sandwiches or as a garnish. Infuse the leaves to make a spray for aphids.
- Preserving: Refrigerate in a sealed bag for up to seven days. Dry or freeze. Good for using in oils and vinegar’s.
- Growing Conditions: Loves the sun.
- Soil: Rich.
- Planting: Sow seeds in spring.
- Harvest: Pick leaves anytime, pick seeds when brown but before they drop from plant.
- Uses: An essential part of salsa and many Mexican dishes. Use seeds and leaves in curries.
- Preserving: Dry seeds or infuse in vinegar. Leaves can be frozen.
Can anyone say pickles? Dill is a colorful relative of fennel, but don’t plant the two together or they will cross-pollinate.
- Growing Conditions: Full Sun.
- Soil: Rich.
- Planting: Sew 10 inches apart when the danger of frost has passed, grows indoors and although an annual, will self seed.
- Harvest: Take small amounts of leaves.
- Uses: Know for its use in potato salad and pickles! Excellent boiled with potatoes or used in soups, stews and sauces. Seeds can be chewed to freshen breath. As it is rich in minerals, dill makes a welcome addition to a sodium free diet. Helpful for indigestion.
- Preserving: Make dill vinegar with flowers or freeze leaves. Dry seeds.
On of the most popular supplements on the market today. Echinacea is reported to have many health benefits.
- Growing Conditions: Likes full sun and a good watering.
- Soil: Prefers alkaline soil.
- Planting: Easy to grow from seed.
- Harvest: The root is the part used for medicinal purposes and can be harvested in fall. Be sure to clean it well.
- Uses: A good blood purifier and natural antibiotic.
An aromatic and colorful addition to any garden. Lavender is well known for its mild sedative and relaxing properties.
- Growing Conditions: Sunny.
- Soil: Well drained and sandy with high lime content.
- Planting: Sow fresh seeds in summer or fall. Take cuttings in summer by pulling a strong healthy shoot down and taking a ‘heel’ with it, root cuttings in sandy soil.
- Harvesting: Pick flowering stems as they open.
- Uses: Use in potpourri, scented sachets or add to soap. Lavender essential oil can be used neat on the skin to aid the healing of burns and skin abrasions. Warm essential oil over an oil burner to aid sleep or add a few drops to warm water for a relaxing bath.
- Preserving: Dry flowers.
- Magickal Use: Love Spells.
Lemon Balm (perennial)
Can be grown indoors. A most fragrant member of the mint family in green and a yellow variegated form.
- Growing Conditions: Needs protection from harsh sun or green leaves will yellow.
- Soil: Lemon Balm is not fussy.
- Planting: can be grown from seed but it’s easier to divide roots.
- Harvesting: Pick leaves anytime.
- Uses: Infuse as a tea to relieve tension, add to bath water or use as a facial steam. The fragrant leaves make a welcome addition to potpourri. Use as a poultice or apply directly onto insect bites. Lemon balm is good chopped into salad, soups and stews.
- Preserving: Dry leaves or add to vinegar.
Marjoram & Oregano (Perennial in warm climates, annual in cold climates)
A favorite in Italian cuisine. If you’re a pasta lover, here’s an herb for you!
- Growing Conditions: Sunny, but not scorching.
- Soil: Alkaline.
- Planting: Sow seeds in spring or divide roots in fall.
- Harvesting: Pick leaves anytime.
- Uses: Oregano – add to pizza’s and pasta sauces. Marjoram – infuse as a tea for colds, headaches, gastro-intestinal and nervous conditions. Infuse in bath water for a relaxing bath. Use in potpourri.
- Preservation: Freeze or dry leaves, store in oil or vinegar.
- Magickal Use: Healing, love and protection.
WARNING: Keep this plant very separate from anything else in your herb garden. Mints are veracious and will take over given half a chance. Once mint is established it is very hard to get rid of making mint an excellent choice for growing in pots! The variety of mints is almost endless; peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, apple mint and curly mint being just a few you’ll find if you hunt around the garden centers.
- Growing Conditions: Partial shade.
- Soil: prefers alkaline.
- Planting: Divide in spring and fall.
- Harvesting: Pick young leaves before the plant flowers.
- Uses: Add to bath water for a reviving bath. Use in potpourri; infuse as a tea to aid colds and influenza. Macerate in oil and massage to alleviate migraines and muscular pains. Paint leaves with melted chocolate for a spectacular cake decoration.
- Preservation: Dry, freeze or infuse in oil or vinegar.
- Magickal Use: Travel, money and luck.
Two kinds: curly parsley, usually seen as a garnish and Italian flat leaf parsley, which has a much stronger flavor. Parsley grows well indoors.
- Growing Conditions: partial shade.
- Soil: rich and moist.
- Planting: Sow seeds in spring or summer.
- Harvesting: Pick leaves as needed in the first year. Collect seeds and dig up roots in the second year.
- Uses: Curly parsley makes an attractive garnish. For more flavor in sauces, soups, stews and salads use Italian flat leaf parsley. Infuse as a facial steam, add to lotion for dry skin. Chew parsley after a meal to freshen breath. Parsley is rich in vitamins. Decoct root for kidney trouble and as a mild laxative.
- Preservation: dry or freeze leaves and roots.
Note: Pregnant women should avoid pennyroyal. A close member of the mint family.
- Growing Conditions: Partial shade.
- Soil: Alkaline, likes lots of water.
- Planting: Root stem cuttings in water.
- Harvesting: pick leaves when needed before flowering.
- Uses: infuse for a relaxing bath. Crush and rub on skin as an insect repellant.
- Preservation: Dry or freeze.
There are several varieties.
- Growing Conditions: Sunny but protected from wind, and extreme cold.
- Soil: Likes alkaline soil, add eggshells to the soil.
- Planting: Grow from cuttings. Take a six-inch cutting and bury two thirds of it below the soil, water well.
- Harvesting: Pick as needed year round. Gather main harvest before it flowers.
- Uses: Known to be antiseptic, use as a mouthwash. Use as a facial steam or rinse for dark hair. Infuse in the bath water or in potpourri, add to soap. Excellent accompaniment to lamb and pork in small amounts.
- Preservation: Hang upside down to dry.
- Magickal Use: Sleep, healing, love and power.
There are many varieties, the most common I have seen in local garden centers are; variegated, purple, and pineapple.
- Growing Conditions: Full sun.
- Soil: Dry, well drained, alkaline.
- Planting: Grow from seed or from cuttings.
- Harvesting: Pick leaves before flowers appear.
- Uses: Good cooked with fatty meats like duck or sausage. My grandma used it in sausage stuffing for the turkey at Christmas, it was excellent. Use as a facial steam and astringent cleansing lotion. Rub on teeth to whiten and use as a mouthwash. Infuse as a tea to aid digestion. Use in soap, infuse in a bath, use as an herbal rinse for dark hair.
- Preservation: Dry leaves slowly.
- Magickal Use: Wisdom and protection.
Related to the daisy!
- Growing Conditions: Sunny and sheltered. Bring indoors if it gets frosty in your part of the world.
- Soil: Rich and well drained.
- Planting: Divide roots in spring or take steam cutting in summer.
- Harvesting: Pick leaves anytime.
- Uses: Said to be an anesthetic and good for toothache. French tarragon is used in Hollandaise, tartar and béarnaise sauce.
- Preserving: Freeze leaves or dry quickly to prevent loss of the aromatic properties.
Many beautiful, fragrant and colorful varieties to be found. Excellent for pot gardens. Common varieties found in garden centers include English, French, lemon and variegated.
- Growing Conditions: Lots of sun.
- Soil: Well drained, prefers alkaline.
- Planting: Can be grown from seed, stem cutting with a heel or root divisions.
- Harvesting: use leaves anytime.
- Uses: For Italian cooking in sauces and pizzas. Has disinfectant qualities, use as a facial steam, infuse in bath water. Infuse as a tea for digestive problems and hangovers!
- Preservation: Dry leaves, infuse in oil or vinegar.
- Magickal Use: Psychic powers and healing.
Most indoor herbs prefer temperatures of about 65 to 70 degrees F in the daytime and about 60 degrees F at night. Herbs also need humidity. Protect plants from drafts, but give them good air circulation. Don’t crowd pots together. Over-watering will kill most indoor herbs, so between waterings, let the soil surface dry out.