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The 16 Best Healthy, Edible Plants to Grow Indoors

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General Growing Tips

Before you get started, here are a few tips that will be handy to keep in mind no matter which of the plants from this list you choose to grow.

1.All of these plants require well-draining soil, which means you will either need to use a pot with holes in the bottom or pile up some stones in the bottom of your pot before adding soil (so that the water can drain through the stones). If you choose to use a pot with holes in the bottom, be sure to put a shallow drainage container under the pot so the water doesn’t drain onto your floor, shelf, or windowsill.

2.For each of these plants, feel free to purchase potting mix at a garden center or make your own (You can also choose whether or not you want to stick with organic soils). Each plant grows best in a slightly different soil environment, but this general potting mix recipe will help get you started.

3.Many of these plants grow best in areas that receive lots of sunlight and remain fairly warm throughout the day. Sunny windows are extremely helpful for growing plants indoors. However, if you don’t have sunny windows (or if the area is a low temperature), grow lights will be your new best friend — they help maintain optimal light and temperature conditions for plants regardless of outside weather or indoor conditions.

 

Fruits and Veggies

1. Avocados

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Why They’re Healthy:

Avocados are chock full of healthy fats in addition to vitamins E and B6 and carotenoids, which are high in vitamin A and have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and eye degeneration. No wonder these fruits are one of our favorite superfoods!

 

How to Grow:

It’s possible to grow an avocado tree from an avocado pit, but doing so may not yield edible fruit. If you want to eat what you sow, it’s best to purchase a dwarf avocado plant (varieties that yield the larger green-skinned fruit or the more common black-skinned fruits are equally good) . To tend for your tree, add some sand to the bottom of a large, well-draining pot before filling it with regular potting mix and planting your tree. Water the tree regularly but make sure the soil is never soggy — avocado roots don’t take well to being waterlogged. Prune the shoots regularly, and be sure to place the tree in an area with high ceilings — even dwarf trees can grow higher than 10 feet!

 

How to Harvest:

Green varieties are ready to harvest when the fruits’ skin turns slightly yellow, while darker varieties are ready when their skins have turned almost black. Ripe fruits can be left hanging on the tree for a few weeks, but any longer than that and they’ll start to lose their flavor and texture.

 

2. Carrots

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Why They’re Healthy:

Carrots are a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, niacin, folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. They also supply carotenoids, which are a big boon for eye health .

 

How to Grow:

Purchase carrot seeds and a pot or window box that’s at least a foot and a half deep and wide, with drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container to within an inch of the top with a humus-rich potting mix. Water the soil before planting the seeds. Plant the seeds one inch apart in rows that are six inches apart from each other, pressing the seeds gently into the soil and covering them with a thin layer of soil. Water. Place the container in an area that receives tons of light. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked. To help preserve moisture, soak some peat moss in water overnight and then spread it on top of the seeds. Expect the seeds to germinate (i.e., start sprouting) in about two weeks.

 

How to Harvest:

Carrots are ready for harvest when they’ve grown to about ¾ of an inch across the top (just below the green stem). If you can’t see the carrot itself, gently brush aside some soil around the stem so you can size it up (Note: Though it may be tempting to see how big carrots can get, they’ll start to lose their sweetness and flavor once they surpass their peak size.). To pick the carrots, grab them firmly at the root and wiggle them around a bit, then pull straight up. If you find that the soil is quite hard, water it and then wait an hour or so before retrying the harvest. Once the carrots have been pulled from the soil, remove the greens immediately, wipe off any excess dirt, and let them dry before storing them in the fridge.

 

3. Garlic Greens

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Why They’re Healthy:

Pungent garlic is a member of the cancer-fighting allium family . It’s also a Greatist-approved superfood that’s been linked to improvements in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

 

How to Grow: 

Growing actual garlic bulbs indoors is a bit tricky, but you can easily grow garlic greens, which can be used just like scallions. Start by purchasing a few garlic bulbs with small cloves, and don’t be afraid to buy a shattered bulb (i.e., one that’s started to burst or is fully pulled apart). Select a four-inch pot with drainage holes at the bottom (a quart-size yogurt container with holes poked through the bottom will also work) and a small bag of potting soil. Fill the pot with soil to about half an inch below the top of the container. Break the bulbs into individual cloves (leave the peel on), and push each individual clove about an inch into the soil, pointy end up. Plant about 12 cloves close together. Water well and place the container in a sunny spot. Water regularly, making sure that the soil remains moist but not soggy. Green shoots should appear in about a week.

 

How to Harvest:

Once the shoots are 8-10 inches tall (this will take a few weeks), clip off whatever you need with scissors. When the cloves start putting up more sprouts, compost the contents of the pot, fill it back up with fresh potting soil, and plant new cloves (Each clove only sprouts good greens once; to have a constant supply, you need to keep re-planting).

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