Herb garden Photo by Harry Grout on Unsplash
Growing herbs indoors can be great for physical and mental wellbeing. You can enjoy growing even if you have a tiny or no garden.

Helpful information

Timing: All year around

Where to do it: Indoors

Garden space: No garden needed

  • Growing plants indoors can have a calming effect and help reduce stress
  • The sight of growing herbs can hold your attention, giving a break from work or day to day thoughts
  • Indoor herbs allow you to enjoy the benefits of plants even if you have no access to outside space, or struggle with mobility
Parsley Photo by pintando la luz on Unsplash
A pot of parsley. Photo by pintando la luz on Unsplash

There are so many herbs that you could try in your indoor herb garden. A good starting point is the ones you most enjoy adding to cooking!

Here are some popular herbs you may like to try:

  • Parsley. A member of the carrot family that comes in flat leafed or curly varieties. A staple in many dishes
  • Thyme. A Mediterranean herb. The ancient Greeks used to sprinkle it into their bath water. It makes a good rub for meat
  • Basil. An annual, so will only live for one year. It comes in green and purple varieties and can be blended into a pesto
  • Oregano. A small leaved plant that loves sun. It can suffer if watered too much in the winter. It goes very well in a pizza or pasta sauce
  • Mint. A tenacious herb that can grow from cuttings in a jar. Can add extra flavour to desserts, such as chocolate and ice cream
  • Lemon balm. Part of the mint family, with a strong citrus smell to its leaves. Put the leaves in hot water to make a calming tea
  • Chives. Part of the allium or onion family. Produce edible purple flowers around spring. Can be used to add a soft oniony flavour to an omelette

There are many more herbs you could add to your indoor herb garden. For example sage, rosemary and marjoram or more adventurous additions like tarragon and lemon verbena.

Indoor herb garden mint
Mint growing by a kitchen window

Growing from seed or plant

The most cost effective and perhaps satisfying way to grow herbs is to start them from seed.

If you would like your herbs to be ready sooner, or have an even greater chance of growing success, you can buy small herb plants from garden centres.

If you buy a living herb plant from the supermarket, you could also try using that. Divide the plant into smaller clumps and repot them in your indoor herb garden.

Choosing a container

You can grow herbs indoors in many different types of container. You could have individual pots for each herb, or put several in a longer planter. Just make sure whatever you choose fits your space (see below).

Make sure your containers have drainage holes in the bottom. Otherwise, water will get trapped.


Choose a good quality potting compost that will suit indoor plants. The soil you find in your garden is generally too heavy for indoor use.

Where to put your herbs

Most herbs need a lot of sunlight to grow. A spot beside a south facing window is generally good. If you have a sunny kitchen windowsill this is ideal, as your herbs will grow close to where you will use them.

If your herbs don’t have enough sun, they may get ‘leggy’ (growing with very long stems between the leaves). The leaves may not grow to full size and the plant could turn yellow.

If you don’t have a sunny window, you could buy a grow light. This should get around any light issues.

Make it easier

Put your herbs somewhere you can easily reach them. This way, you won't have to crouch down or stretch when watering them or picking herbs.

Your herb garden in winter

The beauty of an indoor herb garden is that you can keep it growing through winter.

Be aware that the temperature by a window can get much colder in winter. Check the leaves of your plants are not touching the window. You don’t want them to freeze!


It’s a good idea to make a plan for watering before planting your herbs. Having a tray or plate beneath your herb pots or planters will catch water and stop it running across your windowsill or surface.

A good way to tell if your herbs need watering is to gently lift the pot. If the pot feels light, give them a water. You can water gently using a small watering can. Or, another way is to fill a washing up bowl with around 1cm of water. Stand the pots in this for around an hour so they soak up the water.

Make it easier

Make watering less effort by using water-retaining granules. A bottle top waterer, which reuses a plastic bottle, is light to carry. Find more ideas in our guide to watering plants indoors.


It’s a good idea to feed your herbs with a suitable fertiliser every month or two.

Make it easier

Slow-release fertiliser is an easy way to feed herbs.

Picking herbs

Try to regularly pick your herbs. This will encourage them to keep producing new growth.

If you are getting more than you can use in your cooking, there are other ways to make use of your herbs (see below).

A cafetiere of herbal tea
A cafetiere of herbal tea

Herbs can be used in many different ways, from cooking to crafts. Here are just a few ideas to try:

  • Strip oregano leaves from the stalks and add to a pizza topping
  • Put mint leaves into an ice cube tray to freeze. Use to pep up a drink on a hot summer’s day
  • Make your own herbal tea
  • Follow a recipe and create your own rosemary salt
  • Make herb-infused oils
  • Use dried herbs, such as lavender, in little fabric bags. These can be popped in drawers to add some lovely fresh scent

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