7 Houseplants You Can Eat


Of course you won't want to eat your beloved decorative houseplants, but there are plenty of edible plants that can be grown indoors.

You can eat houseplants? Yes! But no, do not start plucking leaves from your Monstera deliciosa to add to the risotto, even if its name tempts you otherwise. We are talking food plants that you can keep indoors, thus, edible houseplants. One may wish to have an entire edible garden inside, while others might want to supplement their traditional houseplant situation with a few which bear things to eat. Either way, here are some candidates.

1. Small citrus

small indoor citrus tree with other plants

© Annie Spratt / UnsplashYou don't need an orangerie like the one at Versailles to grow citrus indoors. With enough sun – around 12 hours a day, meaning, a southern exposure; or you could cart your sun-loving plants around from window to window each day like someone around here does – you can grow dwarf varieties of lemons and other citrus fruits in pots. Some delicious varieties that can be grown indoors include Meyer lemon, kaffir lime, and calamondin oranges (but there are plenty more as well).

2. Pineapple

Ah, the beauty of plants and their desire to propagate. Take the pineapple: Rather than throwing out your pineapple waste, you can easily grow more pineapples instead. The never-ending pinepaple is a gift that keeps on giving – people report having had their indoor pineapple plants for a decade or more. And while it takes two years for the first fruit to appeal, imagine the wonder of watching a baby pineapple come to life. And then ... eating it!

3. Microgreens

close-up photo of microgreens

© @kulikova.photography / Twenty20 Microgreens are the 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, but there are also a lot of kits to get you started, like this one we covered last year: Eat fresh microgreens every day, thanks to MicroFarm.

4. Rosemary

cake with figs and rosemary sprig garnish

© Alex Loup via Unsplash I love rosemary as an indoor plant because it looks gorgeous, smells beautiful, and tastes divine. You can use it in all the usual places, but also consider it in cocktails and desserts, where it adds its evergreen fragrance. Having a plant on hand means you don't have to buy a whole bundle of rosemary when you just need a sprig, and you can use its flowers for a lovely and delicious garnish. There's a reason that greenhouse-to-consumer plant company, Bloomscape, lists rosemary amongst its "Edible Garden" selections. It is easy to grow, wants bright light to full sun, and is non-toxic to pets.

5. Nasturtium

nasturtium blossoms in a pot

© @Maccaholic / Twenty20 Long before I knew how much I liked the taste of nasturtium blooms, I grew them indoors because I loved how the plants climb and adored how cheerful they were. And then once I tasted them – both flowers and leaves – I loved how they were always there to add their bright color and uniquely peppery taste to a dish. Bonus: You can pickle their seeds for some pseudo capers. The plants do love a lot of light, but if you have a sunny spot inside, it's so worth it. Here is a good beginner's guide to growing nasturtiums indoors.

6. Tomato

close-up of tomatoes grown indoors

Till Westermayer / Flickr/CC BY 2.0 Few things are better than the smell of fresh tomato leaves, a scent of which supermarket tomatoes are sadly bereft. In fact, supermarket tomatoes seem to be lacking in many of the thing that make tomatoes, tomatoes. Thankfully, with enough sun you can grow very tomato-y tomatoes in the convenience of your own home. You can have a tomato plant delivered straight from the greenhouse by Bloomscape, or source plants locally and follow the how-to here.

7. Chives

Potted chives and a blossom

© @fatboiali / Twenty20 A pot of chives is just a happy-maker; they kind of look like tall grass, but then they bloom with a profusion of purple blossoms and they're just magical – and of course, tasty. It's so nice to be able to snip off a few at a time, rather than buying a whole bunch – and those flowers! They add a savory, spicy splash of color to all kinds of dishes, from salads and pasta to grain bowls and pizza.