By: Laura Miller
Which are the best vegetables to grow indoors? Growing garden vegetables as edible houseplants is not only an ideal solution for those who lack outdoor gardening space, but it can also provide any family with fresh homegrown produce year-round. If this sounds intriguing, let’s look at the most productive and easiest edibles to grow inside the house.
By far, leafy greens are one of the easiest indoor edibles to grow. These fast growing and shallow-rooted veggies require a minimum of four to six hours of direct sunlight and can often be grown in a southern-facing window in the dead of winter. Most leafy greens can be planted four to six inches (10-15 cm.) apart in four inch (10 cm.) tall containers. Here are some excellent leafy edibles to grow inside the house:
Herbs are another one of the edible houseplants which are prolific and easy to grow in a sunny window. Many herbs have attractive foliage and impart a lovely aroma to the room.
A 4-inch (10 cm.) pot will suffice for smaller, leafy herbs. Woody plants, like rosemary, require a larger and deeper planter. Try growing these favorite culinary herbs as fresh indoor edibles:
Root vegetables are another option for easy vegetables to grow indoors. Depending upon the variety, root vegetables generally need a deeper container and may take longer to mature than many leafy greens. Here are popular choices of root vegetables to grow inside the house:
If you have a cooler room with a sunny window, members of the cabbage family can be ideal vegetables to grow indoors. While not difficult to cultivate, days to maturity can range between three and six months.
Production may also be limited to one head of cabbage or one primary broccoli or cauliflower head per pot. Consider these cruciferous culinary favorites:
Fruiting and vining plants are the among the most difficult to grow as edible houseplants. Many of these vegetables require eight to ten hours of sunlight to produce blossoms and fruit. Supplying artificial light is usually required, especially for winter cultivation. Additionally, even self-fertilizing species may need help with pollination.
For the best chance of success, stick with compact varieties or greenhouse cultivars. These varieties grow well in containers and can be quite productive. Use a large planter and limit plants to one per pot. If you’re willing to take on the challenge, try growing these fruiting and vining edible indoor plants:
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Botanical Name: Levisticum officinale
USDA Zone: 3a-7b
Size: 4-6 feet
Lovage is a tall perennial herb native to Europe. Its leaves, roots, seeds, and stems are edible. The plant has a tart, lemony flavor that goes well with soups, stews, tea, salads, and potato recipes.
You can grow this herb in the shade in a warm climate. Use well-drained, sandy, loamy soil with neutral pH for best growth.
Note: Lovage is an excellent companion plant for potatoes and other tubers and root vegetables.
Botanical Name: Allium schoenoprasum
USDA Zone: 3-11
Size: A foot tall
One of the easiest herbs to grow, chives are popularly used in salads and stews. You can grow it in the shade in bright indirect sunlight.
To know how to grow chives all year round, click here.
Botanical Name: Myrrhis odorata
USDA Zone: 4-9
Size: 2-4 feet
Also known as myrrh, sweet chervil, sweet cicely, and garden myrrh, this herbaceous perennial belongs to the celery family. The leaves and seeds are used in baked dishes and desserts. It has a sweet anise-like flavor with hints of celery.
Grow ‘Sweet Cicely’ in well-drained soil. If growing indoors, placing it near a south-facing window will be an apt choice.
Botanical Name: Mentha requienii
USDA Zone: 6-9
Size: A foot tall
Native to Corsica, mainland Italy, and Sardinia, this low-growing mint variety produces bright green leaves with a mint-like aroma. The plant has a strong peppermint-like fragrance and used in salads, teas, and cooked foods or as a garnishing agent.
The ideal placement for this aromatic herb is near any window of your house. You can grow it in moist, well-draining soil.
Botanical Name: Petroselinum crispum
USDA Zone: 4-11
Size: A foot tall
One of the most famous herbs, parsley can tolerate shade if the temperature is warm. It elevates the taste of soups, sauces, and vegetables with its fresh and earthly flavor.
To know in detail how to grow parsley, check out our article here.
Botanical Name: Wasabia japonica
USDA Zone: 7-10
Size: 2-3 feet
Wasabi belongs to the mustard family of herbs and native to Japan. This herb is famous for its use in a paste (from ground rhizomes) served with sushi. The mature green leaves are used in ‘Ohitashi‘ while young leaves are ideal for sandwiches and salads.
Grow wasabi in an area where the plant is protected from direct sun. For more information, click here.
Botanical Name: Artemisia dracunculus
USDA Zone: 4b-8
Size: 2-3 feet
If you love French food, you should know that tarragon is one of the four ingredients of classic french seasoning mix Fines Herbes that also includes parsley, chives, and chervil.
Tarragon can be grown in part shade if the spot you’re placing it receives some morning sun.
Botanical Name: Angelica archangelica
USDA Zone: 4-6
Size: 3-6 feet
An excellent medicinal herb, you can also use it in the kitchen. Both its leaves and stems are used for cooking. It offers an earthy bitter-sweet taste, which is somewhat similar to celery.
This biennial herb does well in moist, fertile soil. Keep it in a canopy of trees in the garden to provide dappled shade.
Bok choy, Bok Choi or Chinese cabbage is a green vegetable widely consumed in many Asian countries. Can be eaten raw, in salad and cooked. It contains lots of vitamins and minerals. To regrow again, cut the base of the stem and place this in a small bowl of water. It’s that simple! You will see how the new growth begins in only 2 days. See the tutorial! Either use the young leaves or transplant the regrowing Bok Choi in a container.
Canned and frozen green beans are nowhere as crunchy as fresh ones. Instead of settling for a side dish of mushy green beans, grow them yourself.
Green beans grow incredibly fast, and you’ll have a harvest before you can see it coming. Since they grow very tall, consider placing some wooden skewers in the pot to support them as they grow.
When they’re ready to be plucked from the dirt, you’ll see their heads poking through the soil.
You may not think it’s easy to grow carrots indoors, and that’s because they grow so far underground.
In reality, your pot can be as shallow as twelve inches, and you’ll still manage to pull up plump and crisp carrots.
Try experimenting with different breeds of carrots, because there isn’t a large variety of this vegetable at the supermarket.
You’ll never find a purple carrot in the produce aisle, and it could be fun to grow some on your own.
Mold grows easily in homes, and so do edible fungi. Mushrooms, which are great for anyone trying to watch their weight and add more fiber to their diet, are among the easiest things to grow on your own.
They need to be kept in damp darkness, so you can place your pot just about anywhere. Even if the interior of your home doesn’t have very much sunlight, you can still fetch a bountiful mushroom crop.
Just make sure they stay wet enough, and they’ll sprout before you know it.
Kale can be used in a variety of ways. You can even toast it in the oven to make low-calorie potato chips.
Great for salads, wraps, and sandwiches, kale is one of the lowest maintenance plants you can grow indoors. Most kale will begin to sprout within a weeks’ time.
Try using it to replace spinach in some of your favorite recipes, because they generally serve the same purpose.
We use tomatoes for everything.
Cut up on sandwiches and in salads, to make sauces and condiments, and as an addition to soups and stews.
Tomatoes have long been known as one of the best vegetable plants to grow indoors. So there is a good reason to use this in your favor.
Growing vegetables indoors already saves you a ton of money, but you’ll really see the savings when you grow your own tomatoes.
As long as you give the vines something to climb, you’ll be producing robust tomatoes on your own. Try preserving them with citric acid and canning them.
That will prevent any excess crop from going to waste.
Bell peppers, or capsicum peppers, are excellent for indoor growing. Outdoors, they go out of season quickly.
When you grow them inside, you can grow them for longer. Having better control over the conditions surrounding your plant, you’ll be able to harvest them at the peak of freshness.
When you harvest from a pepper plant at its prime, that will encourage the plant to produce more peppers on its own. It’s like a perpetual motion machine of freshness.
Bell peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin C, so keeping fresh ones on hand can help you take care of your immune system.
If you’re worried you don’t have a green thumb, you won’t have to worry about beets. They’re very hardy and can grow in nearly any condition.
Rich in precious minerals and vitamins, beets are incredibly great for your body. Grow some indoors and work these beautiful gems into your diet.
Beet salads are becoming trendier by the minute for being both delicious and nutritious.
You’d be astonished at how quickly radishes are ready to eat. They’re a great way to add spiciness to your meal without sacrificing the healthfulness of your lunch or dinner, and they pop up like crazy.
While they may be an acquired taste for some, they’re difficult to mess up for first time indoor gardeners. If you’re looking for test vegetables, radishes are an excellent way to do a trial run of your indoor growing conditions.
Scallions, sometimes known as green onions, are an excellent spice or garnish. Their flavor, similar to an onion, complements a variety of dishes.
Indoors, scallions can grow throughout the calendar year as long as they’re getting enough light. In two to three months, your scallions will be ready to harvest.
Try cutting them, and leaving one to two inches of scallion above the soil. This will allow the plant to sprout again.
Ginger is often touted as a superfood, known to lend itself to a variety of health benefits.
Since it’s a simple root, it’s easy to grow at home. Growing a large amount of ginger once a year keeps things even simpler, as the root can be ground, dried, and used all year long.
Simply planting a chunk of rhizome with a sufficient amount of growth buds on it can yield a lot of ginger at any time of year.
While you can’t grow ginger outside in the winter, you can grow it indoors at any time.