Cooks around the globe grow their own herb gardens in order to have the freshest ingredients in the dishes they prepare. Another way to enhance the cooking experience is to bring the herbs right into the kitchen for even easier access and fresh herbs throughout the year. Annual herbs are the best choice for indoor potted herbs, but some perennials also do well when grown indoors.
Basil, Sweet (Ocimum basilicum)
Grow sweet basil in a pot placed in a very warm, sunny spot and harvest often to keep the plant from becoming too large and leggy. Keep fertile soil moist for healthier basil plants. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out between watering. Sweet basil is an annual that grows to 24 inches tall.
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Add chervil, often called French parsley, to everything from hot soups to medicinal tea. It should be planted in a pot that allows good drainage and set in a window where the sun has been diffused by a shade tree or other similar object. Chervil is an annual that grows to 15 inches tall and can be harvest when it reaches 4 to 5 inches tall. Harvest this herb often for best flavor. Once it begins to flower, the leaves are not as flavorful and the plant will begin to fail. Replace the failing plant with a newly sprouted seedling.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Chives are one of the best herbs to grow indoors because it will grow in a small pot right on the kitchen windowsill. The wonderful thing about growing chives indoors is how easy they are to harvest, just clip them with scissors as needed and the plant will renew itself by growing new leaves very quickly. Allium schoenoprasum is a perennial herb that only reaches approximately 8 inches tall. Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are as easy to grow and harvest as common chives with the extra punch of garlicky flavor. Garlic chives grow a bit larger to approximately 12 inches tall and their leaves are flat and thin when compared to the common chives leaves that are round and hollow.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is another flavorful, easy to grow herb that compliments a myriad of foods. Place potted lemon balm where it will receive full sun most of the day. The planting medium should be fertile and kept moist; do not allow it to dry out. Lemon balm is a perennial that grows to 24 inches tall.
Thyme, English (Thymus vulgaris)
Considered the all-around perfect herb by many cooks due to its multitude of uses on everything from red meat and poultry to fruit and tea, English thyme is a must-have pot herb. English thyme is a hardy perennial that grows to approximately 12 inches tall. Leaves can be harvest frequently. Harvest before flowering begins for the most flavorful leaves.