10 Houseplants You Can Eat

A potted nasturtium plant, with hanging vines and bright green leaves and orange flowers, sits on window sill.

Katie Kirkland / Shutterstock

You can eat houseplants? Yes! But no, don't start plucking leaves from your Monstera deliciosa to add to the risotto, even if its name tempts you otherwise. We are talking about food plants that you can keep indoors, thus, edible houseplants. Some may choose to have a completely edible garden inside, while others might want to supplement their more traditional houseplants with a few tasty additions like chili peppers or Thai lime.

Here are 10 enticing houseplants that you can eat.

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 10

Thai Lime (Citrus hystrix)

A small, knobby Thai lime hanging from a branch among green leaves

Katja Schulz / Flickr / CC By 2.0

A citrus plant native to Southeast Asia, Thai lime can be grown indoors with plenty of sunlight and with regular watering. The leaves are a staple of many Southeast Asian dishes, such as curries, soups, and stir-frys, due to their aromatic flavor profile and shiny, evergreen appearance. 

The Thai lime plant grows best in warmer temperatures but can withstand sub-freezing conditions on occasion. That being said, it is ideal to keep this citrus plant in a stable environment above 60 degrees. Outdoors, Thai lime trees can reach anywhere between six and 25 feet tall, but they will be much smaller if grown in a pot indoors.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Sandy and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
2
of 10

Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

A small, blueish-gray pineapple with a bright-red border grows encased by green, stalky leaves.

SFAJane / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While pineapple might conjure up images of tropical paradise, the popular and juicy fruit can be grown almost anywhere if the proper indoor conditions are met. Pineapples that are grown in containers as houseplants should be kept above 65 degrees at all times and should receive bright sunlight to reach their full potential. Don’t get discouraged by the long wait time, however — pineapples can take a few years to bear fruit.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Acidic, loose, sandy, organically rich, well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
3
of 10

Microgreens

Microgreens growing in a plastic tray.

Oregon State University / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Microgreens are petite, edible greens (salad greens, herbs, flowers, and other vegetables) that are harvested after the first true leaf stage. They range in size from one to three inches long, including the stem and leaves — and are a breeze to grow indoors. Maybe a grassy tray of baby plants doesn't scream "houseplant," but they are charming in a moss-in-the-woods kind of way, and nutritious and delicious. You can go it alone, or use a microgreen kit like the ones available from Microfarm.

4
of 10

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

Four pots filled with mature, green rosemary sprigs

cristina.sanvito / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Native to rocky locales like the Mediterranean, rosemary is a staple of kitchens around the world. The aromatic herb reacts most favorably indoors when planted in clay pots under humid, cool, and well-circulated conditions. Not only does rosemary spice up culinary favorites like soups, bread, and meats — it is used in soaps, lotions, and medicines. Be on high alert for any sign of aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites if you are keeping rosemary as a houseplant.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Dry to medium.
  • Soil: Slightly acidic and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
5
of 10

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)

Bright, orange-red nasturtium flowers stand tall along the side of a house

Michele Dorsey Walfred / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Nasturtiums, a brightly colored and popular flower of many home gardens, don’t only look bold  — they taste bold, too. These attractive flowers come in shades of orange, red, yellow, and cream, and have a spicy, peppery flavor to them. The flowers bloom from spring to fall, prefer cool summers, and are generally quite easy to grow. Try topping your next salad with any part of this peppery plant, except for the root.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Poor to average, slightly acidic, well-drained soils.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
6
of 10

Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum)

A close-up of four, nearly-ripe tomatoes grown indoors

Till Westermayer / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Few things are better than the smell of fresh tomato leaves, a scent of which supermarket tomatoes are sadly bereft. These famous perennials come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors — from the sliceable big and juicy beefsteak tomatoes to small, vibrant grape tomatoes. A variety can be grown to ensure that your kitchen will rarely be without fresh tomatoes.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Prefers moist, humusy, deep, fertile loams.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
7
of 10

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Backyard chives

Celeste Lindell / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A pot of chives is just a happy-maker. These fragrant, oniony plants enjoy sandy, well-drained soils and a lot of sun. They add a savory, spicy splash of color to all kinds of dishes, from salads and pasta to grain bowls and pizza. Consider keeping them in a small pot in the kitchen for easy access.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun to part shade.
  • Water: Average, dry to medium moisture.
  • Soil: Well-drained and sandy.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
8
of 10

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Peppermint

Brian Boucheron / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A cross between spearmint and watermint, peppermint makes for a lovely, potted houseplant and can be used to great effect as a garnish or as a spice in teas. They are not fussy plants and perform well in most soils as long as they don’t become too dry. Peppermint leaves are dark green and grow between one and two inches long.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun to part shade.
  • Water: Medium to wet.
  • Soil: Rich and moist.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
9
of 10

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger

Kjokkenutstyr Net / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

A versatile and ancient spice, ginger is lovingly used in foods, drinks, and medicines around the globe. Since ginger is a tropical plant, it does best in high heat and humidity. The plant’s rhizome is often used in a large variety of Eastern dishes and can be found frequently in ground form in Western baked goods.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade.
  • Water: Medium to wet.
  • Soil: Fertile and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
10
of 10

Chili Peppers (Capsicum annuum)

A cluster of bright red chli peppers shoot upward amidst the dark green leaves of the plant

Jonatan Svensson Glad / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Spice up your life with a potted variant of the chili pepper family. Whether you choose to grow a hot pepper like jalapeno or sweet, yellow pepper, these colorful plants will encourage bold and ambitious cooking. They require a warm, sunny environment and prefer to not have their roots disturbed. Evidence suggests these beloved plants were used in Peruvian cooking more than 8,000 years ago.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Moist, organically rich, fertile, and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.