Microgreens
Published February 14, 2022 by Nicole Burke

The Best Varieties of Microgreens to Grow at Home

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microgreens
indoor gardening
The Best Varieties of Microgreens to Grow at Home

Ready to Grow Your Own Microgreens?

I like to experiment in the garden, so I've grown tons of different plants as microgreens over the years to determine which give me that garden-fresh flavor I crave during the winter months in the north.

I have to admit, I don't care for the flavors of some of the plants I've grown as microgreens. If you're ready to grow your own migrogreens, I recommend experimenting with different families so you can figure out for yourself which ones you love the most.

The plants I recommend below are proven winners. I've vetted all of them myself and know that they'll give you good production for your efforts. Let's dive into the best plants to grow as microgreens!

microgreens

My favorite types of microgreens to grow indoors

Microgreens Types

The plants listed below are safe to eat from the moment the first green sprouts from the seed. Let's start with my favorite plant family to grow as microgreens.

Plants in the Brassica, or Dark Greens, Family Can Be Grown as Microgreens

Members of this super nutritious family include kale, mustard, radish, arugula, broccoli, and kohlrabi, all of which can be grown indoors as microgreens. That means no more waiting for the right weather outside to start your dark leafy greens.

Some of my favorites within this family include kohlrabi, which will give you microgreens with a beautiful purple-tinged color, and kale, that good ol' nutritional powerhouse, which also happens to be very productive as a microgreen.

It might surprise you to learn that broccoli and cauliflower can be grown as microgreens. Many gardeners are intimidated by the time required to grow a full head of broccoli in the garden, but you can grow broccoli sprouts and cauliflower sprouts just as quickly as other plants in your microgreens tray.

Brassica Standouts: Radish Microgreens and Arugula Microgreens

Radishes and arugula are praised for their quick time-to-harvest in the garden, but guess what—you can harvest them even faster if you grow them as microgreens. (You'll obviously be growing radishes for their greens, not their root, in this case.) You'll be amazed the first time you bite into the teeny tiny leaves of arugula microgreens and find all the peppery flavor of mature leaves.

radishes can be grown for their leaves as radish microgreens

Plants in the Amaranth, or Spinach, Family Can Be Grown as Microgreens

This family is so, so good for you and easy to grow. Microgreens varieties in this family include spinach, beets, and swiss chard.

These seeds tend to be a little slower to germinate than seeds from the Brassica family, but they grow very well for you once they sprout. There are even packets you can buy that are marketed as "baby greens" in this family, meaning they're intended to be grown a little bit bigger than your typical microgreen. You'll end up with bigger leaves that you could use in a smoothie or small salad.

swiss chard, spinach, and beets can be grown as microgreens

Plants in the Aster, or Lettuce, Family Can Be Grown as Microgreens

Lettuce plants are easy to grow as microgreens thanks to lettuce seeds sprouting and growing very quickly (as long as you keep them nice and moist).

Lettuce plants that can be grown as microgreens include buttercrunch and romaine, but really, you can grow any of your favorite leafy greens from this family as much smaller leafy greens.

The other plant from this family that can be grown as a microgreen might be a surprise to you since it's something we normally associate with its beautiful flowers and tasty seeds—the sunflower. Sunflowers make fantastic microgreens since they grow very quickly and fill up a tray with leaves. I love the crunchy texture and nutty flavor they bring to my dishes as microgreens. The large size of sunflower seeds also makes them easier to sow in a tray.

sunflowers can be grown as microgreens

Plants in the Apiaceae, or Carrot, Family Can Be Grown as Microgreens

You can grow carrots, cilantro, parsley, and dill as microgreens. I have grown carrots as microgreens, but my preference tends to be cilantro, dill, and parsley.

Seeds in this family are slower to germinate than your Brassica and Aster family seeds, so you're looking at 15, if not 30, days before you can harvest microgreens from this family. If you can practice a bit more patience to grow these guys, you'll be rewarded with incredible flavors to sprinkle over your dishes. I love tossing cilantro microgreens into tacos during the winter when I'm really missing garden-fresh flavors.

parsley can be grown as microgreens

One Plant in the Lamiaceae, or Mint, Family Can Be Grown as a Microgreen

Basil only likes to grow in warmer weather, but you can be growing basil as a microgreen all year long if you love this herb's incredible taste. Basil sprouts quickly from seed, and you'll get a ton of summery flavor from just a couple of leaves.

basil can be grown as a microgreen

Plants in the Fabaceae, or Pea, Family Can Be Grown as Microgreens

Pea varieties from this family like sugar snaps and snow peas can be grown as microgreens. These grow really well and give you a lot of plant mass for the space. You can actually turn these into a side dish on their own, instead of just sprinkling them on a sandwich or pizza.

peas can be grown as microgreens

Your Comprehensive Microgreens List

  • buttercrunch lettuce
  • romaine lettuce
  • sunflowers
  • kale
  • mustard
  • radishes
  • arugula
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • kohlrabi
  • basil
  • carrot
  • dill
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • spinach
  • beets
  • swiss chard
  • peas
  • nasturtiums

Microgreens FAQs to help you pick the best varieties to grow

What Do Microgreens Taste Like?

Incredibly, microgreens taste like the mature plant itself. The flavor profile of microgreens includes spicy, peppery, earthy, sweet, nutty, and summery (like basil). Use microgreens like herbs to add your favorite garden flavors to your meals.

The most important thing to remember when picking seeds to grow as microgreens is going with something you actually want to eat! If you don't like the taste of cilantro, you're not going to like that flavor coming from much smaller cilantro leaves sprinkled all over your plate.

You will be tending these little guys every single day, so make sure you're working toward growing flavors you can't wait to consume.

new to gardening?

Take our fun and fast Green Thumb Quiz to learn which plants are best for you to try your hand at growing in the kitchen garden. We'll send you resources and helpful tips to help you grow everything from microgreens to your own intensively planted and thriving kitchen garden.

Which Microgreens Are the Healthiest?

Contained within a microgreen are all the nutrients that would have eventually spread out to the entire plant. That means that all microgreens are super healthy because you're getting a higher concentration of all the good stuff you would have gotten from the stem, the leaves, the fruit, and/or the seeds.

That being said, the healthiest microgreens come from the Brassica and Amaranth family, both known for being incredibly nutrient-dense families.

Lettuce microgreens aren't quite as nutritious as plants in the Brassica or Amaranth family. Since lettuce plants grow and are ready to harvest so quickly outdoors, I usually don't plant as many lettuce seeds to grow as microgreens as I do seeds from the Brassica and Amaranth family. To me, microgreens from the Aster family are also not quite as tasty (with the exception of sunflowers).

WATCH THE 7-VIDEO SERIES ON MICROGREENS

Gardenary 365 is a garden-centered community that provides all you need to form and keep the best health habits in less than 30 minutes a day. Your Gardenary 365 subscription includes access to the 7-video series on microgreens.

A quick word of caution

Which Plants Should Not Be Grown as Microgreens

You should not grow any plant as a microgreen that has leaves known to be bad for human consumption. Poisonous plants include members of the Solanaceae, or Nightshade, family, such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or tomatillos, which have a high level of toxic alkaloids in their leaves and stems.

While eating tomato microgreens probably wouldn't kill you, it could definitely make you sick—and who wants that? The whole point of growing microgreens is to grow something fun that's good for your body.

microgreens

Learn More About Microgreens Setup

Learn about the pros and cons of growing microgreens at home and find your step-by-step garden-to-table guide to growing your own microgreens, including the supplies you'll need, here.

microgreens

Learn to Grow Microgreens Online with Our Popular Microgreens Course

I'm on a mission to get every single person in the world gardening a little bit in their very own space, and growing microgreens is one of the simplest ways that each of us can become a gardener.

If you're looking for more info on microgreens, including step-by-step video tutorials, explore my guide to growing microgreens indoors year round, available through a Gardenary 365 subscription. I've created seven informative video tutorials covering everything from microgreens varieties to consider to how to tend and harvest your microgreens. This article is a summary of just one of the lessons you'll find inside Gardenary 365.

Here's to growing bunches of your own microgreens this year!

WATCH THE 7-VIDEO SERIES ON MICROGREENS

Gardenary 365 is a garden-centered community that provides all you need to form and keep the best health habits in less than 30 minutes a day. Your Gardenary 365 subscription includes access to the 7-video series on microgreens.

The Best Varieties of Microgreens to Grow at Home