Medicinal Houseplants

Let's talk medicinal, scientific name if known, light conditions, humidity requirements, size of mature plant, what they are used for, any special tips, etc. Links are certainly welcome to save everyone the trouble of typing out everything. 🙂

I would like to build a list to try to figure out what to experiment with.

I have regular culinary herbs that can also be used medicinally on the list, and passion flower has now made its way onto it as well.

I am just curious what I can grow indoors that I couldn't grow outdoors. I am in zone 3a/b so I am limited to growing most "exotic" medicinals indoors.


  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Besides the typical culinary herbs that are medicinal (basil, oregano, sage, etc.) I have a wormwood plant that seems to do better when it's more humid.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 900 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Thyme likes to grow on top of rocks, i use white quartz and some larger rocks because they enjoy ‘rock climbing’ and thrive both indoors and outdoors. A fabulous perennial!

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    There is also dragon fruit (it is very health to eat and I believe is used to treat constipation).

    I believe mulberry can be grown as a ever bearing tree indoors.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,215 admin

    @Cornelius I have dragon fruit! 😄

    Cool about the mulberry!

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) can be a medicinal plant as well as culinary--good for calming indigestion, anti-inflammatory, probably other uses as well. I ordered a small start online, I think from Jungs, and have it growing as an indoor plant. It grows slowly but steadily and doesn't require much care--just occasional watering (seems to like the soil to dry out a bit between waterings) and a sunny window. I have mine in a south-facing window and it seems very happy there. I topped the soil off with some worm castings a while back, and the plant responded with a surge of new growth not long after. It started of as a little stick about 6" tall with a couple leaves in a 2-inch pot, and two and a half years later is a pretty, bushy plant a bit over 2 feet tall with enough leaves that I can harvest a few every once in a while.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,215 admin

    @MaryRowe They grow up to 18 feet!

    I suppose some of my other plants will eventually get to a similar height too. I wonder if it's height can be controlled without too much damage. I suppose otherwise you just enjoy it while you can and replace it one day.

    I wonder how many of these trees/plants we have mentioned so far could actually be rooted with rooting hormone to be able to start a replacement off of what you already have.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Wow...18 feet....that's not going to fit in the window for sure.....

    I haven't done this systematically, but off and on I have pinched off new growth at the tips of branches that looked like they might get long and spindly--I wanted the plant to be bushy to make more leaves, and keep it compact to fit the window. It doesn't seem to mind that treatment occasionally. And I think it would be worth trying to root cuttings--I'm pretty sure the little plant I started with was a rooted cutting.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,283 admin

    It looks like my turmeric in pots is already dying. It really is almost impossible to get much natural light in my house int he winter. Oh well... time for curry!

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 it may not be dying. Tumeric dies back when it gets cold but comes up again the next season. Same with ginger.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 1,938 ✭✭✭✭✭

    judsoncarroll4 Do you have the turmeric growing indoors? If so what size pot?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,215 admin

    I found myself a bay laurel! They have either been out or super expensive wherever I've found them (but only 3 places...I still think it is a "fad" plant for stores this year). It was on sale for 1/2 price, which was still a lot. It was also the last one.

    The plant looks okay, but the mix it is in is bone dry. Unfortunately, they put some sort of granular fertilizer in the pot at the nursery it came from. Many stores here get their plants from some large greenhouses in BC, Burnaby Lake Greenhouses, and the granular fertilizer is a common one that I recognize from my nursery days.

    So, I held the dirt/pot portion under some rain water. It was so dry that it didn't want to go under, but float. I held it down for quite some time as it bubbled away & lost some soiless mix. I did this same procedure with my little coffee trees. I lost 2/4 of those, but half expected that since they were not well cared for. Now, the two left are growing happily under my bananas.

    Supposedly bananas, avocados & coffee trees like each other, which is good, because they are in the same space, albeit in different pots. 😀

    I have now topped up my bay laurel with a bit of topsoil-worm castings. It will be in an indirect light situation until I figure it has recovered.

    I have always been curious about the bay laurel, since that is the historical root of my first name. I've also always been fascinated with its historical use.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,402 admin

    I hope it does well for you @LaurieLovesLearning.

    I've tried a couple of different times but without any success. I'm blaming it on the dry air in my house. But something else I noticed with them was scale bugs. I've never had them on any other house plant and no other plants became infected when I had the bay plants. I certainly didn't notice them when I bought the plants and I checked very carefully the second time. So I can only think that they must have been eggs that I couldn't see or didn't notice cause they were in the soil. As you have pointed out, they are quite expensive so I haven't tried again.

    If you have success, I may try and give it a go again.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,215 admin

    I will watch for those bugs, since this plant most likely came from the same source.

    This season has been very humid so far. My plants indoors are enjoying it.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 900 ✭✭✭✭

    Aloe Vera. Green with spiny edges. Inside of each arm holds a gelatinous ooze. Applied to minor cuts and burns. Also, without the skin, a one-inch chunk can be swallowed to ease stomach issues.

    Raw Honey. Dark in color. Apply to burns after washing with soap to clean the area and pat the area dry. Use the backside of a spoon and lather on honey over the area. Gently place a guaze pad on top of the honey, and wrap with first-aid tape on two edges because it should be wrapped loose (not tight) . It’s important to keep it covered unless it gets wet. Remove the guaze as necessary and reapply the raw honey and keep it covered as it will run down your skin, and is very sticky.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 713 ✭✭✭✭

    I do not grow medicinal plants indoors yet. I don't have alot of light in the house.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,215 admin

    @nicksamanda11 All my windows are full of various houseplants. I really don't have room for more. That's why I bought a grow light. 😉 I just hope that I can make it work.

  • Sheila
    Sheila Posts: 105 ✭✭✭

    Bay Laurel will root from cuttings. They take quite awhile to do so. I use pots with a cactus type mix well moistened, strip the cuttings (usually about 6" long) down to a couple of leaves and pop them into the dirt. Place them in a plastic bag or terrarium if you have one and leave them to root. Check for mold occasionally and remove any cuttings that have it or that have died (they don't all make it :) ) I am lucky in that I have an almost never-ending source of cuttings from my existing plant. If you keep it pinched it will stay on the smaller side and stay bushy. Keeping it in a smaller pot helps as well. When it starts to get rootbound I will take it out and do a root trim and place it back into the same pot with new soil. It is usually at this time I will take some cuttings as well to keep it balanced between root and leaves.

    Avocado is another one that grows well for me and has a number of interesting uses for the leaves. It is said to help with Kidney stones, anti-inflammatory and a few others. It makes an interesting tea - flavours of anise and hazelnut especially if you toast the leaves first. It is also used in cooking - the leaves are used in some Mexican recipes and is really good for steaming fish in.

    Aloe Vera is a common plant that is excellent for burns - I keep one in the kitchen as I am somewhat prone to accidents. Helps with healing wounds as well.

    A number of herbs that are culinary as well as medicinal do well for me in the house as well - basil, thyme, peppermint, rosemary and lemon balm are just few that I grown year round.

    Most houseplants will also help with purifying the air in the house and helping with humidity as well.