Edible plants are a smart way to add greenery to your home while also growing your own fresh food. Having homegrown food onhand saves you money on your grocery bill, improves the flavor of your dishes, and encourages healthy eating. We’ve curated a lengthy list of easy-to-grow plants you can add to your home any time of the year.
Indoor Plants You Can Eat
The Bay Laurel is an evergreen shrub that grows well both indoors and outside. The leaves are used whole to flavor soups, stews, and sauces. The plant grows to a height of between 4 to 8 feet (1.2 to 2.4 meters) tall indoors. This edible plant prefers a place near a sunny window, especially in the winter. The shallow roots system requires regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist, but never soggy.
Average household temperatures are adequate for the Bay Laurel, but low humidity needs supplementing by frequent misting of the leaves. Harvest the leaves, as needed, any time of the year. Use the leaves fresh, or dry them in a dehydrator for longer storage.
Stevia is an edible plant used as a natural, low-calorie alternative to sugar. This tender perennial grows to a height of between 1 to 2.5 feet (30.4 cm to 0.76 meters) tall. Provide a minimum of 6 hours, but as much as 10 hours, of sunlight from a South or West-facing window per day.
Water your Stevia plant when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry. Water until the soil is moist, but not soggy. Maintain temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit ( 21 to 29.4 Celsius) during the day, and not below 50 F (10 C) at night. To harvest, use shears to harvest Stevia leaves regularly. Use fresh or dry in a dehydrator.
The Black Pepper Plant is a perennial vine that produces one of the most popular spices in the world. As far as plants that are edible, the peppercorns this plant produces will be used for countless dishes. Provide at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day from an East or West-facing window.
Allow the soil’s surface to dry between waterings, then water until the soil is moist but not soggy. Harvest your pepeporns based on the flavors you want. Pick them green for an earthy, citrus taste. Blush or red gives a stronger flavor, while letting the peppercorns mature and dry to black gives the most traditional pepper taste.
Scented Geraniums are plants you can eat that also look like a traditional houseplants. The plant produces essential oil, like most culinary herbs, lending a scent and flavor to the plant. Provide full sun from an East or West-facing window and water when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry.
There are a wide variety of varieties to choose from, each with their own unique flavor and scent. Choose from chocolate, cinnamon, apple, and more. Snip or pinch the leaves as needed to use in salads, soups, and more. Fresh is best, offering the most intense flavor.
Indoor Fig Plant
These fast-growing plants you can eat give you delicious figs right in your own home. The plant begins to produce figs four to six years after a cutting is started. There are several varieties to choose from, all preferring at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day from an East or West window.
Let the top 1 to 2 inches of soil dry between waterings, and add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to help retain moisture. Harvest your figs when the fruit feels soft. The color of ripe fruit depends on your variety–either a greenish-yellow or a purplish-brown.
This edible plant comes in many varieties and provides a delicious fruit enjoyed for its tart and sour taste. You’ll need a trellis to support this vining plant that grows between 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) tall. On average, water twice per week during the growing season and once per week in fall and winter.
Harvest your Passionfruit when the color is right. For varieties that start out green, wait until the fruit turns orange. For yellow fruit, they’re ripe once they turn purple or dark brown. Wrinkled skin is another sign the fruit is ready to pick. The fruit lasts roughly two weeks in the fridge, or can be scooped out and frozen.
The Dragonfruit is a fast-growing vine that produces a delicious and colorful fruit. Use a trellis in your pot to support this edible plant that may reach 20 feet (6 meters) tall. Six to eight hours of sunlight per day encourages fruit growth. Supplement with a LED grow light if needed.
Unlike many plants that are edible, Passionfruit is slightly drought tolerant due to its water-storing branches. Water when the soil’s surface feels dry during the spring and summer, less in the fall and winter. The fruit is ripe when it turns bright pink, usually 30 to 40 days after planting.
Rosemary is one of the most popular edible plants, its leaves lending its signature, savory flavor to a wide variety of dishes. This Mediterranean shrub prefers full sun for at least six hours per day. Use a LED grow light to supplement low lighting if needed. Let the soil almost completely dry between waterings. It is better to underwater Rosemary than overwater, which weakens the flavor.
Regular misting helps the needle-like leaves stay hydrated and flavorful. Cut the woody stems to encourage new growth. Regular harvesting results in a bushier plant. Use the leaves fresh for the best flavor, but the leaves can be dried and stored as well. Remove the leaves from the woody stems, and use the stems as skewers for a hint of flavor to kabobs.
Plants you can eat and enjoy for their showy blooms are doubly delightful. Use the flowers of this beautiful plant in teas, jellies, and even relish. The large flowers are encouraged when the plant receives at least six hours of full sun per day. A South or West-facing window is ideal.
Water the Chinese Hibiscus regularly to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, during the growing season. In winter, let the soil dry out almost completely between waterings. Pick the flowers as needed and use them both fresh or dried. Make a quick Hibiscus tea by steeping the flowers in boiled water.
The Tea Plant is a shrub whose leaves are used in the popular hot drink enjoyed around the world. The plant grows to a height of between 3 to 7 feet (1 to 2 meters) tall. The plant prefers full sun from a South or Southwest window. Water the plant regularly to keep the leaves hydrated and potent.
Feel free to move your Tea Plant outside in the summer but bring the plant back inside before frost hits. When you harvest your tea leaves will depend on what flavor you want. To make green tea, pick the leaves at the top of the plant, which receive the most sun. The largest, most mature leaves will make traditional back tea, while white tea is made from tender leaves that have not fully opened yet.
This edible plant is a bush that produces delicious, little cherries rich in vitamin C. The fruit forms once blooms, that appear from spring to fall, expire and begin to produce the fruit. Bright, indirect sunlight is best for the Barbados Cherry as direct sunlight will scorch the plant’s foliage.
Water once the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry to keep the fruit and plant healthy. Pick the fruit once each turns from yellow to a bright red. Ensure you harvest the fruit before it falls off the plant for peak freshness. The cherries will keep for three to four days after harvest.
Key Lime Tree
Key limes are a smaller, more tart version of the popular, Persian limes. The plant grows to a height of between 3 to 5 feet (90 cm to 1.5 meters) and produces the delicious fruit during the summer. Give this edible plant at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Keep temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit ( 19 to 24 Celsius) and humidity above 40%. Limes are picked technically before they are ripe. Harvest the fruit when it’s green and tasty, not yellow and bitter. Smooth, shiny skin is an indication of a juicy fruit ready for harvest.
Dwarf Banana Tree
While the Dwarf Banana Tree is technically not a tree, it will produce delicious bananas to enjoy. Even dwarf varieties can still grow up to 30 feet (9.2 meters) tall, so it will need a large pot and plenty of floor space to grow. Provide approximately 12 hours of indirect sunlight, either natural, artificial, or a combination of the two.
Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, and mist the leaves regularly to keep the plant healthy. Fruit will be ready for harvest between 15 to 18 months after planting. Pick the bananas when the fruit is still green, but the fingers are well-rounded between the fruit’s ribs. Hang the fruit in a shady spot to ripen before eating.
The Dwarf Pomegranate grows well indoors, topping off at approximately 2 feet (61 cm) tall. The fruit is prized for its sweet and juicy seeds that are eaten by itself or used to flavor dishes. Provide between 6 to 10 hours of sunlight per day from a South or West-facing window.
Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, and a growing temperature of above 80 Fahrenheit (26.6 Celsius) whenever possible. Plants that are edible often take a few years to produce fruit, and this one is ready in either its second or third year. Harvest the fruit once the rind turns from glossy to matte and its shape turns from round to more hexagonal.
Thyme is an edible plant that is a staple among herbs for adding savory flavor to meats, sauces and dressings. Small, tender leaves grow on woody stems. Thyme is fast-growing, gaining between 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30.4 cm) each growing season. This perennial herb prefers 8 or more hours of sunlight per day. A position in a sunny windowsill works well.
Let the soil dry completely between watering, then water thoroughly. Thyme thrives in soil without an abundance of nutrients, so do not use fertilizer. Harvest Thyme as needed and use fresh or dry the herb for longer storage.
When it comes to plants you can eat, adding fresh Basil to your collection is a must. A member of the Mint family, the most common variety of Basil is Sweet Basil. Other types include Thai Basil and cinnamon Basil. Provide between 6 to 8 hours of full sun per day for optimal growth. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, but don’t let the plant become dehydrated.
Herbs are edible plants that produce the most flavor in soil that is not nutrient rich. Average household temperatures and humidity are adequate. Harvest Basil regularly to encourage bushier growth and prevent premature blooming. Pinch or snip bunches of leaves just above a pair of new leaves. Use fresh for the best flavor.
Oregano is a popular herb, often found in Italian dishes. Oregano is a plant you can eat that does not take up a lot of space to grow indoors. Mature plants grow to approximately 2 feet (61 cm) tall and 1.5 feet (45 cm) wide. Full sun, for 6 or more hours per day, is ideal. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, then water thoroughly.
As with Basil, do not use fertilizer and keep the organic matter in the soil to a minimum for stronger flavor. Begin harvesting when the plant is 4 to 5 inches tall. Use fresh as needed, or harvest larger bunches in the summer when flavor is at its peak.
Cilantro, also referred to as Coriander, is an herb with a unique flavor. Growing this edible plant indoors helps slow its growth, which makes the plant useful for cooking longer. Provide bright, indirect sunlight for optimal growth. Keep the soil consistently moist, but never soggy.
Keep temperatures at or below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmer temperatures encourage bolting, which results in a bitter flavor. Cilantro is ready to harvest once the plant is three to four weeks old. Pinch or snip the plant regularly for a fuller plant. Store fresh in the refrigerator or chop and freeze.
This plant you can eat comes from the same family as onions and garlic. Chives are a perennial herb used often in soups and salads. The beautiful, purple blooms make excellent garnish. Full sun from a South window is best. Some shade is acceptable, but too much decreases blooms.
Keep the soil moist, but never soggy. This edible plant is ready to harvest approximately two months after planting. Snip the stalks as needed. Cutting Chives to just above the soil encourages fresh growth. Harvest the blooms immediately after they open for the most flavor.
Mint is a hardy perennial available in a variety of flavor options. Known for its aggressive growth habit, Mint is best grown in pots whether outside or inside. Bright, indirect sunlight in the morning is best. Too much sun may cause scorching but full shade inhibits the flavor.
Water enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Mint is ready to harvest once there are multiple stems 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long. Snip as much as needed, but never more than one-third of the entire plant at once. If the stems are getting longer, and leaves shorter, cut the entire plant back by a third to encourage new growth.
Parsley is an edible plant known as a popular garnish and flavor enhancer. Parsley grows in clumps with lacy or curly-edged foliage. When grown indoors, provide at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Keep the plant’s soil moist, never letting it dry out completely.
Harvest your Parsley once it is 6 inches (15 cm) tall. Cut the entire stems, snipping right above the soil. Choose the outer stems, letting the inner ones continue to mature. Snip as much as needed, but never more than one-third of the plant at once.
The Natal Plum is an edible plant that produces small fruit similar in taste to cranberries. Not a true plum, these small fruits are often used in jams and jellies. The plant grows to a height of between 2 to 7 feet (61cm to 2 meters). Full sun from a South or East window is ideal. Water your Natal Plum plant once the soil has dried out.
Natal Plums ripen individually, not all at once. Pick the fruits once each turns dark red to purple. The fruit will store up to one week in the fridge. Use them in pies, preserves, or jams when harvesting many at once.
The Pixie Grape is a natural mutant of the Pinot Meunier grape used to make wine and champagne. This plant you can eat grows between 12 and 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) tall. Use a trellis in the plant’s pot for support. Provide 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day from a South or Southwest window.
Keep the soil moist, but never soggy. The grapes are ready once they turn dark purple. Picking one grape from a bunch and tasting it is the best indicator of ripeness. Harvest entire clusters of grapes at once.
Ginger is a popular edible plant used in Asian cuisine. It is the thick, fleshy rhizomes of the plant that is used. It takes approximately 8 to 10 months from planting for the ginger to be ready for harvest. Full sun to partial shade is ideal. In climates with intense sun, provide filtered light to prevent scorching.
Water Ginger regularly during the growing season. In winter, withhold water during this dormant period. To harvest, dig up a section of the rhizome and use a sharp knife to cut it away. Use ginger fresh by chopping or grating it into dishes. For storage, freeze the entire rhizome.
This plant you can eat gets its name from its ability to flavor food but without the strong scent lingering on your breath afterwards. The plant grows up to 2 feet (61 cm) tall and produces grass-like foliage. Provide full sun for optimal growth and blooming.
Let the top 2 inches of soil dry between waterings, then water thoroughly. In the winter, withhold water when the plant goes dormant. Harvest the plant as needed. Use the tops and flowers as you would chives, or the bulbs in place of garlic.
These plants that are edible and healthy for you resemble cabbage leaves without the head. Cook the leaves in the same manner you would swiss chard or collard greens. The plant’s leaves come in a variety of colors, making them ornamental as well. Sun from a South or West window works well except in very hot climates. Instead choose an East-facing window to avoid scorching the leaves.
Keep your Kale hydrated for sweeter, crisper leaves. Cooler temperatures between 60 to 65 Fahrenheit (15 to 18 Celsius) also improves flavor. When possible, harvest mature, outer leaves first. Young, tender leaves can be left to mature or used for salads.
There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce available, with leaf lettuce being the easiest to grow indoors. Leaf lettuce produces best in cooler temperatures but with 6 hours of sun per day. For very hot climates, reduce the amount of sun exposure to prevent scorching. Regular hydration improves leaf texture and flavor.
Begin harvesting the leaves, as needed, once they reach 6 inches (15 cm) tall. Trim the outer leaves first, letting the inner leaves continue to mature. Store harvested lettuce in a plastic bag for up to 10 days. Use for salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
Spinach is an edible plant that is an excellent source of iron and vitamins. Like lettuce and Kale, Spinach is a cool-weather plant that grows best in lower temperatures. Provide 3 to 4 hours of sunlight per day, avoiding the hot, afternoon sun. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Spinach is ready for harvesting four to six weeks after planting. Use sharp scissors to trim leaves as needed. Pick the outer, mature leaves first. Use Spinach fresh in salads or cook like greens. For large harvests, cut down all the leaves to 1 inch above the soil. The leaves will grow back.
Growing edible plants in your home is a fun and economical way to keep fresh produce onhand year round. Most edible plants are easy to care for and require no more work than traditional houseplants. From small herb plants to larger fruit trees, there is no shortage of plants you can eat that grow well indoors.
Check the individual suggestions for each plant’s fertilizer requirements. As a general rule, herbs need little to no fertilizer. Plants that must first bloom before they produce fruit often need the nutrient boost to encourage healthy bloom production.
Not necessarily. Many plants that are safe for human consumption are considered toxic to cats and dogs. Any plant from the onion family, such as garlic and chives, is considered toxic. Always check on the toxicity levels of the plants in your home if you have pets.
No, some prefer indirect sunlight or even partial shade. Check the individual sunlight needs of each plant for optimal growth.
Yes, most plants benefit from some time outdoors once the temperatures become warmer. Ensure the plant is not receiving too much sunlight and do bring the plants back inside once temperatures begin to dip near freezing at night.
No, some plants need a few years to mature before they begin producing. Herbs are the quickest plants ready for use, while some fruit-bearing plants may take several years before they produce.