6 Best Indoor Herb Gardens For Year-Round Growing
Investing in an indoor herb garden is a great way to ensure you always have fresh flavors in your kitchen. They eliminate the need for store-bought herbs (which often come in plastic packaging) and give your home a bright spot of green. Plus, when you end up with more basil than you've ever seen in your life, they encourage you to tap into your culinary creativity.
We've researched the best indoor herb gardens on the market, and in this article, we'll review our top six picks for any space and budget. You can also find our review of the best indoor grow lights to help you get started.
Our Picks for the Best Indoor Herb Gardens
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - AeroGarden Harvest 360
- Best for Small Spaces - Click and Grow Smart Garden
- Best for Kids - Back to the Roots Water Garden
- Best Soil-Based Kit - Garden Republic Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit
- Best Garden Box - Windowsill Herb Planter Box
- Best Aesthetic - Make Lemonade Indoor LED Planter
Types of Indoor Herb Gardens
When choosing the best indoor herb garden for you, you'll want to consider things like counter space and price point. You'll also need to decide how much effort you want to put into ensuring your seeds grow. There are two main types of indoor herb gardens to choose from — water-based or soil-based. Here's a rundown of what you get with either option:
Hydroponic Indoor Herb Gardens
With a water-based growing system, also called a hydroponic garden, plants grow roots in water rather than soil.
The biggest benefit to having a hydroponic system is that there's less maintenance required. You don't have to worry about overwatering or underwatering (in fact, you don't have to remember to water your plants at all, although you will occasionally need to fill your system's reservoir). There's also virtually no weed or pest control, and many have bright lights built-in, which eliminates the need for a sunny windowsill.
Additionally, plants grow more quickly in a hydroponic environment. According to a professor at Oregon State University, "lettuce grown hydroponically is ready to harvest in 30 days rather than the 60-day cycle it takes when grown in soil."
The downside to a hydroponic indoor herb garden is that upfront costs can be significantly more than those of soil-based gardens. Although many of the water-based systems on the market include everything you need to grow plants successfully — light, nutrients, seed pods, built-in aeration — they can cost well over $100, depending on the size of the garden.
Soil-Based Indoor Herb Gardens
If you are lucky enough to have a green thumb, you can grow herbs indoors using a traditional soil-based system. All you need to get started is a container (preferably one with drainage holes, but even a Mason jar can work in a pinch), soil with a bit of fertilizer and the seeds of any herb you want to grow. All of these items can be picked up at your local garden center for cheap.
However, there's more to indoor gardening with a soil-based system than a hydroponic setup. You should make sure your herbs are getting enough hours of sun, are watered as often as they need to be and don't have any pests or weeds sprouting.
Some herbs prefer different types of soil-based environments than others. For example, Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and bay laurel can tolerate fairly dry soil, so they can go longer between waterings than an herb like basil, which needs to be kept moist. Many popular herbs also need a lot of light, so try placing them near a south-facing window if possible, and prefer temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
6 Best Indoor Herb Gardens
Based on our market research and firsthand use, these are the six best indoor herb gardens available:
aerogarden.comBest Overall: AeroGarden Harvest 360 Indoor Hydroponic Garden
For an all-around easy-to-use indoor herb garden, we recommend the AeroGarden Harvest 360. The countertop hydroponic garden allows you to grow up to six herbs at a time with little effort — all you have to do is set the LED grow light on a timer, fill up your water reservoir and add plant food. As your herbs grow, the AeroGarden will notify you when you need to top off your reservoir or add more food.
The base of the AeroGarden has a pump that allows water to drip onto the top of the seed pods, which helps speed up the germination process. The grow light can be expanded up to 12 inches, so you can adjust it as your plants flourish. It comes with six guaranteed-to-grow herb seed pods (Genovese basil, Thai basil, mint, dill, curly parsley and thyme), as well as a bottle of plant nutrients.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 1,300 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: Can grow six plants at once; No soil; No natural light required; Low maintenance; Comes with six seed pods; Replacement seed pods available
With a basin about the size of a loaf of bread, the Click and Grow Smart Garden is a great option if you don't have enough counter space for an AeroGarden 360. This low-profile hydroponic setup allows you to grow three herbs at once and comes with a plastic insert that allows you to raise the LED light as your plants grow taller.
All Smart Gardens come with a starter pack of three basil plant pods, but a variety of replacement seed pods are available for around $10 per three-pack. These include herbs like rosemary and garden sage, fruits like strawberries and mini tomatoes, and even flowers such as red pansies and petunias.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 1,200 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: Can grow three plants at once; No soil; No natural light required; Low maintenance; Comes with three basil seed pods; Replacement seed pods available
Your little ones will love the Back to the Roots Water Garden, which enlists the help of a betta fish to keep your plants' roots clean. The indoor herb garden has three seed locations and can be set up as an aquaponic or hydroponic system (aka fish or no fish) depending on how big you want your herbs to grow. For example, if you want to cultivate smaller herbs like microgreens, having a beta fish in your water reservoir is a great idea.
The Water Garden comes with everything you need to start cultivating: microgreen seeds, grow stones, fish food and a coupon for $3 off a betta fish at your local Petco. It also includes access to free STEM curriculum on aquaponic and hydroponic ecosystems, so you can educate your kids about the new habitat in their home. However, it doesn't have any built-in light source, so you'll need to keep it in a sunny spot or purchase a grow light separately.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with just under 1,000 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: Can grow three plants at once; No soil; Low maintenance; Self-cleaning; Good for microgreens; Comes with STEM education materials; Certified B Corp
If you want to get your hands dirty, the Garden Republic Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit comes with everything you need to grow fresh herbs in soil. The kit includes burlap grow bags with a waterproof lining, shears, potting soil discs, four types of herb seeds (basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro), bamboo plant markers to remember which seeds you planted in which bags and a wooden box to contain everything.
The only thing this kit doesn't come with is a light source, so you will need to purchase a grow light separately or keep it in a place that receives plenty of natural sunlight. You'll also need to remember to water your herbs regularly so they can thrive in your indoor environment.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,300 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: Can grow four plants at once; Organic, non-GMO seeds; Soil-based; Comes with four types of seeds
The Windowsill Herb Planter Box from Amazing Creations is a great jumping-off point for beginner gardeners. It uses a built-in water reservoir and a series of thick strands to automatically hydrate your plants' roots. Just get some soil, find a sunny spot, plant whatever seeds you like and keep an eye on them — the reservoir may need refilling if the soil gets too dry.
The Windowsill Herb Planter Box comes in a set of three, and you can plant multiple herbs in each box. We recommend grouping your herbs by what type of environment they like — moist, dryer, more or less sunlight, etc. Each herb's preferences should be listed on its seed packet.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with just under 500 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: Can grow multiple plants at once; Come in a set of three; Self-watering; Soil-based
To add a sleek, modern touch to a tiny space, check out the Make Lemonade Indoor LED Planter. This countertop indoor herb garden has a built-in LED grow light, making it great for smaller kitchens and homes that don't get much natural light.
You can fill the planter's base with either soil or water depending on whether you prefer a hydroponic or soil-based setup. It comes with three pods and a lid that can suspend your growing plants in water. The seeds themselves (and soil, if you choose to go that route) are not included, so you'll need to purchase those separately.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with under 200 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: Can grow multiple plants at once; No natural light required; Soil-based or hydroponic
Discover Your Green Thumb With an Indoor Herb Garden
Even notorious plant-killers can manage growing fresh herbs at home with an indoor herb garden. Many hydroponic systems simply require you to plug in a grow light and refill a water reservoir every couple of weeks. Or, you can opt for a soil-based setup if you're able to give your plants a little more TLC. Either way, an indoor herb garden is a great way to add sustainable spice to your kitchen.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.