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Window Planting: How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden


Last Updated on May 15, 2024

Window planting is perfect for small spaces and is a healthier, cleaner way to cook with commonly grown herbs! Windowsill gardens are an excellent resource to grow your own food and have it right at your fingertips. It’s easy to add window boxes too!

Consider adding a windowsill herb garden window box, so you always have fresh herbs nearby! Great plants for the windowsill include green onions, basil, mint, and more! Herbs in a window box can be used in all your favorite dishes, and it’s easy to maintain a window garden box too. Everything you need to know about window planting for a zero waste lifestyle is right here!

window planting

Now that I live in a home with windows, I’ve become the plant lady I’ve always dreamed about being.

I spend my weekends collecting new plant babies, watering them, and watching them flourish in our well-lit, sunny home.

For those of you not understanding my references to natural light and windows, check out my failed tiny home living experiment. We only had three windows, so plant babies were not able to survive.

Not having plants was really making me sad. When we moved, I actually threw a House Greening Party for general joy, air quality, and yes, window planting.

A House Greening Party is when you ask all of your guests to bring you a new house plant to christen your new place. You can read more about my zero waste housewarming/greening party. It’s full of zero waste party tips!

In addition to all of my new plant friends, which I most definitely named, I bought several herbs from the local nursery. Seemed like the perfect time to make a windowsill herb garden, if you ask me!

Plants in terracotta planters for window planting.

plants for the windowsill

My local nursery is super cool because the plants come in compostable pots! They’re not the traditional plastic pots.

If you wind up with some of the plastic pots, you can always return them to the nursery, where they’ll typically reuse them.

Some of my herbs survived, and some did not. To be honest, I don’t have a green thumb. This is my third time delving into the world of edible windowsill gardens, and I have to say — third time is the charm!

I say this because, no matter how you feel about your gardening skills, I want you to give it a try. You don’t have to be perfect. You might kill some plants, but having an edible windowsill herb garden is awesome for several reasons.

  1. You no longer have to buy expensive plastic clamshells full of herbs.
  2. You can save money by eating food you’ve grown!
  3. You can save carbon miles by eating what’s in your backyard.
  4. It’s so tasty, rewarding, and makes you happy!
  5. No water pollution and harmful pesticides.
Potting edible plants for the windowsill

windowsill herb garden

So, it’s better for the planet, better for the tastebuds, better for the wallet, and better for your mental and emotional well-being.

I’d say that’s a win-win-win-win-win. Probably, the biggest string of wins on this blog.

Now, I’ve picked up herbs, and I’ve also completely regrown my food scraps! Yes, you can regrow your food scraps. It’s one of the greatest benefits of my favorite plants for the windowsill.

Check out my story highlight called lettuce and you can watch how I go from inedible lettuce stalks to having lettuce on tap forever in just 28 days.

A woman holding a basil plant for her windowsill herb planter

great herbs in a window box

Here are some of my favorite herbs in a window box because they do well in small containers. These plants for the windowsill are easy to grow and commonly used, making them good for beginners!

  1. basil
  2. lavender
  3. mint
  4. parsley
  5. rosemary
  6. thyme

Notice there are several herbs not on this list, like cilantro and oregano. I have tried to grow several of these in my herb garden window box and failed. They don’t do super well in small pots indoors.

Plants like basil will let you know when they’re thirsty. They start to wilt, then you water them, and they perk right back up! The pots don’t need to be too big; just make sure that they have drainage.

I’ve found that my herbs like to be watered much more frequently than my house plants. Just make sure that they’re not sitting in water.

Growing green onions as part of a garden of herbs in a window box.

best plants for regrowing scraps:

Window planting is also a ton of fun and low risk because of the potential for regrowing scraps. Some of my favorite scraps to grow from window planting are:

  1. lettuce
  2. celery
  3. green onions

You can regrow a lot of other scraps, but I find that these work best for the window box planters! I’ve heard that you can grow lemons from lemon seeds, but I’m not sure if the fruit will grow. I know that growing a plant from the avocado pit is popular, but I’ve heard that it won’t bear fruit.

When regrowing scraps, you need to first start them in a cup of water. Make sure that the cup of water is changed every day or every other day.

The cup doesn’t have to be completely full. You just need enough water for the base of the plant to be in about an inch.

The scraps will start to regrow, and once the roots sprout, you can transfer them to a pot of soil. Just make sure the pot has drainage! If it doesn’t, your plants will probably die. I learned this the hard way….

more window box planter ideas:

The one thing that I’d really like to add to my window boxes is a big ol’ pot of spinach! It’s pretty easy to grow indoors with a shallow and wide pot.

Woman potting plants for window planting

faqs about window planting

do I have to use a box?

Nope! While I refer to them as window boxes, it can actually be a ledge that holds planters. Or you can go with an actual garden box! Just do what works for your space, and you can’t go wrong.

what else can I use herbs for?

Obviously, fresh herbs are fantastic to add to all your favorite dishes, but there are other ways you can use them too. They can be used for craft projects, added to homemade cleaners to get a fresh scent, and included in your beauty products. They are even a lovely touch to add to gift packaging.

do the window boxes go indoors or outdoors?

Typically, you should have your window box planters indoors — especially if you live in a harsh climate. This allows you to grow fresh herbs even during the winter. Some people will put flower boxes outdoors on their windowsills, but they are typically harder to access.

I will keep you up-to-date on my window box garden progress, and I really, really hope that you feel empowered to give one a try too!

how can you naturally keep pests away from your windowsill planter?

A vinegar spray is one of the easiest ways to keep pests out of your garden, and it will do so without adding harmful chemicals to your food and environment. Neem oil and proper garden maintenance are also helpful in keeping pests out of your garden without causing any damage!

what is the best direction for window plants?

South facing windows offer the most sunlight, which makes them a plant lovers favorite window. However, East and West facing windows offer some direct light for a few hours a day as well! However, if you don’t have windows that face the right direction, no need to despair. LED grow lights are harmless and provide your plants with the light they need to succeed. Most come with timers to avoid over-lighting your plants (and save power!)

If you do, please let me know. You can tag me on instagram.

If you’re killing it at windowsill gardening, let me know in the comments down below. I would love any sage advice, and I’m sure others will love helpful tips to get them started too!

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  1. It’s important to remember that oregano really likes dry soil. And it’s a very hardy plant. Basically the only way to kill it is to overwater it. Perhaps you might try it again.

  2. I grow peppermint, thyme, rosemary, and a lemon mint all on my windowsill. What’s great about these plants is they can survive a winter. They will die off when it’s cold but come back. I learned this because I got these windowsill herbs by making cuttings from bigger outdoor plants. I learned that it’s important when you get a baby from a cutting (a propagate) to make sure you grow plenty of roots in water before transferring it to soil.

  3. For lavender and rosemary I learned they love sandy soil, and soil that is not super rich in nutrients. Adding white stones on top also attracts more sun, so the lavender flowers will grow more. When my basil plant begins to flower I pinch off all the flowers and the little buds below and put them in an open jar. When it dried you can crunch it up in your fingers and see little black seeds. Also when I get fruits and produce I collect seeds and put them in little wax-paper envelopes and store in a dark color mason jar. I give these seeds to friends or plant them myself. Endless life! Another great tip for busy lives or going away for some time is to collect plastic bottles (I find them all over the streets and pick them up). I take off the labels and poke holes in the caps. Then I bury the head of the bottle in the soil. You can fill it up with water and as long as the soil has nutrients (or peat moss) to hold the moisture it will water itself. One thing about this is if the soil is rocky/old and nutrients have washed out the water can come all the way through and you will have a big, wet mess. (learned this from experience ha!) Also if you all compost via trench method I often have volunteer plants pop up like tomatoes.

  4. Where do you get potting soil that doesn’t come in a plastic bag? I haven’t been able to find any here in Wisconsin.