No garden? No problem. These herbs do great on a windowsill

Herbs illustration
Fresh herbs make your cooking sing.
(Julia Yellow / For The Times)

Many herbs, including common culinary herbs such as basil and oregano, can be grown on a kitchen windowsill, as long as you have about “four to six hours of sunlight,” said Christy Wilhelmi, author of “Gardening for Geeks.”

Wilhelmi recommends annuals such as parsley, cilantro and basil, which grow well in a sunny window. Chives, thyme, tarragon, mint and other perennials will work if they have enough room to grow.

One is a physician with an active practice in San Diego.

April 19, 2019


Because plants on a windowsill receive sunlight on one side, Wilhelmi recommends using containers that can be rotated.

“I always recommend forgoing the cute tiny pots for something more substantial,” she said. Wilhemi prefers pots that are at least 8 inches in diameter for annuals and larger for perennials.

Although south-facing windows are best for growing herbs indoors, you can use fluorescent grow lights or LED lights for 14 to 16 hours a day.

Herbs grow best in a south-facing window.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The University of California Cooperative Extension recommends the following herbs for indoor gardens:

  • Aloe vera
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Chives
  • Garlic chives
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Scented-leaf geraniums
  • Winter savory
  • Thyme