Skip to main content

Edible houseplants you can grow year-round

Growing edible houseplants indoors is easier than you think! From herbs (like basil and thyme) to vegetables (like ginger and potatoes), there’s a wide variety that can be grown in containers. But are the edible houseplants you can grow indoors able to be grown year-round? And which ones will keep producing a harvest? With the right conditions, many edible houseplants you can grow indoors will survive colder months and give you a nice harvest.

Potted basil growing in a kitchen

Basil, thyme, and other herbs

One of the most popular indoor gardens that don’t require a lot of high-maintenance work are herb gardens. Some are easier to grow inside than others — like basil, mint, parsley, and thyme — but most every herb can be grown indoors with the right care.

You can start your indoor herb garden in three different ways: With seeds, cuttings, and small plants from a nursery. The third option will be the easiest and fastest to start reaping your rewards from the plants, but you may find it more satisfying to grow them from the seeds. Whichever way you choose, you’ll want to make sure you choose a container that not only fits the plant but is maybe a bit big for the plant. After all, plants grow. And while you can choose a perfect-fit pot, it will mean you’ll have to repot sooner than you like.

The containers you choose should ideally have good drainage with a tray at the bottom to catch any excess water and keep your herbs from sitting in soggy soil. Overwatering could easily be your downfall. That said, there are many indoor herb-garden setups sold, like mason jars, that don’t have any drainage. If you want to use something like that for the look of it, be sure to place a layer of stones at the bottom. They’ll help catch the excess water and give the soil a place to drain.

Harvesting coffee berries

Coffee plant

“Coffee plants? Like, the plants that grow coffee beans?” Yes, exactly! Although it may take a few years to produce enough beans to for a cup of coffee, you can buy and nurture your own indoor coffee plant to grow your own morning brew.

This one isn’t as instantly gratifying as the herb garden, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take this plant on. You can find young coffee plants in nurseries, and they’re usually a few years off from blooming and producing beans at that point. But growing it to the point of a successful harvest can feel very satisfying in the end — and you’ll get to grind your own homegrown beans!

Caring for your coffee plant

The coffee plant is an edible houseplant that can successfully be grown indoors year-round, provided you have the right conditions. These plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight, making them perfect for floor-plant stands near a window. Like many plants, they don’t withstand temperature below freezing and prefer to be kept in an environment above 65 degrees. To that effect, you’ll want to keep them away from any drafty areas of the home during the winter. This may mean relocating your plant for a few months, or setting up its initial home with that in mind.

These plants also require pots and soil that have good drainage. When watering, you want to make sure the soil stays somewhat moist without getting soaked. To achieve that, it’s best to let the top part of the soil dry out a bit between waterings (without letting the whole pot dry out). Pay attention to how much water drains out the bottoms, too, to help avoid overwatering. You know there’s enough in the pot when it starts to get in the tray.

Growing chili peppers

Chili peppers and other vegetables

Vegetables that can be grown in containers, like chili peppers, also make good edible houseplants that can be grown year-round. Typically, the types of vegetables that do best growing indoors are smaller varieties. They don’t take up as much space, don’t need as much space, and can still provide you with a relatively nice harvest for as long as they’re producing.

Chili peppers specifically (and many other vegetables) require well-lit areas, so keep that in mind when you decide which ones to grow in your home. For the colder months when there is less light, you may need to set up artificial grow lights to help keep them alive and thriving. Luckily, with most vegetables, the care requirements for outdoors versus indoors are roughly the same. If you’re well-versed in outdoor garden growing, the shift to indoor should be no trouble.

As with any container plant, though, you’ll want to be aware of how much you’re watering your peppers and other vegetables. Containers don’t dry out as fast as the ground outside, so watering will require more active attention to avoid overwatering (and underwatering).

With a good mix of herbs, vegetables, and plants that require longer nurturing like the coffee plant, you’ll have an indoor garden that supplies you with crops at many times, in many ways. Having fresh vegetables and herbs in the winter that you’ve grown yourself is very rewarding — and delicious — and you’ll be hooked once you brew your own homegrown cup of coffee.

Editors' Recommendations

Kiera Baron
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kiera Baron is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a budding digital artist, based in Upstate NY. She is currently one…
Can you use Epsom salt for plants? What you need to know
4 ways to incorporate Epsom salt into your garden routine
Epsom salt

Chances are, you might have heard of the life-changing magic of Epsom salt in gardening. But remember, Epsom salt is nothing like your typical table salt since it's actually magnesium sulfate. So, here's the big question for the plant enthusiasts out there: Is Epsom salt good for houseplants? Although there hasn't been too much research about its benefits, many experienced home gardeners swear by Epsom salt for plants.

It's been a go-to for plant enthusiasts for years, so it's worth giving a shot when you want to troubleshoot specific foliage issues for both your indoor and outdoor plants. Keep reading to learn all about the many uses of Epsom salt for potted plants and garden beds — you might just find yourself sprinkling it on your crops! 

Read more
The 5 best places to buy succulents online to start your plant collection
From subscription boxes to one-off purchases, you're sure to find your next succulent here
A succulent in a gift box

Succulents are easy to grow and incredibly fun to collect. Their small size, beautiful colors, and unique shapes make them popular with beginners and experienced plant parents alike. If you've already exhausted the options at your local plant stores or you're looking for a specific succulent variety, then you might want to buy succulents online. When it comes to buying succulents and cacti online, there’s always the risk of shipping going wrong. Plants can be damaged and packages can be lost, and not every seller will do their best to help make things right.

Luckily for you, there are professional plant sellers online who are aware of everything that could go wrong and who do their best to make your experience positive! While there’s no true guarantee your plant will arrive completely in pristine condition, these five succulent shops strive to get happy, healthy plants to you in the safest way possible (sometimes in the form of monthly subscription boxes, and who doesn't want a new plant at their door every month?).

Read more
Grow these herbs for Halloween to make your celebration even spookier
Spook up your Halloween with these easy-to-grow herbs
A bundle of fresh mugwort

Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is a night that means many things to many people. For kids and their parents, it’s a night to dress up in fun or scary costumes, walk around town, and get candy. For others, it can mean haunted houses and scary movie marathons. For the superstitious, it’s a night to be wary of and to be careful not to cause disturbances between that which we see and that which we feel. And for the powers that be — the witches, the warlocks, and the gardeners — it’s a time to head out to our Halloween outdoor herb gardens and celebrate the bountiful harvest that awaits us.

If you’re new to it all, you may wonder how to choose herbs for Halloween. It all has to do with a mixture of how much care these herbs need, how well they grow in colder conditions, and what they've meant and symbolized throughout history. So grab your witch's broom (and your protective gardening gloves) as we look at a few of the most Halloween-appropriate herbs you can grow this season.

Read more