Courtney Craig

Nothing brightens up your apartment like a few houseplants – not only for pretty décor, but for cleaning your indoor air as well. But you need an outdoor garden if you want to grow anything edible, right?


Think again! Even if you don’t have outdoor soil to plant in, you can still grow your own edible plants with a windowsill herb garden. Small herbs grow well in individual pots or long, narrow troughs that you can place right on your windowsill, where they’ll get plenty of sunshine.

Best of all, when you’re cooking a delicious dish that calls for a dash of rosemary, you can just reach right over and snip off a sprig. It’s good for your health, the planet and your dinner.

Ready to get planting? Here’s how to do it.

Prepare your windowsill

1. Make sure you get plenty of sun. When planting a container herb garden, job number one is figuring out how much sunlight your windowsill gets. Any edible plant needs a lot of sun all day long in order to produce the delicious leaves or sprigs you’ll enjoy. Observe your window on a day that you’re home a lot and make note of how much sunlight shines on the windowsill at different hours of the day. If you get full sun, you’re in business.

Basil is easy to grow in an indoor pot.
Basil is easy to grow in an indoor pot.

2. Decide what kind of containers you want. Do you want each herb in its own pot, or one long trough to hold everything? Either way is fine, but if you go with the trough, remember not to crowd your plants – follow the instructions on the plant label about how far apart to space them. Although they’ll seem far apart when you first plant, they’ll fill the space soon enough.

3. Protect your windowsill. Place something under your pots or trough to catch the water and dirt that’ll drain out the bottom. A sheet of cork or terra cotta saucer would work well.

More tips on indoor gardens from the AG Blog:

Herbs that grow well on windowsills

Basil: Delicious in pasta sauces, basil needs six to eight hours of sun per day. It grows best in moist but well-drained soil.

Sage: Although commonly used in rubs or infused in butter, sage is worth growing just for its delicious aroma. It likes a sunny spot with well-drained soil.

Thyme: Also a very fragrant herb, thyme prefers a dry, gritty soil and a lot of drainage.  There are many varieties of this herb, but a favorite is lemon thyme, which adds a fresh citrus flavor to any dish.

Oregano: One of the easiest herbs to grow, oregano only needs a moderate amount of water and plenty of room to spread.

Rosemary: This woody-stemmed herb gets two to three feet tall, so make sure you’ve got plenty of vertical space for it. Water lightly.

Parsley: It’s not just a garnish – parsley is often used in pastas, salads and all sorts of other dishes. It’s pretty hardy, growing well in windowsills even if you get a bit more shade.

Chamomile: A popular ingredient in tea, chamomile is also pretty – its flowers bear a striking resemblance to daisies. It likes sun, but will also tolerate some shade.

Even though they’re not herbs, other types of plants – small cacti, gardenias, geraniums and even certain vegetables – can be grown indoors under the right conditions. Do your research and start planting, and soon you’ll have an edible garden right at your fingertips.

What are your favorite plants to grow indoors?

Image credits: Shutterstock / CBCK, sergign




About The Author

Courtney Craig is an editor and writer for the Apartment Guide Blog. She rented apartments for 12 years in 4 cities before buying her first house in Atlanta. Find Courtney on Google.