The Q&A Archives: Indoor Plants in Los Angeles

Question: What are the best seeds to grow for indoor plants? I have some sunlight that come in through the windows, but I don't know which ones are the easier to maintain indoors. I'm looking for Plants/Herbs ... anything other than Cactus.

Answer: Most houseplants are purchased as plants, not grown from seed, but you may be able to find seeds at your local nursery. Lots of houseplants like bright light. Here are some to consider:
Aphelandra squarrosa (Zebra Plant); Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine);
Beaucarnea recurvata (Pony Tail Palm); Crassula argentea (Jade Plant);
Dizygotheca elegantissima (False Aralia); Euphorbia millii splendens (Crown of Thorns); Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig); Gynura aurantiaca (Purple Passion Plant);
Hedera helix (English Ivy); Helxine soleirolii (Baby Tears); Hoya carnosa (Wax Plant); Pittosporum tobira (Pittosporum); Podocarpus macrophyllus (Podocarpus).

Herbs make great houseplants. All you need is a sunny windowsill and a few pots and you can have a thriving and edible indoor garden!

Dill- This fragrant herb has attractive, feathery foliage and does well in a sunny window. Look for the compact "Fernleaf" variety. Dill is delicious when used in egg, fish or chicken dishes, dips, and of course, pickles. Both the leaves and the seeds can be used.

Oregano-This is another fragrant and popular herb. Choose the Greek variety, which forms an 8 to 12 inch mound. Oregano is fantastic in a wide variety of Italian and Mexican dishes

Lavender- This herb is treasured for its beautiful and relaxing scent. The leaves can be dried and used in sachets and potpourri. Look for compact varieties such as Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas 'Otto Quast' ).

Chives- This herb's grass like foliage adds a mild onion flavor to many dishes. It's especially good with potatoes, baked or mashed.

Parsley-This herb is the world's most popular garnish and is also good for freshening breath after a spicy meal. Try varieties, the common "Curly Leaf" and the Italian version, known as "Flat Leaf" or Cilantro. Cilantro is a key ingredient in salsas and other Mexican dishes.

Chamomile-This herb makes a wonderful tea and is also good for sachets and potpourri. It's known for its soothing, relaxing fragrance. It looks like grass until the small daisy like flowers appear.

Mints- Peppermint and Spearmint both make great windowsill plants. In fact, if grown in the ground they will quickly take over the garden! They make great teas and are a popular flavoring for all kinds of beverages, baked goods, and even meats like lamb.

Basil- This herb is a staple in Italian cooking. Look for the "Spicy Globe" variety as it stays nice and compact.

When you've chosen your herbs, plant them in well draining potting soil and keep in a sunny windowsill. They'll need 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day to flourish. Keep them away from drafts, and water only when the top inch or so of the soil feels dry. Don't overwater as this can actually dilute the flavor of the herb. Fertilize monthly with a liquid plant food. Make sure you follow the directions as too much fertilizer is can harm your plants. Mist occasionally if the air gets too dry. When you want to use an herb, simply use a pair of scissors to snip off what you need!


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