Home & Garden Garden 12 Great Houseplants for the Kitchen By Melissa Breyer Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. Learn about our editorial process Updated May 18, 2021 Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Share Twitter Pinterest Email Garden Indoor Gardening Planting Guides Urban Farms Insects With fluctuating temperatures, occasional fumes, and, in some cases, little natural light, kitchens may not seem like an environment where houseplants will thrive. A number of plants, however, are resilient and hardy enough to grow well in these challenging spaces. What makes a houseplant good for the kitchen could be its ability to withstand low light and changing temperatures, or its function as an cooking ingredient itself. From edible flowers and herbs to hardy succulents, here are 12 houseplants fit for the kitchen. Warning Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database. 1 of 12 Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Golden pothos, also called devil’s ivy or the money plant, is extremely forgiving in terms of care. This vine thrives in a range of conditions, from direct sun to low light, and can grow in soil or just a simple jar of water. In the kitchen, it can grow well on high shelves or windowsills, leaving valuable counter space uncluttered. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright indirect light to low light.Water: When the top half of the soil is dry, every one to two weeks.Soil: Well-draining soil or plain water.Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 2 of 12 Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Also known as lily of the desert, elephant’s gall, and the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera is a hardy succulent that thrives indoors. Aloe is stemless, but has thick, fleshy leaves with serrated edges. It's well suited to kitchens, where temperatures might fluctuate more than in other rooms. It requires only infrequent watering, but does prefer ample indirect or artificial light. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect.Water: Sparingly, once every week or two.Soil: Well-draining, sandy.Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 3 of 12 Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) Treehugger / Sanja Kostic Apart from its very cooking-centric name, the cast iron plant (aka bar room plant) is fit for the kitchen because it's durable, able to endure a variety of extremes, and hard to kill. It was, in fact, one of the only houseplants that could survive in Victorian-era homes after gas lighting was introduced in the late 19th century. This member of the lily family is a native of China and will reach a height of about two feet, so it's best for those blessed with spacious kitchens only. Plant Care Tips Light: Dim and low.Water: Once weekly or when the top inch of soil is dry.Soil: Average, well-draining.Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. 4 of 12 Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) Westend61 / Getty Images Consider nasturtium your new favorite dinner party trick: Simply pluck a few of its brightly colored blooms, throw them into a salad, and commence the oohing and ahhing. This herbaceous flowering plant is a popular garden companion, but will also thrive in a pot in the window of your kitchen given the proper care. The edible flowers are vibrant and peppery. Its leaves, too, can be thrown into a salad, and even the seed pods can be pickled for "poor man's capers." Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun.Water: Once or twice weekly, when the top inch of soil begins to dry.Soil: Moist, well-draining.Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. 5 of 12 Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Herbs are an obvious choice for kitchen greenery. Rosemary, specifically, is not only beautiful and fragrant, but also delicious in a variety of dishes—from roast potatoes to stews to pasta dishes. Growing rosemary at home is more economical and less wasteful than buying entire cut bunches from the market. Like nasturtium, rosemary produces tiny purple flowers that are also delicious. The downside? Rosemary can be a little tricky to grow inside. It tends to have a large, deep root system, so containing it in a small pot can cause it to dry out quickly. If you're not up for the challenge, consider delicious thyme or oregano instead. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun.Water: Every one to two weeks.Soil: Light, well-draining.Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. 6 of 12 English Ivy (Hedera helix) Treehugger / Lesly Junieth English ivy is an attractive vine with glossy green, umbrella-shaped foliage that is relatively easy to grow inside. English ivy looks especially nice in a hanging basket, which is a good option for small kitchens where counter space is at a premium. Plant Care Tips Light: Medium to bright.Water: Only when the top half inch of soil dries out.Soil: Fertile, moist, well-draining.Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 7 of 12 Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) Robert Ingelhart / Getty Images Cilantro is a great candidate for a windowsill pot or even a kitchen window box—that is, unless you're one of the 10% of people who can't stand the taste of it. Every part of the plant is edible: the leaves, the delicate white flowers (although once cilantro "bolts," the leaves lose much of their flavor), and the seeds (also known as coriander seeds). If you are of the cilantro-is-disgusting-and-tastes-like-soap persuasion, basil, mint, or parsley make great alternatives. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun.Water: Weekly.Soil: Light, well-draining, moist.Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. 8 of 12 Bromeliad (Neoregalia spp.) Treehugger / Lesly Junieth Bromeliads, with their showy flower displays, are a great choice for adding a pop of color to your kitchen. Note, however, that they only bloom once in the plant's lifetime. Any other time, the colorful and variegated foliage can still provide cheery decoration. As an added bonus in small spaces, they can do well in shallow pots and with light soils like orchid mixes. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect.Water: Weekly.Soil: Light, well-draining.Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. 9 of 12 ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas) aapsky / Getty Images The ever-resilient ZZ plant belongs in the kitchen because it almost refuses to die. Its hardiness and ease of growing make it an ideal beginner's houseplant, requiring little water (due to the H2O-storing rhizomes from which it grows) and thriving even in the low-light corners of a kitchen. This tropical flowering perennial, native to Africa, contains tall stems covered in waxy, oval-shaped leaves resembling feathers. When they begin to dull, remove dust with a damp washcloth. Plant Care Tips Light: Low to bright, indirect.Water: Only once dried out completely.Soil: Light, well-draining.Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 10 of 12 Lavender (Lavandula) Happycity21 / Getty Images A more colorful herb choice, lavender is handy both for its practicality as a kitchen ingredient and its aesthetic value. The deep violet flowers atop its greenish-gray stems can be used in baking, savory dishes, teas, and lemonade. The plant belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae, and has a sweet, floral flavor. Lavender should be grown in a well-lit kitchen only—preferably propped next to a south-facing window where it will get a few hours of direct sunlight daily. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to partial shade.Water: Once or twice weekly.Soil: Well-draining, sandy, loamy.Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 11 of 12 Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) Grumpy Cow Studios / Getty Images The striking snake plant is a low-maintenance choice that can grow in any room of the house, including low-light kitchens. It's a common choice for beginners, because it can thrive in many light conditions, with infrequent watering, and even withstand some neglect. It does however, require a good deal of space, since its thick leaves can grow several feet tall and need the support of an eight to 12-inch pot. Plant Care Tips Light: Partial shade to bright, indirect.Water: Only when the soil is dry.Soil: Well-draining, chunky.Pet Safety: Toxic to dogs and cats. 12 of 12 Air Plants (Tillandsia) vaitekune / Getty Images Air plants are perfect for small kitchens because they don't require pots and can be placed in the tiniest places. Use these soil-free evergreen perennials to add a pop of color to your spice rack, hang them from your window, style them as wall art, or string them under your cabinets. While they do require a well-lit space, they're incredibly low-maintenance and resilient. Simply soak them in water for a couple hours every two to three weeks. Plant Care Tips Light: Bright, indirect.Water: Two-hour soak every two to three weeks.Soil: None.Pet Safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats. View Article Sources "Golden Pothos." ASPCA. "Aloe." ASPCA. "Cast Iron Plant." ASPCA. "Nasturtium." ASPCA. "Rosemary." ASPCA. "English Ivy." ASPCA. "Cilantro." ASPCA. Tina Wismer, DVM, Senior Director, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Email interview. 28 September 2021. "Houseplants: Safe and Toxic Varieties." UConn Home & Garden Education Center. "Lavender." ASPCA. "Snake Plant." ASPCA. Tina Wismer, DVM, Senior Director, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Email interview. 17 August 2021.