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The 10 Best Plants for an Indoor Herb Garden

Once you have success with a few easy-to-grow indoor herbs, you'll start looking for more to grow and cook with!

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many fresh leaves of basilChiccoDodiFC/Getty Images

Basil

You’ll find basil at or near the top of every list of easy-to-grow herbs. Start by sowing seeds directly in the pot. Cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist until they begin to germinate. Then remove the plastic and let a few seedlings grow to maturity.

Basil grows well near a sunny window or under grow lights. They can also be easily grown as microgreens.

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full frame of cilantro leavesTevarak/Getty Images

Cilantro

If you love cilantro, you’ll enjoy growing it indoors. Sow a few seeds in a container and cover it with plastic wrap to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate. Thin out seedlings when you see the first sets of true leaves so you have just a few plants growing in the pot.

Keep them watered, give them good light and harvest leaves before they turn feathery. Like basil, you can also grow cilantro as microgreens.

Looking for more ideas? Keep fresh herbs within reach with these beautiful and creative indoor herb garden ideas.

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full frame of parsley leavesPriscila Zambotto/Getty Images

Parsley

Parsley is closely related to cilantro and grown in much the same way.

In a six- to eight-inch container, plant several seeds. When you see the first true leaves, thin to a few seedlings. Because it grows a long tap root, parsley will grow better in a deeper pot.

Give it plenty of light and keep it watered. Harvest leaves as needed but don’t cut too many off at one time. Always retain some leaves so the plant continues to grow.

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Lush flowering chivesSvetlana Monyakova/Getty Images

Chives

If you grow chives in your garden, dig up a clump in the fall, pot them up and grow them indoors all winter. Or look for potted chives in the produce section of your grocery store.

Harvest by cutting off leaves at the base of the outside of the plant. In the spring, you can continue growing the chives outside in the pot or in the ground.

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Umbrellas of green dill in the garden.Elena Sapegina/Getty Images

Dill

If you’ve planted dill outside, you know it can grow to four or five feet tall. It will stay much smaller in a container.

Start by sowing seeds in a container. You can harvest and use some of the seedlings as soon as they show their first leaves. Also allow some of the plants to continue growing. Like other indoor herbs, they need lots of light and even moisture. You can also grow them as microgreens.

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mint plant grow at vegetable gardenlzf/Getty Images

Mint

Most types of mint can be grown indoors. Start with small plants started from divisions of mint grown outdoors, or buy a mint plant. Keep it well watered with plenty of light. Harvest leaves as needed.

In the spring, move your mint plant outdoors but keep it in a container. In the ground, it can be an aggressive plant that wants to take over your indoor herb garden.

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Natural background with lemon balm medicinal plant.LARISA DUKA/Getty Images

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm with lemon-scented leaves also grows well indoors, where it can be kept in check by regularly pruning off the outer leaves.

Purchase a starter plant or take cuttings from a plant growing outdoors. Lemon balm is a perennial, so take it outdoors in the spring. You can divide it in the fall to make new plants to bring indoors.

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Close-up of herbsMadCircles/Getty Images

Oregano

Several types — variegated, Greek or Mexican — will grow indoors with bright light. Most will tolerate dryness, too.

To ensure you get the oregano you want, start with divisions from a plant you have in your garden. Snip off leaves as needed. Like other perennial herbs, moving your oregano outdoors in the spring once your garden is frost-free will give it a boost. Take divisions in the fall to bring indoors.

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Close up of sprigs of fresh rosemaryImagesbybarbara/Getty Images

Rosemary

Rosemary is easy to find in the stores in the wintertime, but admittedly can be tricky to keep growing. Start with a smaller plant and put it where it will receive lots of light. Water before the soil dries out completely and don’t let the plant sit in water. It likes humidity around it, so consider placing pots on trays of pebbles that are kept moist.

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Aloe Vera Plant growth in farmdangdumrong/Getty Images

Aloe Vera

This is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors. Purchase plants or get a division from a friend.

They like bright light but not direct sunlight, so try growing them near east- or west-facing windows. The gel of these plants is often an ingredient in products for chapped hands. To harvest, cut off outer leaves and split open to get to the gel inside.

Carol J. Michel
Carol J. Michel is an award-winning author of several books including five gardening humor books and one children's book. As the holder of degrees from Purdue University in both horticulture and computer technology, she spent over three decades making a living in healthcare IT while making a life in her garden. She started writing about gardening on her blog called May Dreams Gardens which lead to numerous magazine articles, her books, and a podcast called The Gardenangelists. She was recently named a GardenComm Fellow by Garden Communicators International.