What Herbs Grow Well on a Window Sill?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:25 pm

If you don’t want to do without aromatic greenery at home, you are well advised to use herbs for the windowsill. However, not all species that succeed in the bed and balcony box are suitable for year-round indoor cultivation. But with the right selection, the spicy abundance is amazingly diverse.

Herbs for the windowsill provide fresh greenery without a balcony

What Herbs Grow Well on a Window Sill?

Fresh herbs are the icing on the cake for any dish – whether savoury or sweet. Many garden and balcony owners like to grow their own herbs. That way, you know exactly what’s in them, and it’s easy on the wallet. But not everyone has this option. What remains is to grow the fresh greenery on the windowsill. We would like to introduce you to herbs for the windowsill.

Why do herb pots from the supermarket only last with difficulty?

What Herbs Grow Well on a Window Sill?
If your supermarket herbs die at home, it’s not necessarily because you don’t have a green thumb.

Everyone has certainly experienced that pots of basil, chives and the like bought in the vegetable department do not last very long. This is not necessarily due to a lack of green fingers. Such supermarket herbs are grown under optimal conditions, but from transport, later on in the shop and then at home, their living conditions change completely. This stresses and exhausts them so much that the faded plants usually die after one or two weeks. Therefore, they should be consumed as soon as possible – because what is the point of harvesting sparingly and throwing them away at the end barely used?

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Herbs from the garden shop are better suited for the windowsill

If you want to harvest your herb pots all year round, you should buy the plants from a specialist garden shop. These are not intended for short-term consumption, but for planting out in the bed or in the balcony box. Understandably, not all of these herbs are also suitable for year-round cultivation on the windowsill. Herbs from specialist garden shops are better suited to the windowsill.

Species that can cope with little light, warmth and stagnant air are recommended. For example, it is usually much too warm for chives, parsley and thyme in the room.

The right herbs for the windowsill

How about coriander (Coriandrum sativum) instead? Admittedly, you have to like the very special taste of the “Asian parsley”. Indoor garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) can also be kept well on the windowsill. You can use the finely chopped leaves of the evergreen amaryllis plant like chives. And the flower is also very attractive. So if you organise this herb for your windowsill, you can also enjoy pretty purple splashes of colour.

What Herbs Grow Well on a Window Sill?
The leaves and flowers of indoor garlic offer a fine garlic aroma, without the annoying “plume” afterwards

Tip: The closer the roots of the indoor garlic are to the pot, the more abundant the flowering. If they have plenty of space, the leaf growth is vigorous.

Jamaica thyme (Coleus amboinicus) is also highly recommended. Its large, succulent leaves taste mildly of thyme. A classic among the herbs for the windowsill is basil (Ocimum). But instead of reaching for Genovese basil, as always, which is not particularly well suited to prolonged cultivation, try your hand at one of the many other varieties such as the robust and even perennial ‘African Blue’ or the cinnamon basil (Oncimum basilicum var. cinnamomum), which scores with its sweet, strong cinnamon aroma. And ‘Red Curly’ adorns itself with large, dark red, curly leaves. It is said to have the best aroma among all red-leaved varieties.

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What Herbs Grow Well on a Window Sill?
Cinnamon basil comes from Mexico. It is one of the hardy varieties and has a strong cinnamon aroma.

Overwintering herbs on the windowsill

It takes a little more effort to bring the herbs through the winter. On the one hand, the plants are affected by the dry air from the heating system, and on the other hand, the ratio of heat and light is not right. If the light intensity is low and the room temperature high (around 20 °C), the plants will have soft, long shoots with light-coloured, small or no leaves.

What Herbs Grow Well on a Window Sill?
The sweet herb (Stevia rebaudiana) likes it light, well moist but not waterlogged

Move the herbs away from the windowsill, under which the heating is rumbling, to a window in a bright room that is about 10 to 15 °C cool. Special plant lights are also helpful. Otherwise, you can also try microgreens, regrowing or regular reseeding. And the “consumable herbs” mentioned at the beginning are also a good alternative.
Fresh green from the windowsill in summer and winter

Regrowing is the trend of growing new plants from vegetable waste. This works very well with spring onions. To do this, let the root pieces take root in a glass of water and then transplant them into growing soil. Soon the root pieces will continue to sprout and can be harvested after just a few weeks.
Microgreens are just as popular at the moment: You sow selected leafy herbs and vegetables close together in shallow containers. Harvest when the cotyledons and first leaves have developed.
Growing basil from seed is not easy, but it works well over the heating in the kitchen window. As light germinators, do not cover the seeds with soil. A cover of cling film protects them from drying out. 
Mint cuttings placed in water quickly develop roots and continue to grow quite well. In winter, you can provide for yourself in this way for a while. Do not forget to change the water regularly.
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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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