A Windowsill for Cocktail Drink Garnishes

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Kitchen windowsills or sunny spots on worktops and dining tables are the ideal places for edible houseplants, especially when growing crops that can be used as soon as they are picked. Culinary herbs are an obvious choice, but for something a little different, grow garnishes and flavourings for a home-grown cocktail party.

Windowsill Garden

The Botanical Collection

For gin cocktails, use herbs with flavours that will complement the botanicals of the spirit. Robust and punchy-flavoured plants, such as the Greek lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum) or lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus), lemon verbena (Aloysia citradora) and rose-scented pelargonium (Pelargonium “Attar of Roses” is an excellent choice), will all grow well on a sunny windowsill.

Windowsill Garden

The Pimm’s Garnish Collection

Windowsill Garden

If you have space, try planting these together in one large planter. Dwarf cucumber plants (varieties suitable for pots or labelled as “dwarf”) or cucamelons can climb up supports or trail over the edge. Borage will grow tall; pinch out the growing tips of young plants to create a bushy rather than tall plant. Alpine strawberries will cover the rest of the pot to complete the garnish.

Muddling Herbs

For a mojito or other long drink, mint is hard to beat. Virtually indestructible, it is easy to propagate by putting a stem in water until it sprouts roots. Even better, there are so many varieties, such as pineapple mint, strawberry mint and chocolate peppermint, not to mention the basic peppermint and spearmint.

Ginger leaves can be used like mint, and it also makes a great houseplant for a sunny, warm spot. It can be grown from an organic root, bought from a supermarket or food market; plant in a shallow tray until it sprouts, then pot on. See below for more detailed instructions.

Windowsill Garden

Ginger Roots

It is easy to grow ginger from “roots”, technically rhizomes bought from a supermarket. Use the plumpest, freshest-looking roots. Organic ones are preferable because commercial growth inhibitors are sometimes used on non-organic roots which can stop them sprouting once planted. You may find there are already some swollen buds visible.

Plant in a shallow pot in multipurpose compost, so that the root is about half submerged in the compost. Keep the compost moist and the container in a hot place (ideally 25 to 28 C). Shoots should sprout from the root. Once it is established in the shallow pot, it can be potted up to a larger one. In the autumn, cut back the old stems as they die.

Windowsill Garden

Planting a Windowsill Cocktail Garden

Windowsill Garden

All these collections will be fine planted in multipurpose compost. Plant either singly in an array of pots or all together in one window box or large trough planter. Prepare a small wigwam of canes or cucamelon to climb up and secure the plant to one of them; otherwise, let it trail over the side. Wayward stems can be snipped off.


Water as required, and feed throughout spring and summer. Regular picking will keep most herbs to size. When mint becomes pot-bound (i.e. the roots have filled the pot, leaving no room for them to expand), divide the plant into two or three new plants and pot up individually.

Ocimum basilicum

Windowsill Garden

Also known as sweet or common basil, this aromatic annual has bright green leaves, and tiny pink or white flowers swirled around a short spike. The flower heads should be pinched out to encourage the growth of the edible leaves. Not only ideal as an addition to cocktails, but it also has many culinary uses including pasta sauces and lasagna. It is easy to grow from seed and prefers warmth and light, well-drained soil. Its origins are unknown but is thought to be from Asia. Be aware, that it is not recommended that pregnant women or small children consume basil oil.

Thymus citriodorus

This is a lemon-scented evergreen plant, whose fragrance can be released by rubbing its leaves. It sits happily with other plants but requires some cutting back regularly to ensure it does not overwhelm them. During summer, it produces pretty lilac flowers and would be ideal on a sunny windowsill. The tiny leaves can be harvested regularly and either used straight away or dried, for future use. Not only perfect for adding a lemon essence to a cocktail, but it can also be added as a seasoning to soups, salads, sauces and stews, and is ideal with fish dishes.

Windowsill Garden

Aloysia citradora

Also known as lemon verbena, this aromatic shrub can be deciduous or evergreen, and produces tiny white or pale lilac flowers. It originates from South America and is widely found in Chile and Argentina. It is easy to grow and prefers well-drained soil, with its container placed in a sunny position on the windowsill, as it is sensitive to cold. Its pointed leaves bruise easily to release the lemon fragrance and are slightly rough to the touch. Other than as a welcome addition to a cocktail, lemon verbena can be used to make a refreshing herbal tea or with fish.

Windowsill Garden

Pelargonium “Attar of Roses”

Having strongly scented leaves, this shrub can be evergreen or perennial and has small clusters of pink flowers with five petals each. The rose fragranced foliage adds a nice to touch to summer cocktails, and the flowers, when cut, are long-lasting when displayed in a vase. The leaves also add a surprising floral edge to an apple and blackberry pie. The roots of the pelargonium can dry out very quickly, and need to be covered entirely with large volumes of compost, and regular watering is required. A high potash fertiliser can be useful during the summer months for growth.

Windowsill Garden

Share Your Story

What’s your favourite cocktail? Have you ever thought of growing your own garnishes? Do you have any other suggestions as what to plant in a windowsill cocktail garden? I hope you enjoyed my article, and it has given you some ideas. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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  1. Hi Diane, What great ideas. Thank you.

    My kitchen windowsill gets the full afternoon sun so think not such a good idea for me to plant these there but with all the information you have given me, I have decided to grow my herbs on my balcony which gets morning sun. Some of the herbs you have suggested I have not tried to grow before so will give them a shot.

    I had a beautiful Lemon Verbena growing in my last garden, it grew into a large tree so I guess I shall have to keep the balcony one well pruned. Lots of G and T’s should do the trick. Haha!

    Your posts are inspiring me to get out into the garden although it is winter here right now althoughI am sure it will be fine to plant up a few herbs.

    1. Hi – thank you for your nice comments. I too have lemon verbena, and even though I cut it back each spring, it seems determined to take over the whole garden! All the best, Diane.

  2. Hi

    Growing your own cocktail ingredients that sounds like a good idea. I do grow more own herbs from basil, parsley, thyme, chives for culinary purposes, but  I am keen to  broaden my horizon.

    Most cucumber plants are vines and will grow indefinitely, even  those that make baby cucumbers. I cannot imagine growing this in a house unless you have a big windowsill. I have grown cucamelons before and know how big the plant can get. Tried the fruit and was solely disappointed. In fact, most people who have tried cucamelons do not like them.

    Thank you for this article.



    1. Hi Antonio – thanks for taking the time to read my post. I have to agree that the taste of a cucamelon is somewhat underwhelming, but I still enjoy growing them. All the best, Diane.

  3. Hi, it’s me again. I just can’t stop reading all your wonderful posts.

    I love the idea of having fresh ingredients growing on my kitchen windowsill ready to pick and use when I make my wife her favourite cocktails. It will save me so much time, and of course, money if the ingredients were all to hand

    One thing though is that I would be worried that they would overgrow and start to take over the whole windowsill

    I haven’t had any experience growing these types of plants indoors on a small scale before so how would I be able to keep them under control?

    Can I clip the plants if they get too long?

    1. Hi – you are fast becoming my number one visitor! Mint and thyme will be the main culprits when it comes to taking over your pots. A simple trim once a month will solve the problem and not harm the plant’s growth. All the best, Diane.

  4. Many thanks to you for sharing such an excellent article with us. I like to grow grandfathers in windows in my kitchen and I want to make my wife his favourite cocktail. Because my kitchen gets all the sun in the morning it will be great because you have given your registration information. Also, I love to garden I have a vegetable garden in my backyard. And I get fresh vegetables from my garden every day that are very beneficial to the body and completely free of formalin. And reading your article has inspired me even more to enter the garden.

    1. Hi – thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I am pleased that you see the benefit of growing your own fresh vegetables, and I hope you try my idea of creating a windowsill cocktail garden. All the best, Diane

  5. Wow, great post on windowsill cocktail gardens. One of my favorite plants to use in drinks is mint as I really enjoy mojitos, and also mint juleps every year around the time of the Kentucky Derby. Another interesting choice is the ginger roots. I imagine that they would give the drink a little kick while actually adding nutrients as well. Another plant that I like to use is horseradish in bloody mary’s. This is a fantastic reference and I will be sure to save your post with springtime soon approaching, well done!

    1. Hi – thank you for reading my article and leaving a comment. I am pleased you are going to save it, and I hope you enjoy your cocktail hours! All the best, Diane

  6. This is really interesting, although I have the space that I used in growing some plants in, I do have some small herbs plant pots on my window. I like the idea of homegrown garnishings and flavorings. I have a small cucumber garden at the back of my house and then there are some tangerines and oranges in the front yard. I am thinking about something else to add to the collection at the back of the house, I have a few vegetables also. I think I am going to follow your ideas and do some more planting at my windowsill. 

    1. Hi – thank you for taking the time to read my article. I am pleased to see you enjoy growing your own produce, and I hope you have success with a windowsill garden. All the best, Diane

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this knowledge with us all.  It is indeed true that when the house is well planned out, everything looks great. Though my Mom had something like this at her place, I never felt a need to grow it online before until I saw the details of how you have explained it and the growing process the suggestions are cool and I’d look into it

    1. Hi – thank you for reading this article and leaving a comment. I am pleased you enjoyed it and I hope you are inspired enough to set up your own windowsill cocktail garden. All the best, Diane

  8. Hi Diane,

    Thank you for this wonderful post, you have carefully selected highly nutritious vegetables and herbs.
    Growing ginger from roots does very well in my environment and it is easy to grow as you highlighted, another one of great interest to me is the dwarf cucumber plants. I can start a little business in my area with the cucumber. You just helped me see this idea 

    1. Hi – thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I am pleased you found it helpful, and I wish you every success in your new business. All the best, Diane

  9. Many thanks to you for sharing such a beautiful article with us and I got the opportunity to discuss a wonderful topic. You mentioned in your article some of the wonderful trees that we can plant in the cornice of our home if we want. I have loved trees since I was a kid, and on the porch of my house I planted a lot of trees and And when I get some time I look after my plants. You mentioned in your article about The Pimm’s Garnish Collection. I already have it in my collection and I think that after reading this article, many people will know a lot and share their experiences with you very soon.

    1. Hi – thank you for taking a look at this article. I am pleased you are already growing dwarf cucumbers from the Pimms collection, and I hope you have found some more ideas on what to grow indoors. All the best, Diane

  10. This Article on Windowsill Cocktail Garden is very expressive and want to make me start growing one immediately but will it actually survive the Germany Weather. I love Ginger and drink it as often as possible but have never thought it could be possible to grow the plant on my Windowsill. Haven read this Article, I have to give it a trial. I am going to have lemon and Ginger planted on my Windowsill. Nothing could be better than having it fresh.

    Thank you for the amazing Article

    1. Hi – thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I am pleased you enjoyed this article and I hope you have success in growing lemon and ginger. All the best, Diane

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