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11 Herbs for Indoor Container Gardening

Keep these herbs on your windowsill for easy access to ingredients for adding to recipes and scented crafts.

Text and Photos by Rachael Brugger, Senior Associate Web Editor


Print these indoor-herb I.D. cards as a handy reference for growing information. Photo by Gina Cioli/Bowtie, Inc. (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Gina Cioli/Bowtie, Inc.

Wintertime can often mean retiring the garden and relying on dried herbs for your homemade meals. Growing herbs indoors in windowsill containers allows you to extend your gardening activities to the cold months and have fresh ingredients on hand for recipes and crafts—not to mention, these plants make great air fresheners!

The 11 herbs below are a great place start your indoor herb garden, but are not the only plants suited for growing in the house. Position the plants near a sunny window and keep them well-watered. To minimize pests, such as aphids and mealy bugs, infecting these indoor houseplants, prevent stressing the plants by ensuring they receive the adequate amount of sun and water and wash plants every couple of weeks as needed. Also be aware of introducing pests indoors if bringing your potted herbs inside from a back patio or purchasing from a nursery. To keep existing houseplants from being affect, sequester the new plants

Print off these indoor-herb ID cards for a handy growing reference.

Thyme

1. Thyme
(Thymus vulgaris)

  • Soil requirements: loose, well-drained soil; pH between 4.5 and 8.0
  • Water requirements: more than 1 inch per week
  • Sunlight requirements: full sun; 6 hours is ideal
  • Container size: 4- to 12-inch diameter
  • Uses: flavoring for cheese, dressing, egg and tomato dishes, fish, honey, poultry, rice, sauce, soup, stew, stuffing; fragrance in potpourri and sachets; herbal medicine; tea
  • Recipes to try:
    Raspberry Lemon-thyme Sparkler
    Herbed Vinegar
    Turkey Vegetable Soup with Rice
Sage

2. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

  • Soil requirements: rich, light, well-drained soil; pH between 4.2 and 8.3
  • Water requirements: 1 inch per week; allow soil to dry between waterings
  • Sunlight requirements: full sun; minimum 6 hours per day
  • Container size: 8- to 30-inch diameter
  • Uses: flavoring for cheese, fish, ground meat, honey, pickles, salad, sausage, soup, stew, stuffing; herbal medicine; natural insect repellent
  • Recipes to try:
    Pumpkin Risotto
    Brussel Sprout and Cauliflower Gratin
    Venison Meatloaf
Parsley

3. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

  • Soil requirements: rich, moist, well-drained soil; pH between 4.9 and 8.3
  • Water requirements: water deeply once per week; do not overwater
  • Sunlight requirements: full sun; minimum 5 hours per day
  • Container size: 6- to 18-inch diameter
  • Uses: flavoring for dressing, salad, sauce, soup, stew; garnish; herbal medicine; ornamental edging
  • Recipes to try:
    Herbed Goat Cheese Dip
    Pasta Carbonara
    Italian Lettuce Wraps with Chilled Orzo
Oregano

4. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Winter Savory

5. Winter Savory (Satureja montana)

  • Soil requirements: dry, well-drained soil; pH between 6.5 and 7.3
  • Water requirements: 1 inch per week; allow soil to dry between waterings
  • Sunlight requirements: full sun
  • Container size: 8- to 24-inch diameter
  • Uses: flavoring for fish, meat, salad, sausage, soup, stew
  • Recipe to try:
    Herbed Mustard
Mint

6. Mint (Mentha)

  • Soil requirements:moist, rich, well-drained soil; pH between 6.0 and 7.0
  • Water requirements: more than 1 inch per week
  • Sunlight requirements: partial to full sun; minimum 6 hours is ideal
  • Container size: 8- to 24-inch diameter
  • Uses: flavoring for confections, infused vinegar, jelly, sauce; fragrance in bath products, candles, perfume; tea
  • Recipes to try:
    Fresh Mint Tea
    Watermelon and Mint Aguas Frescas
    Mint Candy
  • Grower’s tip:Grow mints in pots by themselves, as they will overwhelm other plants.
Marjoram

7. Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

  • Soil requirements: rich, well-drained soil; pH between 4.9 and 8.7
  • Water requirements: 1 inch per week; allow soil to dry between waterings
  • Sunlight requirements: full sun; minimum 6 hours is ideal
  • Container size: 12- to 24-inch diameter
  • Uses: flavoring for confections, egg dishes, fish, infused vinegar, jelly, meat, salad, sausage, soup, stew, stuffing, vegetables; fragrance in sachets, potpourri; herbal medicine; material for crafts; tea
  • Recipes to try:
    Asparagus Frittata
    Spinach Velvet Soup
    Cornish Game Hens with Apple Bacon Stuffing
Patchouli
Photo courtesy Mountain Valley Growers, Inc.

8. Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli)

  • Soil requirements: rich, friable, well-drained soil; pH between 5.5 and 6.2
  • Water requirements: at least 1 inch per week
  • Sunlight requirements: partial sun
  • Container size: 8- to 30-inch diameter
  • Uses: fragrance in incense, perfume, soap
Sweet Basil

9. Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Bay Laurel

10. Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)

Rosemary

11. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

  • Soil requirements: alkaline, well-drained, not heavily fertilized soil; pH between 4.5 and 8.7; sandy or rocky soils OK if given minimum soil depth of 8 inches
  • Water requirements: at least 1 inch per week
    Sunlight requirements: full sun
  • Container size: 12-inch diameter; 8 inches deep
  • Uses: flavoring for bread, butter, infused vinegar, jam, meat, stuffing, vegetables, stew; fragrance in bath products; herbal medicine; natural insect repellent; tea
  • Recipes to try:
    Apple Brie Soup
    Citrus-braised Wild Duck
    Sweet Potato Oven Fries

 Grow an herb garden for your cat or bird, too!

 Give us your opinion on
11 Herbs for Indoor Container Gardening

Submit a Comment
Reader Comments
Good article and cards.
Hannah, Hemlock, NY
Posted: 2/26/2014 8:50:19 AM
Time to start them!!
Dante, Hyde Park, MA
Posted: 1/13/2014 6:45:15 PM
Great article! I am so excited to start planting herbs in my kitchen!
Crystal, Hesperia, CA
Posted: 11/2/2013 10:06:31 AM
I love the cards I can keep next to each pot so my hubby doesn't do something he shouldn't like move a plant into the full sunlight. Now he cant say he didn't know...well maybe if he can't read now lol
Ronda, Albuquerque, NM
Posted: 1/25/2013 1:02:53 AM
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