Winter usually marks the end of fresh local produce (especially if you live in the Northern hemisphere). But what if you could grow some plants indoors without the hassle of mud and planters?
Well, fortunately for you, the answer to that question is yes. There are over 10 herbs you can grow indoors all winter long, and even without mud (how cool is that?). As a bonus, they make as an attractive addition to any windowsill or desk.
Herbs that root in water and grow throughout winter are perennial herbs. Annual herbs typically only grow one season, produce seeds, and then die (1). Perennials will keep coming back, as long as you pinch off the older leaves as they grow to full size.
Growing Herbs Indoors
Growing herbs indoors in water isn’t as difficult as when you’re trying to grow vegetables or fruit indoors.
Unless otherwise noted, full plants can be rooted from whole leaves with the base intact or from trimmed stems. You can start with herb plants from your garden, or even perennial herbs from the grocery store. Make sure the stems are 6 inches long, and remove the leaves from the bottom 4 inches of the stems. If using herbs from the grocery store, cut the very bottom of each stem to allow them to absorb more water.
Place the herb stems in glass jars (opaque is best) filled with water (not distilled) and place them in a spot where they get bright direct light for at least 6 hours each day.
Clip each leaf as it grows to full size to encourage the stem to produce more leaves at the top. This will also allow the stem to grow for months at a time.
Some of the easiest and most popular herbs grown in water are:
Makes a great pain-relieving supplement, moderates blood sugar levels, and is a potent antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal (2). It is very easy to grow in water, when following the basic instructions above.
Take a few sprigs in the spring (or end of season) from an outdoor plant and place in shallow water. It will quickly sprout roots! Sage does not like to be crowded, and likes plenty of air space for prevention of mildew. Leaves should not touch the water. Sage inhibits the inflammatory response in the body (3), and is great for treating things like arthritis, bronchial asthma and atherosclerosis.
Grows quickly and easily. It is wonderful for relieving digestive upset and can soothe irritable bowel syndrome quite fast (4). It can relieve stress, nausea, inflammatory conditions, and headache pain!
Similar to peppermint, spearmint grows quickly. Spearmint contains anti-androgenic properties that helps improve individuals suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) (5). It also tastes quite lovely.
Oregano grows similar to basil in that in order for it to grow, you should pinch off top maturing leaves to stimulate new growth. Oregano has been found to be superior to prescription antibiotics, working as an effective antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and antioxidant (6).
6. Lemon Balm
Change the water of this place once a week to prevent root rot. This wonderful smelling herb helps repel mosquitoes (they don’t like the smell of it), and it also reduces anxiety (7), heals cold sores, and aids digestion!
Keep this plant moist by giving it a spritz of water every once in awhile (otherwise it’ll dry out). Thymol found in thyme, is known to kill cancer cells, as well as lower blood pressure, prevent tooth decay, ease stomach disorders and kill bacteria and fungi (8, 9).
This popular natural sweetener is best grown at home to avoid genetically modified organisms and pesticides. Stevia helps reduce the desire for nicotine (to help stop smoking), because there is a link between sugar and nicotine cravings. Be sure to keep this plant in a warm area as it does not like the cold.
This plant has thick stems, so it takes a while to grow roots, but it takes very well once going, and placed in a sunny window. It has a sharper taste fresh than dried, and is known to improve memory and cognitive function, stimulate hair growth and prevent inflammation (10).
Tarragon likes warm, sunny spots to grow in. It helps to moderate blood sugar, treat metabolic syndrome and acts as a strong antibacterial agent (11).