6/8/2021 | By Kari Smith

Cooking with fresh herbs results in meals that are packed with fresh, from-the-garden flavor; but for those who are unable to garden outside, there are plenty of options for indoor growing. If you have windows that get partial to full sunlight, and either a windowsill deep enough to accommodate a pot or a shelf or small table that sits directly in front of the window, you can easily grow a windowsill herb garden!

There are herb-growing kits available that include many herbs that can be grown year-round in the windowsill such as dill, chives, cilantro, sage, and more; or pick and choose your own.


Basil is a great option, and there are many different types: such as Sweet Italian Bail, Thai Basil – even Lemon Basil. Start from seed (the seeds are very tiny, so you may want to use a wet toothpick to plant) or buy plants from a greenhouse or even your grocery store’s produce section. Be sure to transplant herb plants into larger pots, as the small pots they frequently come in may not allow for proper growth.


Thyme is a great seasoning for beef, chicken, and fish, and grows easily indoors. It can successfully grow in indirect sunlight, which makes it a good option for windows that do not receive direct sunlight for much of the day. Be sure that its soil has proper drainage. Once thyme plants begin to grow in your windowsill herb garden, you can even divide your large plant into smaller plants. This is especially helpful when the plant is outgrowing its pot.


Mint grows well indoors, and is a very hardy herb. Fresh mojitos? Yes, please! Mint is another plant that does well with indirect sunlight. Be sure to keep soil moist, but not wet.


Oregano is used for much more than sprinkling on pizza! In addition to Italian foods, oregano is popularly used in many Mexican and Mediterranean dishes. Oregano requires 6-8 hours of sun a day, and benefits from being pruned, so don’t be afraid to cut and use it.


Parley is frequently used as a garnish, but also adds a unique flavor when used in dishes – my favorite being chicken piccata topped with fresh parsley. Choose from curly or flat-leaf parsley, depending on your preference. Parsley works best when started from seed, rather than transplanting.

The Best Edible Plants to Grow in Your Garden

Tips for Growing a Windowsill Herb Garden

If you have never grown plants indoors, here are a few hints.


Be sure your plants will get enough sunlight. In order to extend the maximum amount of light, consider opening your blinds right before going to sleep, so that your plants get the full morning sun before you wake up. A shady area may not result in successful growth. Be sure to rotate your plants each time you water, to ensure that each side of the plant faces the sun in the window and gets equal light.


Use a quality organic potting soil to plant your herbs. A good compost is also a great medium in which to grow. If you are starting from seeds, be sure to check the seed packet to see how deep each seed should be planted in the soil. Your soil may already have fertilizer in it, but if it does not, there are natural, organic fertilizers in the market. Do not use any chemicals on your plants or in your soil, since your fresh herbs are meant to be consumed.


Be sure to plant your plants in a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom. Over-watering can be just as harmful to plants as not watering enough. Set an alarm for every other day, or plan to consistently water at the same time; for example, water right before breakfast daily. Before watering, check the soil. If the soil feels damp, wait a day to water. If the soil feels very dry, consider watering more often.

Water from below.

Place your plants in a saucer, or even a bowl. Fill the saucer with water, and the soil will absorb the water as needed from below. This may also stretch the amount of time between watering. The leaves do not need to be watered, although it is sometimes necessary to rinse off the leaves when they get dusty. They will collect dust the same as any other item in your home! Quick tip: place your herbs or other houseplants in the shower, and turn on low for a quick rinse.

Don’t overthink it – this can be as easy as grabbing a few herbs from your grocery store’s produce section, and setting them in small dishes in the window to start out. You will likely find that your plant collection grows! Fresh herbs add delicious flavor to dishes, as well as vitamins and minerals. If you are a plant person like me, you will find that they just make you happy!

Kari Smith

Kari Smith is a frequent contributor to Seniors Guide, helping to keep those in the senior industry informed and up-to-date. She's a Virginia native whose love of writing began as a songwriter recording her own music. In addition to teaching music and performing in the Richmond area, Kari also enjoys riding horses and farming.

Kari Smith