Looking for some great herbs to enjoy year-round? Here are 10 popular ones you can grow indoors for their beauty, scent and culinary benefits.


Sage bears ornamental leaves and is grown for use in many tasty dishes.

Photo Credit: Linnea Thornton


Rosemary smells great in the home and brings flavor to recipes.

Photo Credit: Linnea Thornton


There are many varieties of mints you can try. This spearmint would make a great herbal tea!

Photo Credit: Linnea Thornton

Basil (or, if you’d like to impress your friends, Ocimum basilicum) is an annual. This flavorful herb is easily propagated from seed. It’s important to keep snipping off the flowers or the plant will get very woody, and don’t let the growing medium get dry and crumbly. Make some room for this guy, because basil can grow up to 2 feet tall!

Parsley is a biennial and member of the genus Petroselinum. It grows in clumps and reaches about 5-8 inches tall. (The plant needs a pot deep enough to accommodate a taproot.) Parsley tolerates shadier conditions than some of the other herbs listed here, and planting it from seed requires somewhat warm conditions. Be sure to snip parsley leaves regularly before they yellow.

Basil and parsley require frequent watering every two or three days. The next two herbs require rather consistent moist conditions:

Chives are perennials, and they go by the botanical name Allium schoenoprasum. They can be started from seed and reach 8-12 inches tall. Snip chives with scissors when you’re ready to harvest. These plants like to go dormant in winter, so move them to a cool location.

Mint is a perennial and a part of the genus Mentha. There are many species of mint, and most them are used for flavoring. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a manageable container plant. Since it’s a hybrid, it can’t be grown from seed. In fact, all mints are best propagated from cuttings. The nice thing is that mint does tolerate some shade.

The following herbs benefit from drying out a bit between waterings:

Lavender is another perennial. The species Lavandula stoechas is a compact form. The thing to note about this plant is that it just doesn’t tolerate wet roots. Container-grown plants do best with a pot that accommodates the root-ball, plus a couple inches to spare. This beauty is grown mostly for fragrance and crafts.

Marjoram is a perennial known as Origanum majorana (and may be an annual in colder regions). It’s a relative of oregano, only sweeter. The species is also called pot marjoram and is smaller (18 inches) than the 2 1/2-foot-high marjoram that’s generally grown outdoors. This herb grows well from seed, but be sure to cut it back when it becomes woody.

Oregano is yet another perennial, and it’s known by the Latin name Origanum vulgare. This guy grows 12-24 inches tall. ‘Nanum’ is a good container plant to try, reaching 4-8 inches tall. (And it has a good flavor to boot!)

Rosemary is a perennial botanically known as Rosmarinus officinalis. It’s best propagated by cuttings. ‘Blue Boy’ is a compact variety, reaching only 24 inches. If you want to keep your rosemary healthy, don’t mist it.

Sage is a perennial that goes by the Latin name Salvia officinalis. There are many types of sage out there, but for indoor use you may want to try ‘Compacta’ (Nana). This version features small leaves, a compact growth habit and reaches only about 12 inches tall.

Thyme is a perennial known as Thymus vulgaris. It grows 12-18 inches tall and likes full sun. The flavor of these leaves is best just before flowering.

The key to success in growing any of these plants is remembering that they need good light, well-drained soil (a soilless potting mix with perlite or sharp sand helps), attention to varying water needs (remember – home environments vary widely in humidity) and fertilizer. Use fish emulsion or liquid fertilizer, and be sure to follow label instructions.

With a little care and the perfect indoor sunny spot, you can enjoy a variety of fresh herbs any time of the year.