Edible House Plants

Cardamom and kaffir lime enjoying the view from the computer room window

When I visited the Edible Garden Show in March, I was inspired by James Wong's talk to bring home a cardamom (the green one i.e. true cardamom, not the black) and a kaffir lime plant. NAH and I use both of these extensively in our cooking, so it made sense to have a go at growing them for myself.

I hadn't set out with the intention of extending my GYO activities to embrace edible houseplants, but reading the cultivation notes, I soon realised I'd inadvertently branched out. They're both relatively tender plants (OK with temperatures down to around -2 to -5 oC), so most places in the UK will have to keep these indoors for the winter at least. I might let them out for a holiday out in the garden sometime, if the weather ever warms up again.

My track record with house plants isn't that good, so the fact I still have these a few months further on is encouraging. I've also spotted a new flower spike forming on one of my orchids this week, so things are definitely improving. As a result, I'm very tempted to get a vanilla grass plant and I've started looking speculatively at the root ginger in our fridge to see if I can spot any shoots...

Do you grow any edible house plants? Any hints and tips for a newbie?


  1. My suggestion would be to try tumeric. If you can get hold of some fresh tumeric root (available in a lot of supermarkets now) you can soon get it going with a bit of warmth and some moist compost. Looks/harvest-wise it's basically a mini-ginger with a much thinner rhizome (and fresh tumeric is super-healthy).

  2. I love citrus plants, so I shall keep a lookout for a Kaffir lime. I grow lemons indoors, and they do surprisingly well, although the leaves tend to drop off every so often. I also grow peppers and chillis on the windowsill, as they don't seem to like it outside.

  3. What a great idea! I have plenty of house plants and grow chillies, peppers and aubergines in my greenhouse, but I'd never considered edible houseplants before......!

  4. tai haku - welcome! Now turmeric - we use loads but I think it needs lots of warmth?

    CJ - I used to have a Calamondin orange, but it didn't survive :( Re chillis - you've been sneakily looking at my post for Friday ;)

    NG - hello again! I don't have a greenhouse, hence the edible houseplants ;)

  5. Hi VP -I wouldn't worry too much about heat. my tumeric didn't get lots of warmth - it did very well in my conservatory which does get hot in the summer but at the same time probably goes down to near freezing in winter (it did slow down in winter but no more than my chillis do) - I think it'd want decent light though

  6. PS - here he is in his early days:

  7. Ginger is also a great houseplant, and the flowers are beatiful.

    But I thought with you pea shoots and indoor salads that you have been eating houseplants for a while now?

  8. Thanks for the extra info tai - it sounds like I don't have the right conditions for turmeric.

    ediblethings - I think I'll give ginger a go. Presumably I can just grow a shoot from some shop bought root? As for the pea shoots, you are right. However, I think of houseplants as lasting for more than a few weeks ;)


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