What Can You Grow In Your Kitchen? (20 Options For Small Spaces)


Growing plants in a kitchen can provide both food and enjoyment for your household.  Even with limited space, there are still plenty of options for growing plants in your kitchen.

So, what can you grow in your kitchen?  You can grow leafy greens (arugula, kale, lettuce, spinach), microgreens (amaranth, beet, pea, sunflower), herbs (basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme), fruit (dwarf lemon, dwarf lime, dwarf orange, strawberry), and vegetables (chives, peppers, tomatoes), right in your kitchen.

Of course, some of these plants will provide you with food, while others are for decoration and enjoyment.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each of these plants, including which ones to choose for a limited space.

Let’s get started.

What Can You Grow In Your Kitchen?

There is a huge variety of plants you can grow in your kitchen, including:

  • Leafy greens – such as arugula, kale, lettuce, and spinach
  • Microgreens – such as amaranth, beet, pea, and sunflower
  • Herbs – such as basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • Fruit – such as dwarf lemon, dwarf lime, dwarf orange and strawberries
  • Vegetables – such as chives, peppers, and tomatoes
tomato plant no leaves
You can grow tomtaoes in your kitchen. You just need to find a small variety!

Let’s take a closer look at each of these 20 plants in turn, starting with leafy greens.

Leafy Greens To Grow In Your Kitchen

Leafy greens are plant leaves that are steamed, boiled, stir fried, or used fresh in salads.  Each type of leafy green plant has its own unique flavor and vitamin content, but they are all good for you.

Arugula

Arugula is also called “Rocket”.  It is an annual, meaning that you will need to replant every year.

arugula rocket leaves
Arugula, or rocket, has a bitter taste that must be acquired to be appreciated.

Arugula leaves have a flavor that is somewhat bitter.  Some would say it is an acquired taste.

Arugula is often used as a garnish, side dish, pizza topping, or as part of a salad.  It has lots of vitamin C and potassium.

Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region.  It grows 8 to 40 inches tall.

The roots of arugula can grow 18 inches deep, but most of the roots are in the top 6 inches of soil.  A pot that is 6 to 12 inches tall will allow it to fit in your kitchen and still grow well.

You can learn more about Arugula in this article from Wikipedia.

Kale

Kale is also called leaf cabbage.  Kale is usually grown as an annual.

kale leafy green
Kale is a leafy green that is rich in nitrogen and has an earthy flavor.

Kale has an earthy flavor that can be bitter to some.  Slow cook kale to get rid of some of the bitterness.

Kale is often sautéed, steamed, or used to make salad or kale chips.  It has lots of vitamins A, B6, C, and K, along with minerals like calcium and potassium.

Some kale plants have green leaves, but others have purple leaves.  They can be grown for food or as an ornamental.

Kale can survive cold temperatures (well below freezing).  In fact, it becomes sweet after heavy frost.

Harvest leaves from the side (older growth) and the plant will keep producing.  If you harvest from the top, it may slow the plant’s growth.

The roots of kale can grow 12 to 18 inches deep.  A pot that is 6 to 12 inches tall will allow it to fit in your kitchen and still grow well.

You can learn more about kale in this article from Wikipedia.

Lettuce

Lettuce is a member of the daisy family.  It is an annual plant.

green lettuce
Lettuce is a common leafy green that is often used for salads.

Some lettuce has a sweet flavor, while other types are mild.  Lettuce can become bitter after the plant bolts (starts to produce flowers and seeds) in hot weather.

Lettuce leaves are often used in salads or on sandwiches.  It has lots of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Different lettuce varieties have light green, deep green, red, or purple leaves. 

Harvest leaves from the side (older growth) and the plant will keep producing.  If you harvest from the top, it may slow the plant’s growth.

The roots of lettuce can grow 18 inches deep.  A pot that is 12 inches tall will allow it to fit in your kitchen and still grow well.

You can learn more about lettuce in this article from Wikipedia.

Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green flowering plant.  It is native to Asia.

spinach
Spinach is a leafy green that is rich in iron and goes great in soup.

Raw spinach tastes sweet and mild.  Darker leaves are more bitter, as are leaves from a plant that has started to bolt (go to seed).

Spinach leaves are often steamed, boiled, sautéed, or used in salad or soup.  It has lots of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate.

Harvest leaves from the side (older growth) and the plant will keep producing.  If you harvest from the top, it may slow the plant’s growth.

The roots of spinach can grow 12 to 18 inches deep.  A pot that is 6 inches tall will allow it to fit in your kitchen and still grow well.

You can learn more about spinach in this article from Wikipedia.

Microgreens To Grow In Your Kitchen

Microgreens are sprouted seeds that are eaten shortly after germination.  They are often ready for harvest 2 weeks after planting.

Microgreens are used as a garnish, in salads, or as a snack.  The best part about microgreens is that the seeds don’t grow too deep, so you can grow them in a shallow container.

You can use lots of different seeds to grow microgreens.  Each plant variety yields different microgreen colors and flavors.

Here are just a few.

Amaranth

Amaranth is a perennial plant.  Its seeds are harvested as grain when the plant matures.

amarnath flowers grain
Amaranth has purple flowers, and its seeds are harvested as grain when mature. The sprouts are good microgreens.

Amaranth microgreens are red and pink.  They are sweet and somewhat earthy flavor.

Amaranth seeds germinate (sprout) in 2 to 3 days.  The microgreens are ready for harvest in 8 to 12 days.

You can find Red Garnet Amaranth seeds from True Leaf Market.

Amaranth microgreens have lots of calcium, iron, and potassium, along with other vitamins and minerals.

You can learn more about amaranth in this article from Wikipedia.

Beet

Beets are a biennial, but they are often planted as an annual.  The greens (leaves) and root are both harvested and eaten.

beet sprouts microgreens
Beet microgreens are purple with a mild flavor.

Beet microgreens are purple.  Their flavor is mild, similar to spinach.

Beet seeds germinate in 5 to 8 days.  The microgreens are ready for harvest in 20 days.

You can find microgreen beet seeds from West Coast Seeds.

Beet microgreens are high in vitamin K.

You can learn more about beets in this article from Wikipedia.

Peas

Peas are annual plants (technically a fruit).  The seeds and seed pods are both harvested and eaten.

pea sprouts microgreens
Pea microgreens are sweet, just like peas.

Pea microgreens are light green.  Their flavor is sweet, similar to peas.

Pea microgreens are ready for harvest in 8 to 12 days.

You can find pea microgreen seeds from West Coast Seeds.

Pea microgreens are rich in vitamins A and C.

You can learn more about peas in this article from Wikipedia.

Sunflower

Sunflowers (helianthus) are annual or perennial depending on the variety.  The seeds are harvested and shelled to eat the white seed inside.

sunflower sprouts microgreens
Sunflower microgreens are nutty, just like sunflower seeds.

Sunflower microgreens are green.  Their flavor is nutty, similar to sunflower seeds themselves.

Sunflower microgreens are ready to harvest in 7 to 10 days. 

You can find sunflower microgreens from True Leaf Market.

Sunflower microgreens are rich in vitamins, A, D, and E.

You can learn more about sunflowers from Wikipedia.

Herbs To Grow In Your Kitchen

Herbs are plants that are grown for their fragrant and flavorful leaves.  They are used to season many different dishes.

With just 5 herbs, there are endless combinations you can come up with.  Here are 5 popular herbs that you can grow right in your kitchen in a small container.

Basil

Basil is a member of the mint family.  Basil is perennial in warm climates, but is sensitive to cold and is often grown as an annual in the garden.

basil in pot
Basil is an aromatic herb that you can grow right on a windowsill in the kitchen.

Basil has a strong, pungent, sweet smell and flavor.  There are many different types of basil, including:

  • Sweet basil (the most familiar one)
  • Thai basil
  • Lemon basil
  • Holy basil

Depending on the variety, basil can grow 1 to 5 feet tall.  Keep it on a sunny windowsill in the kitchen, away from cold drafts.

Basil is a good source of iron and vitamins A, C, and K.

You can learn more about basil in this article from Wikipedia.

Parsley

Parsley is biennial in temperature climates, but grown as an annual in cooler climates.  It is native to the Mediterranean region.

parsley herb
Parsley is another herb you can grow right in the kitchen.

Parsley is slightly bitter and peppery.  It is best used in small amounts as a garnish or flavoring, rather than in large amounts as a leafy green for salads.

Basil is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K.

You can learn more about parsley in this article from Wikipedia.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a woody perennial herb, but it is sensitive to cold.  Its aromatic leaves are like long green needles, and they are harvested to provide seasoning for food.

rosemary plant
Rosemary can grow tall, but plant in in a pot and prune it to keep it small.

Rosemary flowers are white, pink, purple, or blue.  The plant is a member of the mint family and a native of the Mediterranean region.

Rosemary has a flavor that is a combination of different scents and flavors such as citrus, pine, and pepper.  The leaves are used for seasoning meat, soup, and stew.

Rosemary is a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

You can learn more about rosemary in this article from Wikipedia.

Sage

Sage is a perennial in cooler climates (USDA zones 5 to 8).  It is annual in warmer climates, since it cannot tolerate excessive heat.

sage herb
Sage is a member of the mint family, native to the Mediterranean.

Sage is also a member of the mint family, native to the Mediterranean.  Its flowers are blue or purple.

Sage has a flavor that combines mint, pepper, and citrus.  It contains vitamins A, C, and E.

You can learn more about sage in this article from Wikipedia.

Thyme

Thyme is a hardy perennial herb that grows well in hot, sunny locations.  The plants only grow to 16 inches tall.

thyme herb
Thyme is an herb used for both tea and cooking.

The flowers are yellow, white, or purple.  The leaves or essential oils are both used in tea and cooking.

Thyme has a sharp, sweet, minty, peppery flavor.  It contains vitamins A and C.

You can learn more about thyme in this article from Wikipedia.

Fruit To Grow In Your Kitchen

It might seem impossible to grow fruit in your kitchen, but there are ways to do it!  Strawberries can grow indoors if they have a little space to grow.

Dwarf citrus trees are also compact and fit in a small space.  Growing them indoors protects them from cold in the winter months.

Dwarf Lemon Trees

Even if you don’t have much space in the kitchen, you can probably find a place in a bright corner for a dwarf lemon tree.  A small container will suffice when they are young.

lemons on tree
Dwarf lemon trees take time to mature, and the fruit takes 6 to 9 months to ripen.

For example, the Meyer lemon tree from Stark Brothers is 8 to 10 feet tall when mature, but you can keep it a bit smaller with pruning.  This variety of dwarf lemon tree has self-pollinating white or purple flowers.

Meyer lemon trees take 1 to 2 years before they are mature enough to bear fruit.  The fruit itself takes 6 to 9 months to ripen.

Dwarf Lime Trees

A dwarf lime tree is another option for growing citrus fruit in a kitchen.  For example, the Key lime tree from Stark Brothers is 6 to 8 feet tall at maturity, but you can keep it smaller with pruning.

lime tree
Lime trees are another good option for dwarf citrus trees in a kitchen.

This variety of dwarf lime tree has self-pollinating white flowers.    Key lime trees take 1 to 2 years before they are mature enough to produce fruit.  The fruit itself takes 6 to 9 months to ripen.

A small container is ideal for young dwarf lime trees.  The trees will need full sun, so keep them in a bright spot away from drafty windows.

Dwarf Orange Trees

A dwarf orange tree is another great choice if you want to grow citrus fruit right in your kitchen.  For example, the Calamondin orange tree from Stark Brothers 6 to 10 feet tall at maturity, but you can keep it smaller with pruning.

calamondin orange tree
A calamondin orange trees is small enough to grow in a kitchen.

This variety of dwarf orange tree has self-pollinating flowers.  It is a cross between a mandarin orange and a kumquat.

Calamondin orange trees take 1 to 2 years before they are mature enough to bear fruit.  The fruit itself can take up to 12 months to ripen.

It can bloom again while fruit is still on the tree, which gives you harvests at different times of the year.  They can tolerate partial shade to full sun, so they would do well in a kitchen with a little less light.

A small container will work well for young dwarf orange trees.

Strawberries

Strawberries are perennial plants with white flowers and red, juicy fruit with about 200 seeds. 

ripening strawberries
Strawberry plants are small enough to grow in the kitchen and will provide you with fruit.

Strawberries have a sweet and tart flavor.  They are used in jams, jellies, pies, as toppings, or for fresh eating.

Strawberry roots only grow 6 to 12 inches deep in the soil.  So, a small pot that is 6 to 12 inches tall will suffice.

Strawberries provide vitamins C and K, along with potassium and other minerals.

You can learn more about how to grow strawberries indoors in this article from Home For The Harvest.

Vegetables To Grow In Your Kitchen

There are some smaller varieties of vegetables that will grow just fine in a limited space in your kitchen.  Here are just a few.

Chives

Chives are a flowering plant, and they are related to onions (both are Alliums).  The long, green leaves are often chopped up and used in soups, omelets, or as seasoning for other dishes like potatoes and fish.

chives flowers
Chives produce purple flowers as they mature.

As with most Allium plants, chives do not have very deep roots.  Instead, they form bulbs that are shallowly nested in the soil.

As a result, you won’t need very deep soil to grow them.  A container that is 6 to 12 inches tall will be more than enough for them.

Chives have plenty of vitamins C and K.  You can learn more about how to grow chives in this article from the University of Minnesota Extension.

Peppers

Pepper plants produce white flowers and fruit that are green, yellow, orange, red, purple, or even white!  Peppers are great on pizza, in stir fries, or for stuffing.

pepper plant
There are small pepper plants available that will fit in a kitchen.

Peppers are fruits (in fact, berries), but we often think of them as vegetables.  They are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Peppers provide lots of vitamin C, but red peppers have much more than green ones.

Many pepper plants grow quite tall, but there are varieties that do not.  For example, the Fresh Bites Orange Pepper from Bonnie Plants is compact – perfect for growing in a kitchen.

The plant only grows 18 to 24 inches tall.  Its roots only go 6 to 12 inches deep, so the pot does not need to be more than 1 foot tall.

Just make sure that the plant gets plenty of sun.  Also, avoid drafty windows, since peppers are sensitive to cold.

Tomatoes

Tomato plants produce yellow flowers and fruit that are red, pink, purple, black, white, or even green when ripe!  Tomatoes are used on pizza, in pasta sauce, or for fresh eating.

cherry tomatoes
Most small tomato plants produce small fruit, but it is better than no tomatoes!

Like peppers, tomatoes are technically a fruit (and a berry).  The species is from South and Central America.

Tomatoes are perennials, but are often grown as annuals in cold climates.  Many tomato plants can grow up to 6 feet high or taller.

However, there are some smaller tomato varieties that can fit indoors.  For example, Tiny Tim tomato plants only grow to 1 foot high (you can learn more about Tiny Tim tomatoes on the Victory Seeds website).

These plants are perfect for growing in the kitchen.  They only grow 12 inches tall and 14 inches wide.

Just make sure that the plant gets plenty of sun.  Also, avoid drafty windows, since tomatoes are sensitive to cold.

Conclusion

Now you have 20 ideas for plants that you can grow in your kitchen.  Maybe this list gave you some inspiration to come up with some ideas of your own.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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