Coffee Cup Herb Garden

  • Tame your overflowing coffee cup collection by turning it into an indoor herb garden.
  • Brighten up gray winter days by planting an indoor herb garden now.
  • Repurpose old, chipped or oversized mugs – turn them into a quick and easy indoor garden.
L-R: marjoram, cilantro, parsley, basil

I have a thing for palm trees. I don’t have a thing for gray days. Weeks of gray usually leads to a new, green palm in my living room. But I am running out of space for indoor trees, so now I have resorted to an indoor garden. Soon every windowsill will be adorned with herbs.

The garden is the result of two intersecting January phenomena; weeks of winter gray skies, and the annual desire to clean out the old!

I am not a fan of winter. Over the years I have developed several strategies to mitigate its depressing effect. I surround myself with photos of tropical beaches. I try to get away to someplace sunny every winter for at least a few days. I purchase houseplants, and more houseplants. I buy seeds and plan my summer garden.

I also am not a fan of clutter. Most of the year I can ignore the piles of magazines, books, and odds and ends that seem to multiply overnight. But January always brings a desire to CLEAN OUT! So, pants that shrunk in the closet get donated, we eat weird freezer meals until they’re gone, and oversized or chipped dishware is either tossed or saved for mosaics.

This year though I had a few coffee cups that were taking up too much cupboard space, but that I wanted to keep. For a while they captured valuable counter space. But that didn’t work either, so I turned them into an herb garden. The whole project took about 15 minutes, and within a couple of days fresh herbs were growing, bringing bright green life to my dark, east-facing kitchen.

Planting a coffee cup herb garden is a win-win-win. You get fresh herbs growing right in your kitchen, you get to keep all those cute but impractical mugs, and the indoor garden requires so little space you can grow one in your one-room apartment – or grow several in your mini-mansion! Here’s how to start your own:

  1. Purchase potting soil, pea gravel or florist pebbles, and herb seeds.
  2. Clean out your coffee cup collection!
  3. Place about ½ inch of pebbles in the bottom of each cup.
  4. Top with potting soil.
  5. Lightly water the soil, and then add a few herb seeds.
  6. Place in window and let Mother Nature do her magic.

Indoor Herb Garden Tips

Plant tall herbs like basil or lemongrass in a taller, deeper coffee cup.

Grow bushy herbs like parsley or cilantro in a wide container.

Grow smaller herbs like marjoram or oregano in a cup with a smaller mouth.

Herbs will germinate inside long before they can be planted outside.

Heat sensitive herbs will produce for a longer period inside than they will outside in the summer heat; and are less likely to bolt.

Gift repurposed coffee cup herbs and brighten someone else’s winter too!

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at Find her professional food writing info at

February 11, 2020

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  1. Indoor gardening

    Love the idea of a coffee cup herb garden! ☕🌿 Any suggestions for which herbs are best suited for small spaces like this? And how often should I water them to keep them thriving? 🌱

    • Renee Pottle

      I think any you can grow any herbs that you use a lot. I have successfully grown basil, parsley, oregano, marjoram, and chives (along with a few others, but these are the herbs I use the most). As for water, keep them moist but not wet. I let them almost dry out between waterings


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