5 herbs that look just as good as houseplants and will make your whole home smell fantastic

Don't restrict herbs to the kitchen - make them part of your decor and scent scape too

herbs in kitchen
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Cooking with fresh herbs makes for an elevated kitchen experience. Food tastes instantly better when you pluck your herbs directly off the sun-warmed plant, and the subtle scent as you do so is equally pleasing, but herbs needn't be limited to your culinary endeavors. Herbs are often overlooked as houseplants despite the fact that there are so many varieties on offer, most of which will make your home smell (and look) gorgeous.

The reason for favoring herbs as houseplants is twofold. Of course, you can use the unusual foliage of herbs as the centerpiece for a coffee table or use them to add a dash of green to deep shelves in a living room. Not only can they look great, however, but their aromatic qualities add a subtle and natural scent to your home that doesn't overpower your space like artificial fragrances often can. 

If you're looking to  create an indoor garden and you're ready to discover which herbs you should be letting out of the kitchen, then look no further. For a home that smells as good as it looks, here are five houseplant-worthy herbs to introduce to your space. 

1. Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena

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You probably don't have it in your existing collection amongst the standard basil and cilantro, but perhaps you should. Lemon Verbena is not a common herb but it's known for its many health benefits. Native to South America, it's used primarily for herbal medicines and in tea and is noted to reduce inflammation thanks to its calming properties.

Aesthetically, its simple silhouette also makes it a beautiful houseplant for the home. 'This plant is known for its slender, elongated leaves,' says Harshad Sawant, professional houseplant gardener from Indoor Mint. 'Lemon verbena also offers a strong lemon scent and adds an exotic touch to your home design.' This fresh citrus scent makes it the perfect herb for a room where you need to feel refreshed and awake, so a home office would be the perfect place for this plant.

2. Chocolate mint

chocolate mint plant

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Whilst mint might be a bit too overpowering in your living room, chocolate mint adds a refreshing and comforting aroma as well as deep green foliage for a rustic look. 'I think chocolate mint gives a dash of decadence,' says interior designer Fred McGill. 'The deep green leaves emit a rich, cocoa scent when bruised which fills a room wonderfully.'

Along with the aromatic benefits, chocolate mint also has brilliant visual appeal. The distinctive dark green leaves have a hint of burgundy that makes it a great houseplant for fall decor. Opt for a terracotta pot to add to the rustic charm of this herb and place it against a backdrop of natural materials to complete the style.

3. Lavender cotton

So you've heard of lavender, but have you heard of lavender cotton? You might not be convinced that this plant is a herb, but I assure you, it is. Despite being in the lavender family, however, lavender cotton doesn't sport the typical purple flowers as the traditional shrubs do. Instead, it blooms yellow flowers in clusters, and it makes a great indoor lavender plant.

'Lavender cotton is unusual, yet profoundly elegant,' says Fred. 'Its delicate flowers add a touch of whimsy to your interior design.' For centuries, lavender has been a staple in aromatherapy treatments, but the scent isn't for everyone. Lavender cotton provides a more nuanced scent that provides a more refined, relaxing aroma. 'The top note is similar to smelling chamomile and yarrow with a fleeting red berry nuance,' Fred explains. If this sounds like your kind of fragrance then try introducing a lavender cotton plant into your home. 

4. Patchouli

Patchouli plant

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If you're after a more fall-appropriate and natural scent, patchouli might be perfect. Unlike our other herbs, it gives off a much more earthy, musky scent, perfect for fall fragrancing. 'It's an aroma that can be quite captivating,' says Harshad, 'unlike anything else you will have in your home'. 

Its statement scent is matched by its statement leaves. 'Patchouli adds a touch of bohemian chic,' says Fred. 'The large velvety leaves make it a statement piece in itself, and the iconic scent compliments this perfectly.' To incorporate this herb into your home, try utilizing a hanging planter for a cascading effect. This will make it look like your average houseplant but the scent will be a giveaway that it's anything but average.

5. Pineapple sage

pineapple sage

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'With its vibrant red blooms and pineapple-like fragrance, this herb is a stunner,' says Fred. This isn't one we were familiar with, but now we simply can't get enough of it. Like many herbs, pineapple sage has an array of health benefits, but it's also the most flower-like of the five herbs listed here, adding some beautiful color to your space. The herb is frequently used in floral arrangements for both its color and fragrance, which is sweet and light but relatively understated. 

Fortunately, herbs are quite low-maintenance indoor plants to care for. Expert gardener, Gabriel Keith, explains everything you need to be doing. 'The one essential is using well-draining soil and pots with good drainage,' he says. 'Herbs also require at least six hours of sunlight, so put them on a windowsill and don't overwater them,' he says. Don't forget to also prune them to encourage new growth while keeping them manageable. 

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.