The 7 Best Indoor Herb Gardens
Fresh herbs are an undeniable delight, even if you don't channel Ina Garten on a daily basis. But they often end up half-used or forgotten in the back of the fridge. The best indoor herb garden will bring bold, fresh flavor to your kitchen, in just the amount you need.
To help find the perfect grow setup for your space, consider the following factors.
Find Your Best Light
Herbs require about six hours of sunshine per day. A window with southern exposure is ideal since it provides the most consistent amount of sunlight year-round, but that’s not always available, especially for apartment-dwellers. Enter: LED grow lights, which have come a long way from what your college roommate hid in their closet. Look for a full-spectrum grow light, which means that it mimics natural sunshine, including wavelengths that are invisible to the human eye (essential for happy plants).
Make Sure There’s Drainage
It’s all too easy to over-water herbs, and their roots will actually start to rot if left in soggy soil for a long time. Most planters have drainage holes at the bottom for this purpose, and you’ll want to make sure there’s a tray underneath so you don’t ruin your tabletop or floor. This is less of a concern for hydroponic or self-watering systems that do the work for you, but checking the soil drainage yourself every so often can help prevent accidental herbicide.
Survey The Terrain
Most indoor herb garden kits are designed for tabletops and windowsills and should take up a relatively small amount of space. If countertop real estate comes at a premium, consider a hanging planter. Also take into account your lifestyle — if you have an unparalleled ability to forget to water plants, say hello to hydroponics or self-watering options. Or if you have children (real or pet) that might take it upon themselves to “liberate” your parsley, an adhesive window garden could be the solution. (Tip: The ASPCA has a list of plants that can be harmful to pets if you want to be extra careful.)
Green thumbs may just need a few seeds and some pots to get started, whether you're growing basil or more medicinal herbs like echinacea. With all that in mind, it's time to shop. All of the options below come highly rated on Amazon and have made many into happy plant parents.
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1. The Overall Best: A Self-Watering Indoor Herb Garden Kit With An LED light
The "Kuerig" of indoor herb gardens uses three dedicated non-GMO seed pods in pre-measured doses of soil that are designed to sit in a reservoir beneath an adjustable full-spectrum LED grow light. The result? It promises to grow plants up to five times faster than traditional planters and eliminates all of the guesswork so you can enjoy fresh herbs without having to become a gardening pro. The clear panel lets you see when it's time to add water, and the grow light has its own automatic timer. It will even remind you to add plant food or top off the water. It includes basil, parsley, and dill, but you can pick up additional seed pod kits, and even refillable seed pods if you prefer to use your own.
If you're looking for a bigger option to grow more seed varieties at once, you can also consider this larger self-watering indoor herb garden with a light that lets you plant up to ten different herbs.
2. This Organic Herb Kit That’s Perfect For Your Kitchen Windowsill
This cute herb garden kit skips the bells and whistles, like lights and reservoirs, but still comes with all the essentials you need to grow five classic culinary herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, and thyme. It includes seed starter tubes, soil discs, cute little plant markers (especially help to tell Italian parsley from cilantro) and compostable peat pots that come with a drainage hole. All of it — from seeds to soil — is USDA certified organic and non-GMO, and shoppers were impressed by the level of care that went into, well, even the dirt: "Opening the kit was similar to unboxing an Apple product," one reviewer raved. Another was thrilled to report that it was user-friendly even for beginners, "The detailed instructions made it very easy for me to set everything up and plant the seeds...I checked on them so many times just to look at how adorable they were!"
3. This Innovative Herb Garden That’s Also Home To A Fish Friend
If you enjoy indoor gardening for the mental health benefits as much as the culinary, this small indoor herb garden with a fish tank creates a miniature ecosystem that's so soothing to look at. It comes pre-seeded with organic microgreens, but shoppers note that you can also grow herbs, orchids, or even bamboo. It requires less cleaning than a traditional aquarium, and it makes a great tool for teaching kids, since the fish fertilizes the plants and the plants clean the water. The kit includes a Petco coupon for $3 off one beta fish. That said, it's not completely maintenance-free. It lacks a grow light, so you'll need an area with enough natural light for the herbs — and you still need to look after the fish and clean the tank occasionally to make sure everything is running smoothly.
4. A Budget-Friendly Self-Watering Planter That’s Great For Beginners
If light isn’t a problem for you but you find yourself forgetting to add water (or you're away from home frequently) this self-watering herb planter will keep your plants quenched. The Aquaphoric Tub Planter controls the balance of water and oxygen by drawing from a reservoir beneath the soil, so your plants get the water they need. One satisfied customer noted, "The tubs works and I only need to refill the water every two weeks." To know when it's time to refill, it has a dedicated water level indicator on one corner.
This pick comes with a bag of the brand's high-fiber soil — which is both a blessing and a curse. Their speciality blend is formulated to control water balance, so regular potting soil might not work as well. If you prefer to use your own, they recommend using their fiber soil just on the bottom and sides for the best of both worlds. The one caveat: there are no seeds (or grow light) included with this planter.
5. An Adhesive Window Garden Kit For Those Short On Space
An adhesive window garden capitalizes on natural sunshine and frees up space — plus, since the planting tray is clear acrylic, you get to watch your plants grow above and below ground (although there's no drainage, so be careful not to overwater!). The microgreens bundle includes the tray, a double "veg ledge" shelf with sturdy suction cups so you can easily reposition it, premeasured soil pucks, and five different types of microgreen seeds that grow in just ten days. (Just FYI: success with this kit will come from picking the right window, to ensure your plants are getting enough light.)
6. A Medicinal Garden Starter Kit That’s Perfect For Herbal Tea Enthusiasts
This medicinal herb garden starter kit comes with everything you need to start growing your own herbs for tea and tinctures. You get non-GMO seeds for six therapeutic flowering herbs including chamomile, lavender, echinacea, calendula, coneflower, and yarrow for a garden that's pretty as well as practical. The kit includes a tray with a humidity dome, a drip tray for drainage, soil pucks, and seed labels for starting new seeds the old-fashioned way. It also comes in a box that's perfect for gifting. "I have recently developed a mild obsession with herbal tea and wanted to grow my own, but with so many things to choose from, I didn't know what to get," one shopper explained. "This kit was the perfect starting place." Just note you'll eventually need to repot your seedlings to a larger home, and this pick does not come with a grow light.
7. This Modern Tiered Ceramic Planter For Vertical Gardens
A tiered ceramic planter, with a handcrafted braided cord, is a decorative take on the hanging herb garden. With this elegant option from Mkono, you can mount it next to a window without drilling tons of holes for a shelf. Several shoppers were pleased to discover that each tier has a drainage hole to prevent drowned plants, and plugs so you don’t have to worry about leaks when you water. "I like this hanging pot way more than I thought I would," one reviewer remarked, commenting on the durable materials and solid construction. "I don’t fear them falling even with the additional weight from the plant, soil and water." For this pick, you'll have to supply the seeds, as well as a light source.
Also Nice: A Small Indoor Grow Light That Blends Into Any Space
If you determine you need a separate grow light, this small, full-spectrum LED grow light looks more like a lampshade than a gaudy garden tool, which makes it ideal for indoor living spaces. Despite its small size, it has an automatic smart timer for 16 hours of faux daylight and eight hours of shuteye so you don’t have to program it before leaving for work. It gets its power via USB and comes with an outlet adapter plug, so your tiny garden can thrive on your desktop or your countertop.