6 Best Herbs to Grow Indoors – For a Chefs Garden
I picked 6 best herbs to grow indoors based on my personal experience and usage as a home chef. These herbs may not be your clear choices but a good base direction for choosing what will work best for you in your indoor herb garden space.
These herbs are also the most frequently used herbs in our household. All the ones I selected are edible and often considered great culinary herb varieties as well. They will save you money on the grocery bill and improve the flavor of your recipes.
Growing a garden of fresh herbs inside all year can be a very rewarding endeavor. It is a very productive hobby that adds not only natural elements to your home but gives you optimal benefits and peeks flavorful seasoning to your dishes.
My family enjoys the freshness of homegrown herbs. I enjoy the convenience of being able to have them for harvest at my fingertips whenever I need them. You do not need to be a professional chef to appreciate the culinary benefits of herbs, home chefs can benefit from these as well.
⇒ Need help getting started on your herb garden I have a great tutorial for you here.
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6 Best Herbs to Grow Indoors
This grassy leafed herb plant is from the onion family. It has that familiar long grass like blades that extend upward. Can grow to a height of 12” to 18”. Chives work great in salads, sauces, soups, eggs, potatoes, meat, seafood and blended with cheese and butter. It is one of the most versatile herbs for flavor and garnishes.
Chives are perennial and will continue to produce if they are trimmed and cared for. They prefer full sun but are also very shade tolerant. Plants can thrive for years with careful trimming and still produce consistent flavorful blades.
⇒ If you are lacking sunlight indoors you can read a previous post about grow lights on site here.
- Common Chive – or standard chive.
- Garlic Chive – or Chinese Leeks
- Giant Siberian Chives – a larger variety of common chive
Quick tips for growing chives:
- Chives like humidity so mist often
- They enjoy the sun the brighter the better for 4-6 hours a day minimum
- Harvest leaves close to the ground for better growth results
Fine fern-like leaf texture of parsley is a familiar friend in the kitchen. Often thought of as just a dish garnish parsley adds a beautiful fresh flavor to many dishes. It is best added at the end of the cooking process as its delicate flavor does not handle the heat. It is also a breath freshener and pairs well in dishes rich in garlic and onions to keep the odor off your tongue after eating.
Parsley is a hardy biennial meaning it will come back in warmer weather conditions but is most often considered an annual. Patience is needed when starting parsley from seed as it is a slow starter and can sometimes take weeks for germination to happen.
- Flat-Leaf Parsley – this type is very flavorful and includes several variations of its own
- Curly-leaf Parsley – Slightly more bitter than flat-leaf. Most often used for garnishing. More compact varieties.
- Italian Parsley – Stronger flavored flat leaf type but the flavor deserves its own variety designation in my opinion.
- Japanese Parsley – Is a perennial bush variety often used in Asian dishes. It has a more bitterness than other parsley varieties.
Quick tips for growing parsley:
- Keep soil slightly moist it likes the dampness
- Will tolerate low-light conditions
- High heat will make parsley bolt (go to seed) and become bitter
Basil is a kitchen staple and can be used in many culinary dishes. It also has strong medicinal properties as well and can serve multiple purposes in your herbal garden. Basil is not only rich in flavor and scent but also packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.
An easy growing annual plant basil makes a great addition to an indoor herbal garden. Basil grows easily from seed or cuttings. Most varieties are known for their light green aromatic leaves but the versatility of the plant offers other showy leaf types in darker greens to dark purples.
Basil varieties: 100’s so I will list a few main types
- Sweet Type – This includes Genovese one of the most commonly grown types of basil used most often in pesto recipes.
- Holy Basil – Honored by the Hindu religion and often used to boost the immune system.
- Thai Type – An Asian flavored basil with a spicy kick.
- Dwarf or Bush Varieties – These types can be in combination with other types but grow more compact and are ideal for containers.
- Decorative Basil types – Although often still completely edible there are many basil varieties that offer unique characteristics that make them beautiful to look at these include cardinal basil and African blue varieties.
- Lemon or Lime Basil – these types of basil add unique citrus twists to your dishes as well as delicious teas on their own or with other fresh herbs.
Quick tips for growing Basil:
- Consistent warm temperatures 65 to 80 degrees F
- Harvest and prune to keep a bushier plant growth
- Water your basil in the mornings when needed it does not like having wet roots in its dormant nighttimes.
Another great herb with a long history of both medicinal and culinary benefits is sage. Most often associated with poultry dishes it boasts an earthy freshness that is clearly identified in dishes. Sage also is used medicinally for such things as improved brain function and immunity, strengthens bones, improves digestion and much more.
A hardy perennial woody type herb identified by its silky silverfish grey-green leaves that have a soft woolly like texture. Although it is a perennial it is best to replace every 3 to 4 years for best growth and flavor.
- Common Sage – Used in culinary and for medicinal purposes. Most often grown variety in herbal gardens. Can come in bush varieties for smaller compact growth.
- Clary Sage – Is a medicinal type of sage and used for teas and tinctures.
- White Sage – Is a ceremonial type of sage and used most often in smudge sticks and incenses. Not edible.
Quick tips for growing sage:
- Let soil go almost completely dry between watering.
- Sage loves the full sun so be sure to put in a sunny window or supply artificial grow light to supplement.
- Sage grows easily from cuttings either rooted in water or directly in soil
- ⇒If you are lacking sunlight indoors you can read a previous post about grow lights on site here.
The enticing scent of marjoram will fill your home when you grow it indoors or use it in cooking. It has a wonderful scent that is sweet and savory at the same time. A relative to oregano they look very similar and require similar care. I could have listed oregano separately but they are so similar I left this a singular pick.
A tender perennial plant that will not tolerate cold weather snaps outdoors in northern climates. Grows excellent indoors with long-term success and very little care.
- Sweet Marjoram – the Most common variety grown. Works great for seasoning blends, soups, vegetable and meat dishes for sweet-savory addition without the peppery kick of oregano.
- Pot Marjoram – Is a little spicier than the sweet variety and a more compact growth
- Wild Marjoram – is Oregano and has a deeper peppery tone familiar to Italian, Greek and Mediterranean dishes.
Quick tips for growing marjoram:
- Let it go dry between watering
- Avoid letting marjoram flower or the leaves will become bitter and lose their sweetness
- Very tolerant of low light conditions and does not have much impact on flavor
An evergreen with needle-like leaves and a bright almost minty fragrance leaves the rosemary herb as an identifiable beauty in the kitchen. It is used often in the seasoning of meat dishes such as poultry, pork, and lamb. It also works great with wild game meats such as venison. The soothing smell of rosemary alone is said to ease anxiety and stress.
Rosemary is a perennial evergreen with a woody stem. It starts slow and often unpredictably by seed although I have had great success. You can also start it with cuttings and divisions. It can get quite tall and will need pruning to maintain it as an indoor plant.
- Tuscan Blue – Common chefs choice variety for flavor. Can grow to 7 ft tall and will need to be kept well pruned to be an indoor plant.
- Spice Island – a slightly shorter variety at 4ft heights has a similar milder flavor of the Tuscan blue.
- Prostratus – Creeping or trailing type is an edible ground cover type.
Quick tips for growing rosemary:
- Keep it pruned not just for harvest but for growth and airflow. Trim in between bushy growth to allow air to flow between stems. Powdery mildew can often affect rosemary, and this is great prevention.
- Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out in between watering.
- Warm sunny locations in your home with at least 6 hours of bright light
These 6 best herbs to grow indoors are only a drop in the bucket of the great options you can grow in your garden space. Here is a quick list of some other great herbs to try for your edible herb garden.
- Bee Balm
- Lemon Verbena
- Salad Brunet
- And More!
Speed Ahead or Take your time?
In a fast-paced world, we tend to want things yesterday, so it is up to you to decide how much patience you have in getting your herb garden started. For the fastest results jump-starting your garden with plant starts. Established plants can give you months ahead advantages over seed growth and lead to quicker harvest.
If you choose to take your time and savor the experience of growing start with seeds. Although your end results of fresh herbs for use will take longer the joy of growing and nourishing a plant from its beginning stages are rewarding.
Best of both worlds and have some established plants to get you to a usable garden while you start some from seed. This is the method I often choose so I can enjoy fresh herbs as I anticipate the growth of the new generation as well.
The best advantage of all gardening is a lifelong hobby that brings many rewards. You do not need a green thumb to learn how to grow herbs or begin gardening. Indoor gardening presents many opportunities to have a controlled environment to start your growing experiences or begin new ones.
What are your favorite herbs to grow or use in cooking? Did they make the best list, if not tell me why you think they should be at the top of the list? Drop a comment below!
I look forward to hearing from you!