Do you have a serious lack of space at home but want to experience growing some of your own food? No outdoor space or garden? Are you completely new to growing and have no idea where to start? No problem! These five herbs and plants are some of the easiest to grow and maintain and all do well in small pots on a light-filled window sill. These are our favourite herbs and plants to grow indoors because they are the most useful in the kitchen, super low-maintenance to take care of and some of the best tasting herbs out there. Discover our five easy to grow indoor herbs and plants today.
If you have not tried gardening before or only have a small space to play with indoors, it can be difficult to know what to try and what will work the best. These five herbs and plants are all suitable for growing in pots, whether that’s on a window sill in the kitchen, in a light-filled conservatory or in small pots on your patio or balcony. They are also all great additions to the home because of their incredible uses. Learn the health benefits of our top five indoor herbs and plants, how to look after them and how best to use them on a regular basis.
Coriander is a citrus-tasting herb that is ideal for creating the best Mexican and Thai flavours. It has many health benefits, containing iron, vitamin C and protein. It is also believed that coriander aids digestion. The elegantly shaped green leaves and stalks can be chopped up in your cooking. We recently heard that coriander was a real love it or hate it kind of herb, where apparently some people taste it completely differently to others? Are you a coriander lover or coriander hater?
Our Recommendations: Cooking with Coriander
- Add fresh coriander to spicy fajitas for a welcome zing that complements spice perfectly
- Use fresh coriander when cooking coconut based curries or chilli, either within the sauce or as a beautiful and tasty garnish
- Coriander is the key ingredient for making homemade guacamole, alongside lemon and a natural salt such as pink Himalayean.
Add coriander to our Pumpkin & Black Bean Chilli.
Caring for your Coriander Plant
Coriander likes sunlight, warmth and to be kept moist. Coriander plants are easy to water because they start to droop when they don’t have enough water and stand more upright when they have plenty. Do not over water coriander. To avoid over watering, place your coriander in a pot that drains well and place this is on a small tray or plate.
Beginner Gardener Tip: We find it is best to water the tray that your easy draining pot plant stands on so that your plant can absorb as much or as little water as it likes.
The Life of Coriander
We find our coriander never re-grows. Once we have cut the stems, more often than not it’s just a matter of time until we need new coriander seeds or a plant. You can buy small coriander plants from most garden centres or even food stores, or for a zero waste coriander supply, plant new seeds before your old plant is used up. The amount you will need and the routine of planting new seeds will depend on how much you like to use coriander.
Coriander plants tend not to last that long and are best for people who use this plant regularly in cooking. Coriandar is an annual plant, meaning it completes its life cycle within one year. If you want to, you can let your coriandar plant bolt (go to seed), collect the seeds from it and re-plant. Once the coriander plant bolts, the taste is not the same. If you want your coriander for cooking, regularly take from the plant.
Basil has a strong clove-like flavour and it compliments tomato-based dishes beautifully. It’s health properties include being antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and it contains powerful antioxidants too. The rounded and easy growing leaves have a unique aroma that makes it a perfect kitchen window sill herb.
Our Recommendations: Cooking with Basil
- Basil is the best herb for adding to all pasta dishes, creamy ones and tomato ones too.
- Add fresh basil to your homemade Lasagna to get the right balance of flavour in your sauce.
- Our favourite use of basil is in our vegan homemade basil pesto, ideal for dipping warm bread or smothering over vegetables.
Get our Vegan Lasagna Recipe today.
Caring for your Basil Plant
Similar to coriander, basil likes sunlight, warmth and to be kept moist. Basil is also an annual and one that hates frost so it is best looked after indoors. When basil is underwatered, it will lose its bright green colour, a clear indicator that it needs more liquid. Again, the best way to avoid overwatering is to use a free draining pot and water the tray or plate the basil plant sits in only.
Beginner Gardener Tip: If your basil starts looking worse for wear, yellowing leaves and/or spots, try cutting it back as this may encourage new shoots to restore and grow.
The Life of Basil
When you take leaves from your basil plant, you will notice it re-grows. This makes basil a more cost-effective herb than coriander. You can buy small basil plants from most garden centres or food stores, but it is one of the easiest to grow from seed. Because basil regrows, it doesn’t matter if you only use basil sparingly or not all that often. In our experience, basil plants keep much better than herbs like coriander, even if we don’t trim them or use them for days or even weeks.
3. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are hardy evergreen plants that are best added in Indian curries. The health benefits of bay leaves are never-ending, with the leaves containing vitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium and iron. Bay leaves are also known to soothe body aches and ease joint pain from arthritis. Because bay leaves have antibacterial and antifungal properties they support a healthy immune system too. Whole bay leaves should be picked and added to curries to obtain the nutrients, then removed before serving.
Our Recommendations: Cooking with Bay Leaves
- Add the leaves as part of a curry paste (remove before serving)
- Use in a homemade muscle ache
- Bay leaves also help to enhance the flavour of soups and stews
Caring for your Bay Plant
Bay leaf plants do well indoors or out and can be contained to a small pot if you do not want a large tree. The bay plant is an evergreen that doesn’t really like British winters but can survive outside if you would prefer a tree. Leaves can be dried for use in winter. Bay leaf plants do not need as much water as smaller, more fragile herbs. Again, water the tray and allow the plant to soak up what it needs.
Beginner Gardener Tip: Take leaves from the top of your plant to encourage it to fill out and save it getting top heavy.
The Life of Bay Leaf Plants
You will likely buy one bay leaf plant and probably have it for life. We’ve had ours for 2 years and its still doing well.
4. Aloe Vera
We feel an aloe plant is something every home should have! Their long green stems contain fresh aloe juice which is one of the most beneficial natural remedies for burns, skin irritations and bites. We also use our natural aloe gel on acne and sun-kissed skin. We’ve even heard aloe juice helps to prevent wrinkles, lowers blood sugar levels and can reduce dental plaque! It’s a pretty marvellous medicinal plant.
Our Recommendations: Using Aloe Juice
- Apply aloe juice directly to sunburnt areas of the skin
- Use aloe juice as a soothing face mask
- Keep your aloe plant nearby in the kitchen for minor cooking burns
You may also like these Natural Health Remedies.
Caring for your Aloe Vera
Aloe vera plants are best kept indoors in the U.K. as they like it warm. They do not need much water and prefer sunny spots. They are ideal on a window sill or in a well-lit conservatory. Do not over water.
Beginner Gardener Tip: Aloe vera juice can easily replace many topical creams in your medicine cupboard, creating an excellent zero waste health product with many varied uses.
The Life of Aloe Vera
Simply chop off a piece of the aloe stalk and squeeze the natural juice out. We like to chop a small piece at the top of a stalk, just enough for what we need, and then keep taking cuttings from that stalk until its all used. Other stalks will grow once an older stalk no longer requires water and light. If you prefer your aloe juice very cold, chop a full stalk from as close to the base of the plant as you can and place the whole stalk in the fridge for when you need it most.
Mint is arguably the most common British herb, with multiple dishes and condiments getting their distinct flavour from mint. Fresh mint is excellent for upset stomach or indigestion and mint also helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Our Recommendations: Cooking with Mint
- Add mint to fresh salads or sandwiches for a natural zing
- Create homemade tzatziki or a natural mint ice-cream
- Our favourite daily use of mint is to add it to our water for a refreshing lift or to infuse the leaves in boiling water for an after-dinner tea
Caring for your Mint Plant
Mint is hardy enough to withstand just about anything so most people leave it outside and it will come back year after year. However, it can be grown in a small pot indoors if you have no garden and its vibrant smell makes a fantastic addition to your natural kitchen aroma. It is nearly impossible to overwater it, underwater it or kill it. Mint then, is the best herb to start with as a beginner gardener. Garden mint is the most popular variety.
Beginner Gardener Tip: Even if you do have a garden, mint is best contained in a pot as it has a tendency to take over any space it’s given.
The Life of Mint
Mint is another herb that you can buy once and have forever. It will just keep growing stronger and keep coming back. Trim your mint regularly to contain its size, taking leaves from the top to encourage the plant to fill from the bottom.
Indoor Herbs & Plants
You might think that to grow your own food you should have a garden or allotment but actually, how much more beneficial to have these popular choices close to your kitchen for easy and immediate use. Most herbs can be raised from seed but it may be more practical to buy them as small plants. With a shrub such as bay, you should only need one plant whereas smaller herbs typically require regular purchases. Most can be dried but every single one will always taste better fresh.
When it comes to herbs and plants, avoid buying the pre-mixed, non-natural stuff from the supermarket that comes in unnecessary packaging and where possible source your plants without these little plastic jackets shown in the image above. Wherever you source your herb plants from, start growing your own today.
All of these herbs and plants are easy to keep and happy in small pots indoors. And if you’re not a fan of one of these herbs listed here, try growing something you use regularly. After all, the whole point is to have herbs and plants in your kitchen and home that you will enjoy using. Not only are our most commonly used herbs and plants easy to grow at home, but compared to their shop brought counterparts they have a noticeably better taste. So what are you waiting for? Pick your own fresh leaves straight from your window box and start easy indoor gardening immediately.
You may also enjoy reading these popular Zero Waste Ideas.