For city dwellers, having a garden isn’t always the easiest thing to do when there’s nothing but concrete everywhere you look. This makes it difficult for people who are serious about growing their own food to have access to fresh soil, and enough room to plant a variety of plants. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry! Herbs are a great place to start since they don’t require very much sunlight, and they tend to reproduce on their own. So you can pick off what you need, wait a few weeks and grab a little more when your herbs recover. Here are the top herbs to grow at home, they’re low maintenance, and super easy to maintain.
1. Any Variety of Mint
Whether it’s Spearmint, Peppermint, or any other species, mint is considered an “invasive species.” This means that they’ll take over an outdoor garden if allowed to grow wild. However, it also means that mint is perfect for indoor growing; if you forget to water this herb or fail to place it the sunlight for a few days, it might wilt a little. Once you do though, mint goes right back to normal. You can pick off leaves weekly, and as long as you leave 2 or 3 nodes, you’ll have a fully matured vine again in 5 to 7 days. If you have a roach problem, you can also place mint near the infestation to keep roaches out of sight.
Basil also happens to be an incredibly strong, and fast growing herb. You can use it for pasta sauce, caprese salad, and grilled cheeses with sundried tomatoes. When planting basil, be sure to use the smaller species of the plant, you’ll run out of room fairly quickly with the larger versions of basil. Unlike mint, basil isn’t as tolerant to harsh conditions; this plant needs soil that drains well, it doesn’t like being waterlogged!
This herb not only makes your house smell wonderful, it’s also helpful in repelling moths and silverfish. Rosemary is an incredibly durable herb, unless it’s already been weakened, Rosemary won’t succumb to disease or parasitic invaders. You can use this versatile plant to make butter, soups, salts, and pasta recipes! If you later decide you want a Rosemary plant for your yard, you’ll be happy to know that it grows into a large, easy to pick bush.
Everyone knows how good cilantro is, we see it in plenty of Mexican, Thai, and Indian dishes as a way to create a burst of flavor. However, it’s not all that easy to grow. Cilantro enjoys lots of light, but indirectly; instead of placing it in a window sill, keep this herb in a well-lit room where the sun isn’t bearing down. Water your plant regularly, but don’t overdo it because the roots will likely begin to rot. Get a good sized pot from the beginning, since cilantro has a taproot, it doesn’t enjoy being replanted.
You won’t find an easier herb to grow that onion chives. If you’ve ever left an onion on your kitchen counter and forgot about it for a week or two, you may notice that it’s starting to sprout greens. Chives are definitely a self-sustaining plant and can live for quite awhile without being placed in dirt. However, if you do get a small pot for them, your chives will last for years. Like mint, you can forget to water them for a few days or leave them out of the sunlight, and they’ll just keep growing!
If you live in a colder climate, Lemongrass is definitely an herb you’ll want to grow indoors.This herb is often used in teas, and home-made cosmetics. You can create your own soap, deodorant, and fragrances for yourself, or potpourri in your home. If you have a cat at home, they’ll love the scent of lemongrass, as it gives off similar effects that catnip does!
Thyme is popular in Italian dishes like pasta and pizza, and helps to digest foods that are high in saturated fats. While it’s easy to keep alive, Thyme does need quite a bit more maintenance than other herbs. You’ll have to trim back branches that are producing more wood than foliage, just like you would with a Bonsai tree. Thyme is also a bit finicky with water, you want the topsoil to remain moist, but avoid giving it too much water.
Oregano is essential for tomato sauces and middle Eastern dishes. This herb falls into the mint family, but it doesn’t taste or smell the same way spearmint or peppermint does. oregano enjoys strong light, but you should avoid over-watering. Unlike mint, oregano will wilt and rot if given too much water.
Parsley is a tasty addition to soups, tabouli, and pastas. This herb can grown in both shade and sun, but direct sunlight might cause your parsley to overheat and shrivel up. If you’re looking for the right variety, flat-leaf parsley is a much better option for cooking.
10. Bay Leaves
If you’ve ever eaten a soup and noticed a strange, dark green leaf sitting in the bowl, it’s likely that it was a bay leaf. These herbs aren’t meant to be eaten, but when cooked in food they add a pleasantly robust flavor to the meal. Since they grow on a tree, you have the option of pruning and training the plant the way you would a Bonsai. In fact, you’ll want to be sure you’re maintaining this plant regularly; if not, it can easily outgrow the pot. If you’re a beginner gardener, start off with easier herbs like mint. Work your way up to the more challenging items, such as cilantro, and you’ll be a pro in no time!