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Growing plants in your kitchen has a simple charm that can’t be beaten. Of course, this comes with some challenges—after all, kitchens are designed for cooking, not for growing. When selecting a plant for your kitchen, there are three things to consider: size, light tolerance, and function.

Unless you have unlimited counter space—and let’s be real, that’s something we all want more of—your best options are likely underneath or on top of cabinets or in some inaccessible nook.  For this same reason, it will also need to tolerate low light levels. Given the value of counter space in our homes, if we are keeping a plant on it, that plant needs to pay its own way, either by cleaning the air or by growing something useful.

1. Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) or English Ivy

Sure, these plants will spread out over time, but proper care will keep them well-behaved in the kitchen. Pothos is great for low-light kitchens or bright spaces, but English ivy requires time in direct sunlight. Though neither produces anything useful in the kitchen, they clean the air by filtering out solvents, mold, and bacteria. You’ll breathe a little easier and a little happier with one of these adorable ivies in your kitchen.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe is a compact and useful plant but requires regular sunlight. Though visually stunning, its true beauty lies in its medicinal use. The next time you need to soothe a burn, simply cut off a lower spear, slice it lengthwise, and apply the gel for instant relief. Care is a breeze.  Letting the soil dry out between waterings is recommended as root rot is a constant threat. This bold succulent is a welcome addition to any kitchen space.

3. Herbs

Though you may not have luck growing tomatoes on your counter, you can still try your hand at basil, mint, or parsley. Most herbs need regular sunlight, but a shade-tolerant variety or plant-growing light can make these the perfect kitchen plant. Herbs can also be grown in small pots and kept to a manageable size with proper care. With the installation of a high output plant growing light, you can grow any herb right where you cook.

4. Cast Iron Plant

Though this plant serves only to bring beauty and oxygen to your room, it is unbelievably tolerant of any condition you could throw at it. This hardiness makes it worthy of its name, though it will likely need to be housed on the floor or in the corner given its height. Low or bright light, humid or arid, warm or cold, this plant won’t flinch, making it the perfect kitchen companion.

5. White Jasmine

Rounding out our list is this exquisite sweet-smelling flowering plant. It requires a little more care than others, doing best in indirect light and reliably moist soil, but its aroma and aesthetic make it worth it. The delicate scent can help create a fresh and clean environment but won’t interfere with the aromas of your gourmet creations.