The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (2024)

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (1)

If you have a favorite herb, chances are it's easy to grow, and the payoff is huge. Not only do you get fresh, delicious herbs through the seasons, but you also can’t beat the convenience. "With the appropriate lighting and consideration for nutrients, there is no reason why you can't grow herbs year-round," says Halley Beagle, the nursery manager at GardenHood in Atlanta.

Indoor herb gardens beautify your space, and today, you can choose from a number of options even for small apartments or homes without bright, sunny windows. We considered factors like setup and maintenance, automated features, and the differences between hydroponic gardens and potted plants to pick the best indoor herb gardens for every home.

Pros

  • This convenient, easy-to-use garden is reasonably priced and packed with features.

Growing a small selection of plants with this indoor herb garden kit is easy (and fun). Grow lights make it a great choice for homes without strong, direct sunlight. Like many pod systems, this one comes with everything you need to plug and go, including the pods containing the seeds you'll germinate and grow and liquid fertilizer. Customers rave about how easy it is to use and love the delicious herbs they harvest. Best of all, it gives you reminders when your plants need water or nutrients, helping even the most forgetful gardener easily care for their plants.

  • Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.5 x 6.25 inches
  • Number of plants:6

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Best Value

Spade to Fork Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (3)

Pros

  • This affordable, no-frills kit lets you try your hand at indoor herb gardening without a huge investment.

Cons

  • These compostable pots require replacement over time.

If you're curious about indoor herb gardening but aren't ready to invest in a more expensive system quite yet, these little peat pots may be your perfect choice. We love that everything, from seeds to pots to soil, is organic, and the compostable pots mean you aren't adding plastics to the landfill when it's time to replace them. Plus, you get a variety of seeds, perfect for growing small amounts of herbs to support your culinary adventures. The system also has a growing guide to help ensure you can garden successfully.

  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 6.75 inches
  • Number of plants:5

Pros

  • This energy-efficient smart garden requires very little hands-on work and maintenance.

Cons

  • It costs more than most options, and some users say the chives did not sprout.

We recommend this simple smart garden system to beginners and the chronically forgetful alike. Simply fill the water reservoir, pop your plant pods into their new homes, turn on the grow lights, and let the system do the rest. It uses less water than soil-based crops, and it can go up to four weeks without needing more. Like other pod-based systems, this one requires you to purchase the brand’s seed pods when you're ready for a refill. But thankfully, Veritable has over 70 varieties of pods to choose from. It's energy-efficient, too, as its LED grow lights turn off at night, and users say they don’t notice an increase in their bills when using this garden.

  • Dimensions:14.5 x 7.2 x 6.4 inches
  • Number of plants:4

Best Design

Click & Grow Indoor Herb Garden Kit with Grow Light

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (5)

Pros

  • This attractive, user-friendly system holds more plants than other options on our list.

Cons

  • Though you can grow nine plants with it, space is tight. It’s also on the pricier end of our list.

This attractive system catches our eyes, with multiple color options and a sleek and beautiful design. It's larger than some other systems, making it a great choice for folks with a bit more space or who just want to grow more than a few plants. This garden makes growing easy with features like automatic watering and a bank of grow lights to ensure your plants get the UV light they need.

  • Dimensions 2 x 16 x 7 inches
  • Number of plants:9

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Pros

  • This attractive, compact design is perfect for apartments.

Cons

  • It only holds three plants.

This affordable hydroponic growing system helps bring fresh herbs to even the smallest home, and it looks great while doing it. We love how easy it is to set up: Just like its larger counterpart, all you do is add pods, add water, plug it in, and let the gardening system do the rest. While it's not the best choice if you crave variety, as it only has space for three pods, it’s perfect for folks who want to keep things small or try hydroponic gardening without a big upfront investment.

  • Dimensions: 9 x 4.9 x 12.5 inches
  • Number of plants:3

Pros

  • You can grow up to a dozen plants with it, and it’s a good value for the number of pods it holds.

Cons

  • Its design is less sleek than some of our other top picks.

This hydroponic system is a great choice if you're looking for variety and have space to spare. It also includes a fan to help disperse pollen between plants, which means more fruit and vegetables to cook with. It also includes two growing modes, offering different light spectrums for different kinds of plants. We love that this system doesn’t rely on premade seed pods, as it allows you to really tailor your garden to your preferences.

  • Dimensions 12.1 x 13.8 x 15.2 inches
  • Number of plants: 12

Best Vertical

Mr. Stacky 5-Tier Planter

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (8)

Pros

  • This lightweight, versatile planting system will help you make the most of your space.

Cons

  • Plastic planters may not hold up as well over time as other materials.

If you're eager to grow herbs in containers but are short on space, consider growing up, not out! Vertical planters are perhaps best known for growing strawberries, but you can use them to grow any number of plants. We love that the Mr. Stacky system is made of lightweight and customizable material. For example, you can add extra tiers or a tray with rollers for easy moving. It comes in various colors, too, so it fits into your decor no matter the color scheme.

  • Dimensions 13 x 13 x 5.75 inches
  • Number of plants: 20

Best for Small Spaces

Modern Sprout Glass Jar Grow Kit

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (9)

Pros

  • Beautiful, reusable compact jars make growing herbs in tight spaces an attractive and easy proposition.

Cons

  • This system may not be best for those craving large yields or wide variety.

These kits combine the beauty of vintage glass jars with the science of hydroponics to give you a passive watering system that takes up little space and costs practically nothing to maintain. The jars come in a range of striking colors and are designed to be reused, making these an eco-friendly choice and a space-saving one.

  • Dimensions 6 x 3.5 inches
  • Number of plants: 1 per jar

Best Splurge

Rise Gardens Personal Garden and Starter Kit

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (10)

Pros

  • This simple-to-use smart garden is beautiful and durable.

Cons

  • It costs more than other systems on the list.

This garden has a large capacity (12 plants) and an attractive design that will look at home in most kitchens. For the tech-savvy, it also includes a companion app to help you monitor and learn more about your garden. This self-watering system is convenient to use, especially for frequent travelers or forgetful folks, and its LED lights turn on and off. It's easy to set up, too: Pop in your starter plants, add water, and turn on the light.

  • Dimensions 22 x 10 x 19 inches
  • Number of plants: 12

Our Favorite

The best indoor herb garden for you fits your space and considers the environment your plants will be growing in, including sunlight and moisture. We love the Aerogarden Harvest Elite for its good value and user-friendly setup, including an automatic timer to give plants just the right amount of light.

Factors to Consider

Growing Conditions

“The number one consideration is going to be light.Most herbs need full sun to [partial sunlight] to grow.Indoor lighting conditions are usually much lower than outside, so supplemental lighting may be necessary if space doesn't allow for growing in a bright window,” says Beagle. Sunny, south-facing windows are perfect for setting up an herb garden using natural light. If you don't get a lot of sunlight, grow lights can help your plants thrive.

“It is also very important to place your plants away from the direct line of a vent. Placing indoor plants too near a vent can dry them out very quickly and lead to other issues with disease and infestations.Providing additional humidity may be necessary as well, but can be easily done with a humidifier,” says Beagle.

Hydroponic vs. Potted

Some people enjoy using hydroponic systems, while others prefer soil. Potted plants in soil tend to have lower startup costs and are cheaper to maintain and more earth-friendly, but hydroponics can be more convenient, especially those with automated watering and lighting. Choose an indoor herb garden that fits your lifestyle: If you're short on time, consider something that's easy to set up and requires minimal regular maintenance.

Soil and Soil Amendments

Soil is a crucial building block to healthy plants. "Typically, using a regular or organic potting mix is ideal for most plants in containers.It is always a good idea to be mindful of your watering habits and choose a potting mix thatworks with you to maintain proper moisture levels. Generally, organic potting mixes hold more moisture so that can be helpful for folks whostruggle to stay on a schedule," says Beagle.

Remember to think about fertilizing, too. "There are usually about three to four months of nutrients in potting mixes, so amending or fertilizing will be necessary at some point in the growing season,” says Beagle. “Worm castings are really nutrient-rich and can be added to the top of the soil to slow-release down into the potting mix and replenishnutrients.There are a lot of options for fertilizers, from liquid to granular to fertilizer sticks, so the most important thing is to make sure the fertilizers are appropriate for edible plants!"

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much light does an indoor herb garden need? Does it need direct sunlight?

    Light is critical to your garden's health, and your herbs need as much light as possible!According to Beagle, "one of the biggest challenges for growing anything inside is being able to provide enough light for the plants to grow.Even in a bright window, a plant might not get all the light it needs to grow successfully.Most newer windows only allow for partial UV light to penetrate inside which cuts down significantly on how much 'useful light' an indoor plant receives. Supplemental lighting has come a long way over the past few years and there are a lot more options for indoor gardeners.Most plants want full-spectrum lighting, so it's important to choose a light source that is designed specifically for growing plants."

  • Can you grow herbs indoors year round?

    "The short answer is yes,” Beagle says. “Adjusting supplemental lighting might be necessary throughout the year as the length of the days changes with the seasons. Supplemental humidity should also be considered during times when the HVAC is running more consistently.It's just important to remember that all gardening, both indoor and outdoor, requires a lot of patience, persistence, and trial and error, so give yourself a lot of grace if the outcome isn't perfect on the first attempt.A plant did not die in vain if there was a lesson learned."

  • Which herbs grow best indoors?

    “In many cases with indoor gardening, space is at a premium, so growing plants that you will use regularly should be a top consideration,” says Beagle. "Generally, herbs with larger leaves or that prefer cooler weather or shadier light conditions do best inside. Parsley, cilantro, cutting celery, mint, and basil are much more likely to succeed indoors than Mediterranean plants, like rosemary and lavender, that prefer hot, dry growing conditions.It is also worth noting that a lot of herbs only live one or two years, so regular replacement should be expected and is not a sign of failure."

  • Which herbs grow best in containers?

    "Herbs typically perform beautifully in containers given the proper drainage.Most anything will grow in the appropriately-sized pot, so the biggest considerations here are going to be the light conditions and the space restrictions. Some herbs like rosemary can grow quite large and might not be a good option for smaller spaces, so be mindful during plant selection to think about the mature sizes of the plants,” says Beagle. “Choosing plants that will be regularly harvested is ideal.”

  • How can you move indoor herbs outdoors?

    "The best time to transition plants is when the outdoor and indoor temperatures are similar. In Atlanta, that is generally in April to May and October to November,"says Beagle. "If plants have been living indoors during the winter, it's important to not transition them outside until we are safe from a late frost."


    There are benefits to letting your plants breathe outdoors in the summer, too: "Most of your indoor plants benefit from spending summers outdoors.Having a full growing season exposed to the heat, humidity, and the appropriate amount of direct sunlight will make them stronger and give them a better chance of survival during winters indoors.Our homes during the winter are not generally the most ideal growing conditions because of the hot, dry air we have blowing," she says."Be mindful not to place plants in the direct line of a vent, or consider redirecting the airflow so it doesn't blow directly on the plant.If you notice the leaves moving while the air or heat is on, that is a good indicator that the plant is in the direct line of a vent and steps should be taken to correct that."

Our Expertise

Julia Skinner, PhD, is a writer, culinary educator, and avid gardener and outdoorsperson, and author of Our Fermented Lives. She writes about and teaches fermentation, cooking, wild foods, and food preservation through her business, Root and through her newsletter.

Halley Beagle is the Nursery Manager for GardenHood, an independent plant nursery in Atlanta, which includes retail, classes, and gardening help.

The 6 Best Indoor Gardens, According to Our Tests

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round (2024)

FAQs

The Best Indoor Herb Gardens for Growing Fresh Ingredients Year Round? ›

Best Herbs to Grow Indoors

It may be tempting to jump in and grow a wide variety of herbs at first. However, you'll likely have more success if you focus on just a few that you know you will use regularly. Basil, chives, cilantro,oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme are among the easiest herbs to grow indoors.

What herbs can I grow indoors all year round? ›

Best Herbs to Grow Indoors

It may be tempting to jump in and grow a wide variety of herbs at first. However, you'll likely have more success if you focus on just a few that you know you will use regularly. Basil, chives, cilantro,oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme are among the easiest herbs to grow indoors.

Can you make an indoor herb garden in the winter? ›

During the cold-weather months, growing herbs in the garden isn't an option for most, but starting an indoor patch is absolutely achievable for anyone, and it's well worth the time and investment.

Is an indoor herb garden worth it? ›

Growing herbs indoors allows you to enjoy homegrown produce, whether you're short on garden space or just want to add a dash of green to your interior. For newbies, it can also serve as a low-stakes entry into more substantial edible gardening—all you need is a sunny window.

Can you have an indoor herb garden all year round? ›

Many cooks grow herbs indoors during the winter when it's too cold outside or too wet to dig in the dirt, but you can grow herbs inside any time of year. Indoor herbs prefer the same temperatures that most people do—around 65 to 70 degrees F—so if you're comfortable, they probably are.

How do you keep an indoor herb garden year round? ›

6 Tips to Successfully Grow Herbs Inside Year-Round
  1. Get your seedlings off to a good start. ...
  2. Make sure you have enough sunlight. ...
  3. Avoid overwatering your herbs as they grow. ...
  4. Give your herbs a boost. ...
  5. Pinch back your herbs when they are a few inches tall. ...
  6. Take advantage of warm days.

What is the hardest herb to grow? ›

In fact, lavender is the most difficult herb to keep alive, with 10,400 plant parents in need of help every month. Basil, mint and rosemary also come close behind, followed by popular herbs such as coriander, dill and parsley.

What are the hardiest herbs to grow indoors? ›

Thyme, mint, oregano, and chives are the best herbs to bring inside from the garden. Their clumped roots are easy to dig up and separate into pots. But before you dig, look closely for pests and any sign of disease. Whitefly can be a common pest on indoor herbs, be sure you are checking the undersides of leaves.

What is the best soil for indoor herbs? ›

Plant Your Herbs in Quality Soil

Your herbs will need ample nutrients, oxygen and moisture at the root level. Always use a quality potting mix, such as Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix, that will allow for proper airflow and drainage so your herbs can root deeply and thrive.

What herbs can you grow indoors together? ›

Plant rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay laurel in a blend of equal parts of cactus mix and regular potting soil. Other herbs, like basil and mint, grow well in regular potting soil. Fertilize once or twice a month with a liquid houseplant fertilizer.

When should I start my indoor herb garden? ›

URBANA, Ill. – Herbs are a favorite in most gardens, but transplants can be expensive. As an economical alternative, consider starting seeds indoors in early spring as warmer weather approaches. Herbs can be started in March and be ready for transplanting into the garden in May, depending on the region of Illinois.

Will herbs survive winter in pots indoors? ›

And there's even better news: It's easy to do! Most herbs, after they are established, need minimal care and can flourish indoors through the cold winter months. Herbs that are already in containers are the easiest to bring inside; they just need a little TLC to accommodate the change.

Are herbs better in pots or ground? ›

To keep the rest of your garden plot safe, consider growing these herbs in pots and burying them in the ground. The added measure of control a pot puts on the roots of these herbs can keep them from moving in to the rest of your garden and prompting taking over.

Do indoor herb gardens attract bugs? ›

Bringing perennial herbs indoors for winter (such as, rosemary, bay, thyme, oregano or sage) can also bring pests indoors. Examine plants carefully and spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil before bringing indoors. Aphids love tender young growth.

How long do indoor herb gardens last? ›

How long does an indoor herb garden last? In my experience, they last a few months. I start an indoor herb garden in the very early spring, and as soon as there is no chance of frost, I move the herbs outdoors.

What are the best indoor herbs for winter? ›

Answer: Many herbs can be successfully grown indoors during the winter months. The best herbs to grow indoors include basil, cilantro, parsley, chervil, rosemary, bay laurel, mint, chives, oregano, thyme, sage, and lemongrass. Light is often the most limiting factor when growing herbs indoors.

Can you grow herbs indoors without sunlight? ›

Whether you garden in chilly zone 3; whether you are short on indoor space; whether you have never gardened a day in your life — everyone can grow herbs indoors. If you don't have a sunny windowsill, most herbs will thrive under a grow light.

Can you grow basil indoors all year round? ›

Sure, you could purchase potted basil plants from your local garden center or grocery store in spring and summer. But with just a few dollars of seeds and a little bit of your time, you can learn how to grow basil indoors year-round.

What herbs grow well indoors low light? ›

These herbs tolerate the lower light levels, low humidity, and cooler temperatures indoors, making them the best herbs to start with when growing herbs inside your home. Parsley, mint, chives, basil, oregano, cilantro and thyme are all great candidates to grow indoors.

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