Beyond Basil and Mint: Uncommon Herbs for Your Indoor Garden

Indoor herb gardens have become increasingly popular among plant enthusiasts and home cooks alike. While basil and mint are kitchen staples, there's a world of lesser-known herbs waiting to be discovered and cultivated indoors. In this article, we'll delve into the fascinating realm of uncommon herbs that thrive in indoor environments. From the exotic to the unexpected, these herbs offer unique flavors and aromas that can elevate your culinary creations and bring a touch of novelty to your home garden.

Why Choose Uncommon Herbs?

Diversity of Flavors: Uncommon herbs offer a diverse range of flavors that can add complexity and depth to your dishes. Whether you're looking for something spicy, citrusy, or even slightly floral, there's an unusual herb that can meet your culinary needs.

Aesthetic Appeal: Beyond their flavor, many uncommon herbs boast unique appearances that can enhance your indoor garden's visual appeal. From the striking purple leaves of Perilla to the delicate tendrils of Nasturtium, these herbs can be as ornamental as they are functional.

Educational Experience: Cultivating uncommon herbs provides an opportunity for an educational journey. Learning about the growth habits, care requirements, and histories of these herbs can be a rewarding and intellectually stimulating experience.

Uncommon Herb Selection

Now, let's explore some uncommon herbs that are well-suited for indoor gardening:

1. Perilla (Shiso)

Description: Perilla, also known as Shiso, is a striking herb with serrated purple or green leaves. It boasts a unique flavor profile, combining notes of mint, basil, and anise.

Cultivation Tips: Perilla thrives in well-draining soil and prefers bright, indirect sunlight. It can be grown from seeds or cuttings and makes an excellent addition to salads, sushi, and garnishes.

2. Lovage

Description: Lovage is a tall herb with dark green, celery-like leaves and a distinct, intense flavor reminiscent of celery and parsley.

Cultivation Tips: Lovage requires a deep container due to its height. It prefers rich soil and ample sunlight. Lovage's leaves and stems can be used to flavor soups, stews, and salads.

3. Nasturtium

Description: Nasturtium is an edible flowering herb with vibrant orange, yellow, or red blossoms. Both the leaves and flowers are edible, offering a peppery, slightly spicy flavor.

Cultivation Tips: Nasturtium is an easy-to-grow herb that thrives in well-draining soil and partial sunlight. Use its colorful blooms to add a pop of color to salads and as a unique garnish.

4. Lemon Verbena

Description: Lemon Verbena is prized for its intense lemony fragrance and flavor. Its slender, lance-shaped leaves make it a visually appealing addition to any indoor garden.

Cultivation Tips: This herb prefers well-draining soil and bright, indirect sunlight. The leaves can be used to infuse teas, desserts, and cocktails with a delightful lemony aroma and taste.

Caring for Uncommon Herbs

1. Light Requirements

Most uncommon herbs thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Placing them near a south-facing window or providing artificial grow lights can ensure they receive adequate light.

2. Soil and Watering

Well-draining potting soil is crucial for the health of your herbs. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings to prevent root rot, but avoid letting it become bone dry.

3. Container Selection

Choose containers that allow for proper drainage and room for growth. Some herbs, like lovage, may require deeper pots due to their height.

4. Pruning and Harvesting

Regularly prune your herbs to encourage bushy growth and prevent legginess. Harvest leaves as needed, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time.

Uncommon Herb Recipe Ideas

Now that you've ventured into the world of uncommon herbs, here are some creative recipe ideas to make the most of your indoor garden:

1. Perilla and Mango Salad

Combine thinly sliced perilla leaves with ripe mango, red onion, and a zesty vinaigrette for a refreshing and exotic salad.

2. Lovage-Potato Soup

Add fresh lovage leaves to a classic potato soup for a twist on comfort food that's both hearty and aromatic.

3. Nasturtium Pesto

Create a vibrant pesto by blending nasturtium leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil. Serve it over pasta or as a dipping sauce for bread.

4. Lemon Verbena Sorbet

Infuse a simple syrup with lemon verbena leaves and use it to make a refreshing sorbet that's the perfect palate cleanser.


Incorporating uncommon herbs into your indoor garden not only adds variety to your culinary endeavors but also invites you to explore the rich tapestry of flavors and aromas that the world of herbs has to offer. 

From Perilla's exotic notes to Lovage's robust presence, these herbs bring a touch of uniqueness to your home, making your indoor garden a source of both culinary delight and botanical curiosity. So, don't hesitate to experiment and embark on a flavorful journey with these extraordinary herbs. Your indoor garden will thank you for it, and your taste buds will surely rejoice.