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Essential Herbs to Grow for your Kitchen

From mint to basil, fresh herbs can make your daily meals feel like a five-star meal. But buying herbs at the supermarket can be expensive and leave you with more than you need. Backyard gardens limit your pestos to the summer months. For fresh herbs all year round, you’ll need to bring the garden indoors. Growing herbs inside is an easy way to keep ingredients right at hand and add a little bit of greenery to your space. To achieve that perfect combination of beauty and flavor, try purple-leaf Rosie basil, broadleaf thyme, Tarragold tarragon, Corsican mint, purple sage, and scented geraniums. These indoor herb garden ideas will make your home look—and smell—great.

Fresh aromatic herbs: sage, thyme, oregano, mint and santolina

Basil

A critical herb for cuisines around the world and a favorite pairing with tomatoes, and of course on pizza! Basil is easy to grow indoors. Pinch off individual leaves and add to salads, sandwiches and sauce.. Basil loves heat and bright light, so give it a northern or eastern window. Avoid cool, drafty spots, especially in the winter. Basil is not a long-term houseplant. You can expect to keep and use it for several weeks, until the stems start to grow woody. To ensure a steady supply, plant a new batch of seeds every few weeks.

Chives

The spiky leaves of this onion-flavored herb add a mild kick to eggs, soups, and salads, and make pretty garnishes. Start with a purchased plant and pot it in rich, organic soil. Chives grow best in bright light, such as a north-facing window.

Mint

With dozens of flavorful varieties available, you could devote an entire garden to mint. Choose from peppermint, spearmint, apple and more. Snip leaves and sprigs for tea and mixed drinks, salads and desserts. Mint plants usually grow rambunctiously and their trailing, fragrant stems make them attractive houseplants. Keep the soil moist and give them moderate to strong light.

Oregano

A must for Italian, Mexican, Central American and Middle Eastern cuisines, oregano is a member of the mint family. Add to tomato sauces, meat, casseroles, soups and stews. The dried leaves are more pungent than fresh. Grow oregano as you would other mints. Water when the surface of the soil is dry, but don’t let it dry out. Give the plants moderate to strong light.

Parsley

Plain and Italian are best for indoors; the curled varieties grow too slowly. More than just a garnish, parsley adds bright color and flavor to soups, salads and fresh sauces. It’s delicious in pesto, stuffing, chicken and vegetable dishes. Harvest individual leaves by pinching stems off near the base. Grow in a deep pot with rich, organic potting soil and provide strong light.

Rosemary

On a cold, wintry day, the earthy fragrance from a few crushed rosemary leaves can transport you to warmer climates. The needled leaves are among the must-add herbs to chicken, pork, lamb, soups, potatoes and olive oil. It’s also delicious in tomato and cream sauces.. Rosemary tolerates hot, sunny, dry locations in the summer months, but prefers cooler temperatures in the winter, as long as the light is strong.

Thyme

The versatile flavor of thyme — and its many varieties — make it a key ingredient in nearly every cuisine of the world. Its tiny leaves and trailing stems give it natural houseplant appeal, too. Pot thyme in a fast-draining soil mix and place it in a warm, sunny window. Water when the surface of the soil is dry, but don’t let it wilt.

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