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The 16 easiest herbs to grow indoors: a beginner’s guide

The 16 easiest herbs to grow indoors: a beginner's guide

Starting an indoor herb garden is a great way for beginners to get into gardening. It’s easy, fun, and you can do it right in your kitchen.

This guide will show you some of the easiest herbs to grow, perfect for a sunny windowsill.

Let’s dig into the world of herbs and spice up your indoor space!


Basil plant in clay pot by window

Basil is perfect for beginners wanting to start an indoor herb garden. It’s easy to grow and a favorite in Italian cooking, especially for dishes like pesto. Basil thrives in well-lit areas, making it ideal for a sunny spot on your kitchen windowsill.

Ideal conditions

  • Basil loves sunlight, so place it where it gets full sun for several hours daily.
  • Prefers well-drained soil.
  • Regular watering is key, but be mindful of the soil’s moisture level.

What to avoid

  • Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
  • Keep basil away from low-light areas to prevent it from becoming leggy.
  • Prune regularly to encourage a bushier and healthier plant.


Oregano plants on a windowsill

Oregano is a must-have for anyone starting an indoor herb garden, especially if you love Greek or Italian cooking. It’s not only easy to grow but also suitable for year-round cultivation indoors, bringing a touch of the Mediterranean to your kitchen.

Ideal conditions

  • Oregano thrives in sunny spots; a sunny window is perfect.
  • It prefers well-drained soil.
  • Regular but moderate watering is ideal, as oregano doesn’t like to be too wet.

What to avoid

  • Be cautious of overwatering to prevent mildew and root rot.
  • Ensure good air circulation around the plant to avoid damp conditions.
  • Avoid placing it in overly shaded areas, as lack of sunlight can weaken the plant.


Rosemary plant in pot on countertop

Rosemary is an aromatic herb that brings a fragrant touch to any indoor herb garden. It’s relatively easy to grow indoors and is a favorite for seasoning meats and in Mediterranean cuisine. Plus, it’s a perennial, so it will come back every year if you take care of it.

Ideal conditions

  • Rosemary needs well-drained soil.
  • It thrives with plenty of sunlight, so a sunny window is ideal.
  • Ensure the plant gets enough air circulation.

What to avoid

  • Be cautious with watering; rosemary prefers drier conditions.
  • Overwatering can lead to root rot, so let the soil dry out between waterings.
  • Avoid low light conditions, as this can weaken the plant and reduce flavor.


Baby parsley plant by windowsill

Parsley is an excellent choice for those new to growing herbs indoors. It’s a culinary herb used in a variety of dishes, from soups and salads to being a fresh garnish. Its versatility and easy-growing nature make it a favorite among beginner gardeners.

Ideal conditions

  • Thrives in both partial shade and full sun.
  • Prefers moist, rich soil.
  • Regular watering to maintain soil moisture, especially in brighter light.

What to avoid

  • Avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
  • Poor drainage can harm the plant, so ensure good drainage in the pot.
  • Be cautious of overcrowding; parsley needs space to grow.

Parsley is a biennial, so it will last you for two years if you don’t re-plant it.


Big chive plant

Chives are an excellent choice for those just starting their indoor herb garden. They’re easy to grow and don’t need much space, making them ideal for small apartments or limited areas. Their mild onion flavor is perfect for garnishing a variety of dishes.

Ideal conditions

  • Chives do well in full sun to partial shade.
  • Prefer well-drained soil.
  • Consistent watering, but they don’t like to be too wet.

What to avoid

  • Be careful not to overwater, as chives don’t like soggy soil.
  • Ensure they get enough light; lack of sunlight can lead to weak growth.
  • Avoid overcrowding in the pot to ensure healthy growth.


Cilantro plants growing in windowsill planter

Cilantro is a unique herb that doubles as a spice (known as coriander when it seeds). It’s a must-have in Mexican, Thai, and Mediterranean cooking. For beginners, cilantro is rewarding because of its fast growth and distinctive flavor.

Ideal conditions

  • Grows best in cooler temperatures.
  • Well-drained soil is essential.
  • Moderate sunlight is ideal, as intense heat can stress the plant.

What to avoid

  • Cilantro can sprout and grow rapidly, so be ready for regular harvesting to prevent bolting.
  • Avoid overwatering; cilantro doesn’t like soggy roots.
  • Make sure it doesn’t get too hot, as this can trigger bolting.


Mint on windowsill

Mint is a delightful herb for beginners, known for its refreshing aroma and ease of growing. It’s ideal for container gardening and can be used in a variety of beverages or as a fragrant ground cover in your indoor garden.

Ideal conditions

  • Suitable for both peppermint and spearmint varieties.
  • Thrives in well-drained soil.
  • Prefers a sunny to partially shaded spot in your home.

What to avoid

  • Mint can grow quickly, so regular pruning is necessary to control its spread.
  • Avoid letting the soil stay too wet to prevent root rot.
  • Be mindful of its invasive nature; container gardening helps manage its growth.


Thyme plant inside a terracotta pot

Thyme is an incredibly versatile herb, perfect for beginners looking to add flavor to a variety of dishes. It’s known for being drought-tolerant, which makes it a great fit for indoor herb gardens where it’s easy to control the growing conditions.

Ideal conditions

  • Thyme loves full sun, so placing it in a sunny window will help it thrive.
  • It prefers well-drained soil and is quite tolerant of dry conditions.
  • Watering needs are minimal, making it a low-maintenance herb for indoor growing.
  • Prune your thyme regularly to encourage new growth.

What to avoid

  • Be cautious not to overwater thyme, as it prefers drier soil.
  • Good drainage is crucial to prevent root rot.
  • Avoid keeping it in too much shade, which can hinder its growth and flavor.


Tarragon plant

Tarragon, with its unique flavor, is a great herb for beginners and a staple in French cooking.

Ideal conditions

  • Prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
  • Well-drained soil is essential.
  • Regular watering, but allowing soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

What to avoid

  • Avoid overwatering, as tarragon does not like wet feet.
  • Poor drainage can be detrimental to its growth.
  • Too much shade can reduce the intensity of its flavor.

Bay laurel

Bay laurel in pot

Bay laurel grows as an evergreen shrub and is easy to care for, making it a great herb for indoor gardens.

Ideal conditions

  • Needs plenty of sunlight, so a bright spot is ideal.
  • Prefers well-drained potting soil and moderate watering.
  • Bay laurel can be grown in a pot, making it suitable for indoor gardening.

What to avoid

  • Avoid overwatering, as bay laurel doesn’t like soggy roots.
  • Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes.
  • Don’t let it become too root-bound; repotting may be necessary as it grows.


Sage growing in a container, top down view

Sage is a wonderful herb for beginners, especially for those who love cooking with fresh herbs. Its aromatic leaves are a staple in many kitchen recipes.

Ideal conditions

  • In the growing season sage needs plenty of sunlight, so a sunny windowsill is perfect.
  • Prefers well-drained soil and moderate watering.
  • Ensure good air circulation around the plant.

What to avoid

  • Avoid overwatering, as sage does not like soggy soil.
  • Poorly drained soil can lead to root rot.
  • Don’t neglect pruning; regular trimming encourages healthy growth.


Close-up of growing dill plant

Dill, known for its feathery leaves, grows in neat bunches and is a favorite among new gardeners, especially for pickling.

Ideal conditions

  • Thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Regular watering is necessary, but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.
  • Prefers cooler growing conditions, making it suitable for a less warm windowsill.

What to avoid

  • Overcrowding can hinder dill’s growth; give it enough space.
  • Avoid too much heat, as it can stress the plant.
  • Be careful not to overwater, as dill doesn’t like overly wet soil.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm leaves next to essential oil bottle

Lemon balm is a charming herb for beginners, known for its pleasant lemony scent. It’s perfect for making teas and using as a fresh garnish in various dishes. Its robust nature makes it a forgiving choice for those new to indoor herb gardening.

Ideal conditions

  • Prefers partial shade but can tolerate some sunlight.
  • Does best in rich, moist soil.
  • Regular watering is needed, but it’s important to not let the soil become waterlogged.

What to avoid

  • Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root issues.
  • Ensure there’s enough room for growth; lemon balm can spread out.
  • Avoid placing it in full sun for long periods, which can stress the plant.


Lemongrass on cutting board

Lemongrass, adaptable to different climates, is ideal for beginners and adds a citrusy flavor to teas and Asian cuisine.

Ideal conditions

  • Prefers full sun to partial shade.
  • Needs well-drained soil and regular watering.
  • Thrives in a warm, humid environment.

What to avoid

  • Avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
  • Don’t place in a too cool environment, as it prefers warmth.
  • Be careful with winter care; it needs to be kept warm and receive enough light. Lemongrass needs several hours of sun daily.


Winter savory blossoming in pot

Savory, known for its peppery flavor, is a great choice for beginners and a perfect herb for adding zest to a variety of dishes.

Ideal conditions

  • Thrives in full sun to partial shade.
  • Prefers well-drained soil and moderate watering.
  • Good air circulation helps keep the plant healthy.

What to avoid

  • Be cautious with overwatering; savory prefers drier soil.
  • Avoid overcrowding, as it needs space to spread out.
  • Protect it from extreme cold if placed near a drafty window in winter.


Potted lavender

Lavender is not only known for its soothing fragrance but also as a beautiful herb that can be grown indoors.

Ideal conditions

  • Prefers full sun – a south-facing windowsill is ideal.
  • Well-drained soil is essential; consider using a sandy mix.
  • Water when the soil is dry to the touch, but don’t overdo it.

What to avoid

  • Avoid overwatering, which is a common mistake with lavender.
  • Poor air circulation can lead to problems, so ensure it’s not in a cramped space.
  • Be careful not to let it become too cold, especially during winter months.


What herb is the easiest to grow?

Basil is often considered the easiest herb to grow, especially for beginners. It’s adaptable, grows quickly, and is very forgiving if you forget to water it now and then.

Which herb is the hardest to grow?

Rosemary can be challenging due to its preference for well-drained soil and specific watering needs. It requires a careful balance of moisture and good air circulation to thrive.

Which herb plant grows the fastest?

Cilantro is known for its rapid growth. Under the right conditions, it can go from seed to harvest in as little as four to six weeks.

What are common pitfalls for beginners?

Overwatering is a common mistake among beginners. Herbs generally prefer well-drained soil and can suffer from root rot if overwatered. Neglecting adequate sunlight is another common issue.

What are some tips for growing herbs indoors on a windowsill?

  • Ensure your herbs get at least six hours of sunlight daily.
  • Use pots with drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil.
  • Water the herbs when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Rotate the pots occasionally to ensure even growth.

Which herbs will grow indoors year-round with minimal effort?

Herbs like chives, thyme, and mint are ideal for growing indoors year-round. They are low-maintenance and can thrive in typical indoor conditions with minimal effort.

For beginners, starting with easy herbs makes the journey of growing your own herbs rewarding and enjoyable. It’s a simple step towards greener living and brings the joy of a herb garden right into your home.

With just a little care, you can enjoy the freshness and flavor of homegrown herbs year-round.

So, pick your favorites from this list, find a sunny spot on your windowsill, and start your gardening adventure today. Happy planting!

Amanda Shiffler
About the author

Amanda Shiffler

With an M.Sc. degree in agronomy and over a decade of experience gardening, Amanda combines her plant knowledge and knack for writing to share what she knows and loves.