12 Best Herbs for Indoor Gardens

God's perfect design is reflected in all living things, even herbs. They are delicate yet intricate creations, pleasing to the palate and easy on the eyes. Bring God's fragrant greenery indoors so you can benefit from the flavors, aromas and distinct beauty.

1. Oregano

This slightly unruly, fuzzy herb has an intriguing beauty. Skinny stems stretch toward the sun, as if giving praise for a new day. Give oregano a spot beside a bright east- or south-facing window, and water when soil is dry to the touch. Oregano leaves aren’t just darling—they’re delicious. The flavor hits a peak just before the plant’s small pinkish white buds open. Use this herb fresh, or dry it for a more intense taste. To air-dry, arrange stems in a single layer on a wire rack or basket, or bundle stems and hang them upside down. Oregano is a common ingredient in authentic Italian and Greek cuisines.

2. Mint

Mint is aesthetically captivating, spreading to the edges of its container to create a thriving, sprawling indoor composition. Textured leaves—fuzzy, scalloped or smooth—give mint depth and dimension. Essential oils peak in its leaves just before the plant flowers, so harvest when you spot flower buds. When blooms fade, snip stems back to pot edges. Mint needs full sun and consistently moist soil to flourish. Use leaves straight from the stem, crushing or chopping them to release the refreshing flavor. Choose mint to season salads, or whip up tasty mint sauces for lamb or fish. Freeze individual leaves in ice cubes and add them to drinks for an elegant touch.

3. Basil

Bright and green, basil looks like a happy herb. The sunniest spot in the house will be basil’s favorite place, especially if soil is kept barely moist. Harvest by pinching growing tips; pinching also promotes bushiness. To preserve leaf flavor, remove flower buds as soon as they appear. When added to a dish right after picking, basil’s flavor is best described as a cross between licorice and cloves. Leaves usually go into a pot at the end of cooking. Genovese basil is a good choice for tasty Italian dishes and pesto. Grow Thai basil for Asian recipes and cinnamon basil for Mexican dishes.

4. Chives

Grassy, sleek and trendy as an ingredient in omelets, chives have an onion or garlic taste. Grown along with other plants and herbs, chives add an attractive vertical accent. Flower buds form atop slender stalks. Garlic chives open to reveal clusters of tiny white blooms; onion chives bear lavender blossoms. Both blooms are edible and make a colorful addition to salads and cheese spreads. Chives crave 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight and slightly damp soil. Fresh chives add a subtle depth to the other flavors in a dish. Savor the strongest flavor by sprinkling chopped chives on dishes just before serving.

5. Cilantro

Young cilantro is characterized by its tall stems and sawtooth leaves. As the plant matures, the once-solid leaves become wispy threads. Lovely, white flowers emerge and are edible. Left to set seed, the flowers produce a harvest of coriander. Both young and old plants produce flavorful additions to recipes. Leaves work well in Mexican, Asian or Caribbean cuisines; seeds spice up curries, relishes or pickles.

6. Bay

Simple, elegant bay laurel wreaths were given to winning athletes in ancient times. In the New Testament, Paul and James refer to these wreaths when describing the crowns believers will receive one day. With a slender trunk and broad dark leaves, this herb tree needs bright light, cool air and high humidity. After watering, allow soil to dry before watering again. During summer, position plants to get morning sun. Dried bay leaves infuse an aromatic taste into recipes. Try bay in corned beef and cabbage, or slip under a poultry’s skin before roasting.

7. Thyme

Tiny leaves line thyme’s woody stems, which naturally spread to cover soil and create a full-looking plant. Thyme blossoms—produced at the end of each stem—resemble wildflowers. Thyme does best sitting on a sunny windowsill. Add gravel mulch to soil; allow it to dry out between waterings. Used fresh or dried, thyme pairs well with bay and is a staple in herbes de Provence or a bouquet garni. Strip all leaves from stems before using; do not consume the woody stems.

8. Parsley

Flat-leaf Italian parsley offers straight, slender stems topped with bright green leaves. Flowers signal the end of a plant’s life. Give parsley a sunny window and soil that dries out between waterings. Rich in vitamins and minerals, this herb is savored in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. The taste is bold, offering an anise edge. Stems boast more flavor than the leaves do. Use it in salads, sauces, stocks and stews.

9. Chervil

Delicate fernlike leaves and thin stems give chervil a beautiful silhouette. The feathery green leaves look pretty when grown in a sunny window. Chervil flourishes with bright light and moist soil. Pinch flowers as soon as you spot them. Chervil boasts hints of anise and serves as a key ingredient in fines herbes blend. Use to flavor salad dressings, sauces and cheese. Add snipped chervil to mesclun salads and béarnaise sauces.

10. Tarragon

Long, slender stems and tapered leaves give tarragon a presence indoors. Full sunlight, a deep pot (10 to 12 inches) and rich soil keep tarragon happy. Water when soil is dry one knuckle deep. Just like its beauty, tarragon’s flavor is distinctive. Leaves bring a hint of anise, but it’s not overpowering. Use chopped leaves to season, dressings, sauces or condiments. Tarragon is a natural partner for eggs, fish and chicken.

11. Rosemary

Rows of needlelike leaves lining each stem reveal rosemary’s kinship with the evergreen family. Select an upright or trailing form. In late winter, light purple blooms may open along the stems. Bright light, infrequent watering and moist air are rosemary’s dream conditions. Set plants on a sheltered porch outdoors for summer. Snip stems and strip leaves to flavor marinades, stews and sauces. Rosemary also lends a refreshing quality to beverages and ice cream. Insert stems into baking potatoes or chicken cavities for infused flavor.

12. Sage

Sage unfurls soft, dusty green leaves with an effortless, understated beauty. Sit this herb on a windowsill, and it fills a room with a refreshing, calm aroma. Plants occasionally flower indoors, opening edible purple blooms. To keep the plant producing flavorful leaves, snip off flower stems as they fade. Sage craves very bright sunlight and soil that’s allowed to dry out before being watered again. Pair sage with rosemary, or use it solo to season poultry stuffings, sauces and vegetables. It’s the go-to herb for pork and sausage. Leaves make a tasty garnish when dipped in oil and baked until crisp.

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