List of garden herbs

  1. Soil that is not overly rich: As far as the soil herbs are grown in and supplemental fertilizer, herbs should be grown lean. Depending on your soil, most will not need supplemental feeding. Your herbs will have a more intense scent and flavor if they aren’t given too much fertilizer or too rich a soil. The exception is herbs grown for their flowers. Flowering herbs should certainly be given plenty of rich soil and water.
  2. Lots of sunshine: It’s the combination of sun and slightly lean soil that seems to cause the essentials oils, and therefore the fragrance and flavor of the herbs, to intensify. Find a spot where your herbs will get at least six hours a day of full sun.
  3. Regular water, but with good drainage: Few plants enjoy having their roots in wet or continually damp soil. Wet roots may eventually rot. At the very least, they will weaken the plant and invite disease. This is even more crucial than usual when you plan on using the roots, stems, or leaves. Many herbs from the Mediterranean area, like rosemary, oregano, thyme, and lavender, are drought tolerant, but that doesn’t mean you should allow them to languish in dry heat. Use some common sense and let your herbs tell you when they need a drink.
  4. Periodic trimming and harvesting, to keep them full: Some gardeners find it very hard to cut any of their plants. They don’t cut flowers to bring indoors and don’t even like to prune overgrown plants. Hopefully, you are growing your herbs to use, so pruning and trimming won’t be a problem. If you don’t trim and use your herbs, the plants will grow tall and lanky and annual herbs will go to seed quickly. Even woody perennial herbs like rosemary, lavender, and sage, will grow fuller and have less weak, dead wood if pruned at least once a year.

Herbs are one of the most rewarding container crops. Most are also easy to grow. Still, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to make sure your potted herbs reach their bushy, lush best.

Lorraine Melton, head grower at the herb farm Herbal Haven, gave me two key pieces of advice. Firstly, make sure you pick your herbs regularly during the growing season, and make sure you pick them in the right way. Most importantly, don’t pick stems from the base of the plant. This encourages tall, lanky plants. Instead, pick off the tips of each stem – about the top inch or two (depending on the size of the herb), just above a pair of leaves. Two new shoots will grow from each stem, creating a fuller plant.

Secondly, you need to feed all your herbs in containers with liquid seaweed (or worm tea) while they are growing. This can transform weak specimens into strong, lush plants. Liquid seaweed is packed with trace elements and minerals that will help the herbs retain good flavour too.

I’ve tried growing more than 30 different herbs in containers. Here are 10 that I wouldn’t be without. I’ve chosen them for how easy they are to grow in containers, and for how useful and versatile they are in the kitchen.

1. Mint

A fantastic container crop, and so versatile. You can use it for everything from tea to mojitos, to mint and coriander chutney. Its also easy to grow – it’ll even cope with difficult shady spaces that only get a little sun.

It’s a greedy beast though, and needs regular feeding to grow well. Put each plant in its own five litre pot, keep it well watered and pick it regularly. It will soon grow into a large bushy plant that will give you a constant supply of leaves from April to November, year after year. Once your plant is established, take it out of the pot each spring after its winter die back, and divide it into halves or quarters, and re-pot it with fresh compost. This helps it to keep its vigour – and provides you with new plants to expand your mint collection or give away.

There are many varieties – some are more suitable for tea, some for cooking. I’ve had lots of fun trying out several different ones – though my favourite is one I bought from the supermarket and planted out.

Mint can be a greedy beast – but with care it will keep you supplied all year. Photograph: Mark Ridsdill Smith

2. Chives

Brilliant in salads, snipped up over soups, or added as garnish to many dishes. The flowers are cheerful in the spring, taste yummy – and the bees love them too. This is another easy one to grow and only needs four or five hours’ of sun. Make sure it doesn’t dry out, as chives like damp soil.

3. Sage 4. Bay 5. Thyme and 6. Rosemary

Easy to grow with unique flavours, these classic herbs are excellent for soups, stocks, meats, pastas and more. They don’t like wet roots – so grow in well-drained soil and take care not to over-water. You can grow sage from seed, the others are better bought as plants or grown from cuttings (bay is difficult from cuttings, though).

7. Parsley

This is slow to get going from seed but once established will give you leaves for nearly two years before it flowers and dies. I like a lot of parsley and once filled a whole window box with it.

8. Coriander

Planted in the spring, coriander quickly flowers and goes to seed. You can try and delay this (by keeping it well watered and fed, growing it in a more shady space, and cutting the leaves regularly), but it will happen eventually, whatever you do. Don’t worry: the flowers are magnets for hoverflies (whose larvae eat aphids) and the green seeds are delicious.

August through to September is the best time to sow coriander, when it is much less prone to bolt. You’ll get leaves throughout the late autumn, the plants will survive most winters, and it’ll grow back strong and lush in the spring.

9. Basil

This loves the warmth. It’s best grown in a warm, bright, sheltered spot (it thrives in green houses) and sown when the weather warms in June. It also doesn’t like going to bed with wet roots – so grow in well-drained soil and water in the morning.

10. Sorrel

Despite having its profile raised by Ottolenghi (who uses it in several recipes), sorrel remains a stranger to supermarket shelves. It has a strong, sour flavour with a lemony bite. Cooked, sorrel forms classic combinations with eggs and with salmon, or you can chop up a few fresh leaves and add to salads. It is easy to grow in a container. Plant six to eight plants (which are easy to start from seed) in a window box with at least four hours sun and it will give you a flavour hit all year round. Pick the outer leaves and it will keep producing new leaves.

With a few more pots, I’d add in lovage (to add depth of flavour to risottos and stocks), Vietnamese coriander (much easier to grow than normal coriander and a must if you like spicy food) dill, tarragon (wonderful but temperamental to grow – it hates getting its roots wet), lemon verbena (brilliant for herb tea), blackcurrant sage (beautiful, cheerful flowers), winter savory, lemongrass (grow from supermarket lemongrass stalks), and oregano.

You can grow herbs in pots together as long as you remember two rules: avoid mixing those that like plenty of water (such as chives, mint, chervil, coriander, Vietnamese coriander) with those that like a well-drained soil (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, bay, and oregano). And choose herbs of similar sizes for the same pot – a large rosemary will swamp a small thyme plant, for example. So if you want to mix rosemary and thyme, look for a small, compact form of rosemary.

I find five litre pots are a good size for most herbs (bay, rosemary and lovage may need something bigger) – big enough to support decent-sized plants, but small enough to fit in a small space. You can grow herbs in smaller pots, but five litres (and larger) are a lot easier to look after, as small pots dry out too quickly.

It’s easy to continue growing in pots throughout winter. Next time we’ll look at what to grow in winter and how to do it.

Stuck for space to grow? Try planting herbs in containers

Mark is Founder of Vertical Veg a social enterprise that inspires and supports food growing in containers in small spaces. For free, seasonal container growing tips, sign up to his newsletter at

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What’s more satisfying than growing your own herb garden? With this list of herbs, you’ll have plenty of choices. Whether you have a large space or just a few pots on a patio, growing a crop of herbs like basil, oregano or thyme to harvest gives a feeling of accomplishment. Once you’ve mastered the basic herbs, try the more exotic types.

Here’s our comprehensive list of herbs to choose from! Did we leave anything out? Leave a comment and let us know, so we can add it.

Don’t miss our guide to 14 medicinal herbs you can grow at home, or our complete list of adaptogenic herbs.

Aloe Vera

It’s technically a succulent and can be grown as a houseplant, but the juice and gel from the aloe vera plant’s leaves can be used as an herbal remedy to soothe sunburns and other minor skin irritations so it made the list. It is also used by some to relieve mild stomach irritation, to treat acne, to relieve the symptoms of eczema, and even to stimulate hair growth. Learn to grow aloe vera.

Angelica (wild celery)

Angelica has been cultivated as an herb and medicinal plant for centuries, and achieved popularity in Scandinavia as far back as the 12th century. Roots, fruits and stems are all useful. Learn more.


Anise has a licorice taste and can be eaten whole or dried and ground to flavor foods or help with digestion. Learn more.


Aralia racemosa, American spikenard root, is native in the Eastern United States. The root of Aralia is often used in teas and tonics with a balsamic flavor. The root is harvested in the late summer and can be dried to preserve. With Aralia in the Ginseng Family, it has similar effects as ginseng root. American spikenard is also used to make a poultice for rheumatism and eczema. Learn more about aralia.


Arnica montana, also known as wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica is considered toxic if ingested, and is typically used topically as an herb. It is a European flowering plant in the sunflower family.


Astragalus propinquus or Astragalus membranaceus, commonly known as Mongolian milkvetch or Huáng Qí. An herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. The dried root is used medicinally. It is also known as an adaptogen.


Basil’s name is derived from the Greek word meaning royal. Over 100 varieties of basil have been identified, although not all of these are culinary. You can select and plant a large assortment of Basil with leaves ranging from small to large and red to purple and taste of cinnamon to lemon. Basil is considered a nutrient dense herb with benefits of flavonoids, antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and Vitamins A, K, and C. Read more about growing basil.


Bay is also called laurel leaf or sweet bay. The leaf is from a perennial shrub that grows well in a container. Whole leaf is used in cooking or teas. Commonly used in French, Spanish, Italian, and Creole dishes, including soups, stews, sauces and pickling brines. Historically, the Bay tree is a symbol of honor. Leaves were often used in head wreaths in Greek and Roman mythology. Learn more about growing bay.


Bayberry has a medium salt tolerance, and grows well in sandy, well-drained soils. The berries have been used in candle making, the leaves to flavor meats and stews, and the dried root made into powders. Learn more about growing bayberry varieties. Bayberry is also called Wax Myrtle.

Bee balm

Bee balm (also known as Oswego tea, horsemint and bergamot) is a member of the mint family. It grows best in full sun and has red, white, pink lilac or purple flowers. Bee balm is a perennial and is known to attract pollinators to the garden. Read more about growing bee balm here.


Borage grows to two feet tall and incorporates well in flower, vegetable, and herb gardens. Use Borage in the vegetable garden to attract pollinators and repel hornworms around tomatoes. The leaves and flowers are edible. Medicinally, borage is used as an anti-inflammatory. Learn how to grow borage.


Burnet is an herb native to western, central and southern Europe; northwest Africa and southwest Western Asia; and also commonly grown and spread throughout North America.
The herb is used as an ingredient in both salads and dressings, having a flavor like cucumber. Learn more about how to grow burnet.

California bay

Can be eaten whole, but bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. As with many herbs and spices, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme. Learn more about California bay.


Calamint plants are native to the UK and have thick stems and are bushy herbs that spread from rhizomes. The leaves are textured with hairy or fuzzy foliage. Learn more about growing calamint.


Calendula has yellow and orange edible flowers. Learn to grow calendula.


Caraway is a biennial herb native to Europe and Western Asia. Caraway roots and seeds are edible. Often licorice flavored seeds are used in sauerkrauts, breads, soups, sauces, and pickles. Roots can be boiled and eaten. Medicinally, Caraway is used to help treat rheumatism, eye infections and toothaches. Learn more about growing caraway.


Member of the mint family, and like other mints can easily spread. It is a perennial with blue flowers and grown as decorative herb in garden or to attract pollinators. As catnip is used to stuff cat toys, it is attractive to outdoor cats in your garden area. Learn more about growing catnip.


Cayenne is not completely an herb, but is often grown as a spice. Cayenne powder is made from the fruit of the plant by grinding the dried hot peppers. Read more about growing peppers, including growing cayenne peppers here.


Commonly used to calm nervous system and digestive system as a tea. Both the leaves and flowers are edible. Chamomile is versatile growing in shade, full sun, and even indoors in containers. Learn more about chamomile.


Chervil is sometimes called French parsley or garden parsley. It grows best from seed, as the seedlings are fragile for transplanting. Leaves and stems are commonly used in French cuisine with a mild flavor between anise and parsley. It is recommended to succession plant chervil, as it tends to bolt quickly. Learn more about growing chervil here.


Chives are perennials native to Asia and Eastern Europe and can help with digestion and high blood pressure. When planting chives, be sure to give them time to germinate, as they are slow growers. Learn more about growing chives here, including harvesting tips.


Cicely, Myrrhis odorata, is a perennial native to the woodlands in central Europe. The fern-like leaves can be harvested and eaten raw or cooked with a flavor similar to anise. Grows best in partial shade and grows well in deep containers. Learn more about


Cilantro is a cool season herb and bolts quickly as temperatures rise. To have a healthy harvest of cilantro, succession plant every three to four weeks. Cilantro easily self-seeds, since it is quick to flower. Cilantro refers to the leaves of the plant and coriander the seeds. Learn how to grow cilantro, as well as popular varieties.


Comfrey, also called blackwort, is a perennial with a deep root system, often overtaking an herb garden. Comfrey can grow up to five feet tall and spreads a few feet, as well. Comfrey is rich in Calcium and Vitamin C used medicinally for healing. Learn more about growing comfrey here.


Coriander is used to flavor many Latin and Indian recipes. It is also known as cilantro. Coriander is an annual herb and the entire plant can be used from the leaves to the seeds, which are the part that we refer to as coriander. Coriander has many medicinal uses. Learn more about the health benefits of coriander here.


Costmary is a perennial herb that grows to four feet high. Learn about Costmary here. Costmary is commonly used to add a spicy flavor ale.


Cotula is an annual herb with a strong odor. It is called stinking chamomile because it has an unpleasant odor. It is most commonly used in tea. It is less effective as a medicinal herb than chamomile. Learn more about Cotula here.

Cuban Oregano

Cuban oregano is a perennial herb with a strong flavor, just like oregano. Cuban oregano is used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. It has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties. You can learn more about cuban oregano here.


Dill is an annual herb that is in the same plant family as celery. It is commonly used for pickling and served with salmon. It loses flavor quickly so it is best used fresh. It is easy to grow and has many medicinal uses too. Read more about dill here.

Dittany of Crete

Dittany is not a widely used herb today. Historically it was used for healing. It is similar to marjoram and oregano. It has small pink or lavender flowers and hairy oval leaves. You can learn more about dittany of Crete here.


Epazote is used in Mexican cooking. Epazote is a perennial herb that grows up to four feet high. It also has many medicinal uses but isn’t widely available. See how to use epazote here.


There are two types of fennel, the herb and the bulb. The herb looks like dill and grows up to five feet high and the stems, leaves and seeds are useful. The bulb variety is shorter and darker. Both forms have a similar anise flavor. Learn more.


Feverfew is a flower herb in the daisy family and it is often grown for ornamental use. It has a yellow and white bloom. Feverfew has medicinal uses as well; it is commonly used for migraines. Learn more about Feverfew.


Foxglove has large bell shaped pink and purple blooms. It is actually poisonous, which earned it the nickname deadmen’s bells. Foxglove contains cardiac glycosides digitoxin and digoxin, which when used correctly are common in heart treatment drugs used today. Read more about foxglove here.


Garlic is probably one of the most widely used herbs in cooking. It is in the lily family like onions and shallots. When eaten raw garlic has a very strong flavor. Garlic is also widely used for medicinal purposes. You can learn more about how to grow garlic here.


Geraniums are a perennial herb with beautiful five-petal white and pink flowers and long stems. Geraniums are primarily used for making tea that has a floral flavor. The essential oil from geranium flowers is also used for medicinal purposes. Learn about the health benefits from geraniums here.


Germander is a perennial herb that is used as ground cover. It is in the same family as mint. Germander has a purple bloom. Germander is very popular with bees. It can be grown easily in full sun or partial shade. It has medicinal uses as well. Learn more about Germander here.


Ginger is is a perennial rhizome with annual stems that reach about three feet in height. The root is used in Asian and Indian cuisine frequently. Ginger also has widely known medicinal benefits. It is often used for motion sickness and stomach upset. Learn more about how to grow ginger here.

Gingko Biloba

Gingko biloba is commonly referred to simply as gingko. It is one of the oldest species of trees that is still alive today. The tree produces fruit which is inedible. The dried leaves are used for medicinal purposes. Learn more about Gingko trees and their uses here.


Golden Rod


Hibiscus is an herb that comes from the petals of large shrubs or small trees that produce huge, colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers. Learn more about hibiscus benefits and how to grow hibiscus.


Horehound is a bitter perennial herb in the mint family with green and white leaves that is native to the UK and found all over Europe. Learn more about horehound.


Horseradish is a bitter herb used as medicine during the Middle Ages and is a cruciferous plant. Learn more about horseradish.


Hyssop is a drought tolerant herb that likes full sun and sandy soil. It is used in cooking and herbal medicine. Learn more about hyssop.

Johnny Jump Up (Heartease or Wild Pansy)

This flowering herb has purple and white petals and is also known as wild pansy. It has many medicinal uses. Learn more about Johnny Jump Up.


Laurel is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green leaves, in the flowering plant family Lauraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean area and is used as bay leaf for seasoning in cooking. Learn more about laurel.


Lavender is a bushy, flowering perennial herb with purple blooms growing from one to three feet tall. Learn more about lavender. Learn how to grow lavender.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family. It is used both as a culinary herb and medicinal herb. Learn more about lemon balm.

Lemon verbena

Lemon verbena is a hard to grow, fragrant perennial herb with a lemon scent. Learn more about lemon verbena.


Lemongrass is a tropical herb that grows in a grassy clump and has a lemon-like flavor. Learn more about lemongrass.

Licorice Root

Licorice root is the root of an herb that is native to Europe and Asia. Learn more about the benefits of licorice and its use as an adaptogenic herb.


Lovage is a tall, perennial herb native the UK and used as a culinary and medicinal herb. Learn more about lovage.


Lungwort is a medicinal, flowering herb. Learn more about lungwort.


Marjoram is a flowering herb with edible petals that is very similar to oregano. Learn more about growing marjoram.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a medicinal herb known for its ability to help the liver. Learn more about milk thistle and more here.


Learn how to grow mint and the health benefits of mint.



Myrtle Plant





Most people associate oregano with Italian and hispanic dishes, but actually, the herb originates in Northern Europe where it grows in the wild. Its scientific name is Origanum vulgare, and to the ancient Greeks, where it gets its name from the Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos (joy).Learn how to grow oregano and its health benefits.


Parsley is a versatile herb that can be incorporated in many different kinds of dishes for a bit of added zest. Learn how to grow parsley.






St Johns Wort










Sweet bay

Sweet cicely

Sweet Grass

Sweet woodruff




Thyme is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen herb with many culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. Learn more about growing thyme.

Tulsi / Holy Basil

Tulsi, also called Holy Basil, is considered “The Queen of the Herbs” in India for its many medicinal properties. Also spelled Tulasi or Thulasi, it has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to fight stress, for natural detoxification, and for general health improvement. Learn more about Tulsi and why it is considered an adaptogenic herb.


Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial herb that is in the same family as the herb ginger. Like with ginger, the roots are consumed. Learn more about growing turmeric or the many uses of the herb.


Valerian is a perennial herb. Its flowers are pink or white and can grow to nearly five feet tall. The extract from Valerian flowers was used as a perfume but it is also used for medicinal purposes. Read more about Valerian herb.


Witch Hazel



The bitter herb wormwood is a species of Artemisia, native to temperate regions of Europe and Northern Africa and is widely naturalized in Canada and the northern United States. It is grown as an ornamental plant and is used as an ingredient in the spirit absinthe. Learn more about wormwood uses.


This flowering herb has edible petals. With range of flower colors, it is considered a medicinal herb. But it’s also an easy, attractive, fragrant and drought-resistant addition to border plantings. Learn more and how to grow it.


Zedoary, also known as white turmeric and kentjur, is native to India and Indonesia. As with turmeric, the rhizome or root is the most valued part of the plant that is consumed. Learn more about zeodary.

Did we miss any herbs that you like to grow or use? Please leave a comment with the name, so we can update the list!

Want to have an herb garden that your friends and neighbors will “oooh” and “aaaah” at? Peruse this list of the top 12 must-have herbs for your kitchen garden to learn how to plant, grow, and use the best and most popular herbs around!

Also, in order to get the most out of your kitchen garden, be sure to check out our post about harvesting and preserving fresh herbs.

1. Basil

Sweet Basil is one of the most popular kitchen herbs around the world. Known for it’s anise-like flavor and intense clove-like aroma, Dried or fresh, basil is great for cooking or for creating an invigorating atmosphere anywhere in your home. Basil also offers several medicinal uses, including as a deodorizer, anti-arthritic, topical antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and insect repellent. When eaten, Basil provides us healthy doses of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Grow your own basil from seed by sowing indoors in the early spring, then transplanting outdoors at least two weeks after danger of frost has passed. Basil can also be easily grown from clippings. To get the most fresh basil leaves from your plants, be sure to remove the flower stalks from mature growth when they appear. (Alternately, you may want to leave some flower stalks as basil blossoms smell wonderful and will attract pollinators to your garden.)

Germination: 5 – 10 days
Hardiness: Annual (very frost sensitive)
Light preference: Full sun / Morning sun, afternoon shade (hotter climates)
Soil conditions: Rich, moist, well-drained, pH 6 – 7
Fertilizer: Incorporate compost or blood meal at time of transplant
high-nitrogen (2:1:1 ratio) every two weeks thereafter.
Height: 24 – 30”
Spacing: 12 – 18”
Time to Harvest: 10 weeks

(Further reading: 6 Fragrant Herbs That Repel Flies)

2. Chives

Much like other Alliums (garlic, onions, shallots) growing chives can help to drive away harmful insect pests like aphids and mosquitoes from your garden. Also characteristic of Alliums, chives are high in sulfur – a natural antibiotic. When ingested, chives offer anti-inflammatory and digestive properties.

Dried or fresh chives make excellent additions to fish, soups, potatoes, and vegetable dishes. Dice up immature, unopened flower buds for a light onion-like flavor that is slightly more pungent than chopped chive leaves, but less over-powering than onions themselves.

Grow your own chives from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in the spring or fall. Chives may also be sown directly outside. After several years, divide and replant clumps in early spring. To get the most fresh chives from your plants, remember to harvest by cutting completely across the base of the plant, leaving about 1/2” stubs above ground. Removing all of the leaves at once will encourage the plant to regrow. Preserve chives at the end of the season by drying or by adding fresh herbs to oil, butter, or vinegar.

Germination: 7 – 14 days
Hardiness: Zones 3 – 9
Light preference: Sun / Part shade
Soil conditions: Rich, moist, well-drained
Fertilizer: Incorporate compost at time of transplant and fish emulsion
or other balanced plant food every 3 – 4 weeks thereafter.
Height: 12 – 18”
Spacing: 4 – 8”
Time to Harvest: varies

3. Cilantro / Coriander

Cilantro is high in antioxidant vitamin C, as well as several vitamins and minerals. It is also a revitalizing herb that aids with digestion and relieves inflammation that may cause gastric upset. Coriander seeds are known to have a positive impact on blood sugar, reducing stress in the liver and pancreas which promote better production of insulin as well as improved digestion.

The powerful flavor and aroma of Cilantro makes an excellent seasoning for meats, salsas, and Caribbean dishes. Coriander seed adds a warm spicy flavor to chicken, vegetables, and soups. For more about cooking with coriander seeds, read this article.

Grow your own cilantro and coriander by sowing seeds directly outdoors during spring and summer. Once flower buds develop, leaves will become scarce. Harvest cilantro leaves as available and allow to re-sow from coriander seeds that drop from harvested plants to continue growing throughout the season. Harvest coriander by clipping dried brown seed stalks and placing them upside-down in a brown paper bag. After a few days, seed pods will split and release coriander seeds.

Remember to keep your cilantro tidy. Clean up any spent leaves or other debris from around plants to prevent fungal infections. Also, keep an eye out for parasites like aphids which enjoy munching on tender young cilantro stems.

Germination: 7 – 10 days
Hardiness: Annual
Light preference: Full sun / Light shade
Soil conditions: Well-drained, pH 6.2 – 6.8
Fertilizer: Supplement with a balanced fertilizer every 4 – 5 weeks.
Height: 12 – 18”
Spacing: 4 – 12”
Time to Harvest: 3 – 4 weeks

4. Lavender

Lavender is one of the most useful and versatile herbal remedies, especially when its natural oils are distilled from the plant. Lavender can also be used as a seasoning and for baking.

Lavender is also a natural deterrent for mosquitoes and other garden pests.

Grow your own lavender from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in early spring. Lavender does not tolerate excessive moisture or humidity so it should be positioned at the top of a slope or high in a planting box. Lavender also does well in containers for this reason, also.

Lavender blooms in the summertime. To encourage flowering all season long, clip blooms regularly either for herbal use or to dead-head once they begin to wilt. Lavender also benefits from light pruning in the spring after the first new growth appears.

Germination: 14 – 21 days
Hardiness: Zones 5 – 7
Light preference: Full sun
Soil conditions: Well-drained, slightly sandy soil, pH 6.7 – 7.3
Fertilizer: In early/mid-fall: add bone meal / other high-phosphorus
fertilizer and water into soil around drip-line.
Height: 12 – 18”
Spacing: 2 – 4”
Time to Harvest: throughout summer

(Further reading: 15 Magical Things To Make With Lavender)

5. Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family of herbs, lemon balm is easy to grow and offers several health benefits in addition to its wonderful citrus aroma. Lemon balm naturally eases nerve and muscle tension. The fresh herb can be used as poultice to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Because of its anti-viral properties, lemon balm may be applied to reduce the healing time of cold sores. When ingested, lemon balm relieves gas, cramping, and stomach upset.

Lemon balm tea is often consumed to promote relation, mental clarity, and alertness. Add fresh lemon balm leaves to salads to spice up your greens with a refreshing citrus kick.

Lemon balm is also a natural repellant for mosquitoes and other flying pests.

Grow your own lemon balm from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in spring or fall. To harvest, lemon balm is one of only a few herbs which may be cut all the way back to rejuvenate the plant. During cold months, lemon balm must be mulched to protect its roots if the temperature is expected to drop below 0°F/-18°C.

Germination: 7 – 14 days
Hardiness: Zones 4 – 9
Light preference: Full sun / Morning sun, afternoon shade (hotter climates)
Soil conditions: Rich, moist, well-drained soil, pH 6 – 7
Fertilizer: At time of planting: Incorporate a balance of nutrients (is: compost,
blood meal) into soil / high-nitrogen fertilizer every 2 weeks thereafter.
Height: 18 – 26”
Spacing: 2 – 4”
Time to Harvest: throughout growing season

(Further reading: 11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes)

6. Oregano

Oils distilled from oregano leaves can be used to treat respiratory maladies, digestive upset, parasitic infections including fungal infections, skin conditions including dandruff and psoriasis, muscle aches and join pain. Oregano is also a natural insect repellant.

In cooking, Oregano is often used for Greek-style dishes. It also makes an excellent seasoning for egg dishes, meats, poultry, legumes, and breads. Try out some of these great recipes!

Grow your own oregano from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in early spring. When harvesting, remember that both Oregano leaves and flowers are edible and possess similar flavors. During cold months, oregano should be mulched or covered with a cold frame to protect roots from freezing.

Germination: 7 – 14 days
Hardiness: Zones 4 – 9
Light preference: Full sun / Morning sun, afternoon shade (hotter climates)
Soil conditions: Well-drained soil, pH 6.5 – 7
Fertilizer: Apply high-nitrogen fertilizer once in spring
when new growth begins to appear.
Height: ground cover / 8 – 24”
Spacing: 12”
Time to Harvest: 11 – 13 weeks

7. Parsley

As a natural anti-bacterial remedy, parsley can bolster your immune system and neutralize bad breath. Parsley is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which makes it great for digestion and detoxification. Though pregnant women should stay away from this herb as parsley is also known to induce uterine contractions and can cause miscarriage.

In the kitchen, parsley makes a great addition to spice up your veggie dishes. Try parsley in pesto, tabbouleh, and salad dressings. For more ideas on cooking with parsley, check out these recipes.

Grow your own parsley from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in early spring. Mulch around plants to keep soil moist, but avoid letting mulch touch the stems to prevent rot. To promote thicker foliage, cut parsley down to stems in early fall. In the second year of growth, once flower stalk appear, parsley becomes bitter and unpalatable. You may wish to allow blooming plants to go to seed and harvest for replanting the following year.

Remember when planting parsley that this herb is a favorite food for Black Swallowtail larvae. Be sure to plant enough for yourself and for these brightly-striped critters as they will almost certainly appear on your parsley in the spring and early summer.

Germination: 14 – 30 days
Hardiness: Biennial
Light preference: Sun / Part shade
Soil conditions: Rich, moist soil, pH 5.5 – 6.7
Fertilizer: Incorporate balanced fertilizer at planting time
then high-nitrogen every few weeks thereafter.
Height: varies
Spacing: 12 – 18”
Time to Harvest: 10 – 11 weeks

(Further reading: 30 Beautiful Plants to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden)

8. Peppermint

Peppermint is an excellent deterrent for many kinds of pests including rodents, ants, and spiders. Plant this pungent herb around your home and garden to keep harmful critters at bay.

As an herbal remedy, peppermint tea can help to clear sinus congestion, soothe a headache, relax you after a hard day, or help you to stay alert without feeling wound up. The natural oils in peppermint act as a digestive aid, help to relieve menstrual cramps, and can even ease the symptoms of IBS.

Peppermint makes a healthy addition to beverages and desserts. Add a sprig of peppermint leaves to berries and other fruits, coffee, or hot cocoa. Mix up a minty summertime refreshment or try some of these baked delights!

Grow your own peppermint from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outside at anytime up to 2 weeks prior to first frost. Peppermint seeds may also be direct sown outdoors and do not need to be covered with soil. Most mint seeds actually germinate better with no soil covering at all as they require lots of light to stimulate them out of dormancy. Peppermint is one of the easiest herbs to grow, but it can also become invasive if not maintained. For this reason, peppermint is often grown in containers.

Germination: 10 – 15 days
Hardiness: Zones 5 – 11 (roots only)
Light preference: Sun / Part shade
Soil conditions: Damp, well-mulched soil
Fertilizer: Apply high-nitrogen fertilizer as needed
(depending on frequency of harvest.)
Height: Ground cover / 6 – 12”
Spacing: 18”
Time to Harvest: throughout growing season

9. Rosemary

The pungent aroma of rosemary is another natural deterrent for a number of garden pests including mosquitoes and other flying insects. Rosemary also repels cats!

Rosemary is also a powerful natural remedy for soothing indigestion, neutralizing bad breath, and relieving pain. Use rosemary oil or herb-infused water to clear up dandruff, promote hair growth, and relieve skin irritation. The aroma of rosemary can help to clear the mind, quiet anxiety, and relieve everyday stress.

Add fresh or dried rosemary to fish, lamb, chicken, and wild game. Rosemary also compliments beans and sautéed mushrooms.

You can grow your own rosemary from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in the spring. However, rosemary is much easier to grow from clippings as the germination rate of its seeds is very low. Rosemary does well with mulch to keep roots moist in summer and insulated in winter.

Germination: 14 – 21 days
Hardiness: Zones 6 – 10
Light preference: Full sun
Soil conditions: Light, well-drained soil, pH 6 – 7
Fertilizer: Apply balanced fertilizer at time of transplant
then again at first sign of new growth in spring.
Height: 30 – 60”
Spacing: 18 – 36”
Time to Harvest: 11 – 14 weeks

10. Sage

Sage-infused tea is an effective herbal remedy to reverse greying of hair, reduce fever, and calm anxiety from brain and nervous disorders. Sage tea can also be used to soothe gastric ailments brought on by stress and to treat infections of the mouth and throat.

For cooking, dried or fresh sage makes an excellent seasoning in sauces, poultry dressings, and many sausage recipes. Sage also produces edible flowers in the early summer which make an interesting addition to salads and desserts. Both sage leaves and flowers make excellent additions to herbal tea blends.

Grow your own sage from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in the spring. Sage may also be sown directly outside in the springtime. Sage may also be propagated from cuttings. During the first year of growth, harvest only lightly so roots can establish. For both leaves and flowers, allow sage to grow as normal. Harvest flowers when buds are almost fully open. To prevent flowering, simply trim new growth often and remove any buds that appear. Stop harvesting sage 2 months before first frost. Also, when grown as a perennial, sage should be pruned back in early spring – removing older woody branches to make room for young tender growth.

Germination: 7 – 21 days
Hardiness: Zones 4 – 8
Light preference: Sun / Part shade
Soil conditions: Well-drained, slightly sandy soil, pH 6.5 – 7
Fertilizer: Incorporate organic matter to soil before planting.
Height: 16 – 30”
Spacing: 12”
Time to Harvest: 11 – 13 weeks

11. Tarragon

Tarragon is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin A, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium. In addition, an herbal tea made from fresh tarragon can help to calm anxiety, kill germs that cause bad breath, and suppress the appetite. Drinking tarragon tea or chewing on fresh tarragon leaves can also be an effective numbing agent for mouth pain. Because of its anti-bacterial properties, oil distilled from tarragon can also be used in formulating natural deodorants.

For culinary use, tarragon’s anise-like flavor makes a great seasoning for chicken, seafood, vegetables, and egg dishes. Tarragon also adds an interesting flavor to salads and berries.

Grow your own tarragon from seed by sowing indoors, then transplant outdoors after last frost. Tarragon can also be easily propagated from cuttings and will spread quickly if live stems are allowed to droop to the ground. This herb does great in pots and requires very little maintenance – only the occasional trim to promote new growth. In cooler climates, tarragon will die back in winter then regrow from root in the springtime. Note that while tarragon is drought-tolerant, this hardy perennial grows faster in moist soil.

Germination: 10 – 14 days
Hardiness: Zones 4 – 7
Light preference: Sun / Part shade
Soil conditions: Well-drained soil
Fertilizer: Not necessary.
Height: 18 – 24”
Spacing: 18”
Time to Harvest: 11 weeks

12. Thyme

Thyme is a good source of antioxidant vitamin A which is beneficial to eye, skin, hair, and nail health. Thyme is also anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibiotic. Sip thyme-infused tea for an effective natural remedy against colds, coughs, and sore throats. As a topical treatment, use thyme oil to help soothe and heal acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Rinse your scalp with a thyme-infused rinse to treat dandruff and other scalp conditions which may cause hair loss.

In the kitchen, thyme pairs well with other herbs like parsley, onion, garlic, and ginger to add complexity to their individual flavors. Try thyme as a flavoring in stocks, soups, and sauces. Thyme can often be tied with other herbs into a cheesecloth pouch to impart its piney flavor to a recipe without adding its woody texture to the dish.

Grow your own thyme from seed by sowing indoors, then transplanting outdoors in early spring. Thyme makes a beautiful creeping ground cover that also has the benefit of blocking weeds. The tiny blossoms of this marvelous herb will also attract beneficial pollinators like honey bees to your garden. Prune lightly in spring after danger of frost has passed, beginning during the second year of growth. Encourage tender growth by regularly pinching off tips of stems during the growing season. Stop harvesting one month before first expected frost.

Germination: 14 – 21 days
Hardiness: Zones 5 – 8
Light preference: Sun / Part shade
Soil conditions: Well-drained soil (mulch with limestone gravel or
builder’s sand to improve drainage), pH ~7.0
Fertilizer: Not necessary.
Height: 6 – 12”
Spacing: 6 – 8”
Time to Harvest: 13 – 14 weeks

Eco OutdoorAustralia website

8 must-have herbs to grow at home

Growing herbs at home is a great way to get your hands dirty, save some money and enjoy the delicious flavours. Their fragrance will also attract bees and butterflies into your garden. As you don’t need ample space, improved soil or plenty of time growing these herbs at home is ideal for a novice or young gardener.

These must-have herbs to grow at home only need sunlight, regular watering especially during the warm weather and good drainage. Continually harvesting the herbs will keep them shapely and encourage new growth. Some varieties will continue to grow throughout winter. With the annual herbs, you’ll be able to collect the seeds and replant them in spring.

If you’re new the gardening game, here are the 7 must-have herbs to grow at home.


Parsley – a highly versatile herb and easy to grow

Italian parsley is one of the easiest herbs to grow as it’s fairly hardy. It also can be harvested any time and will just keep growing back, so you’ll be able to get at least 12 months of fresh parsley.

Plant in a pot or in the garden from a seed in autumn or spring, preferably positioned in the sun. Parsley prefers moist soil and if you find the leaves are yellowing, add some liquid fertiliser in winter for a nutrient boost.


If you’re looking for a tough herb that requires little attention, it’s rosemary. It will survive mostly on rainwater alone and can last for a number of years. Plant in a container or large pot in full sun.

You can also use rosemary as an edible hedge as it can grow quite wide and tall. Simply shape it at the end of summer.


Mint is a very easy to grow herb but will take over your garden if you’re not careful. Requiring just a little water and suitable for both sun or shade, mint is one of your must-have herbs.

Mint is best planted in a container. If you want a lot of mint, choose a large pot to allow it to spread out. Avoid small plastic pots as it will quickly become root bound.


One of the more fragrant herbs to grow at home is basil. Basil grows well from seed when planted in full sun. It prefers moist, but well-drained soil and will require frequent pruning to encourage new growth.


Chives are an excellent herb for pots or can be used to create garden borders. They’re very tough, however, perform better in cool weather. Plant during the winter in full sun, keep the soil most but ensure it is well drained.

To harvest, simply cut with a pair of sharp scissors to avoid tearing the steams.


Thyme can be grown in pots or directly in the garden

Another great edible plant for your garden is thyme. It will do well in a pot, but also as a ground cover forming large clumps in the garden that you can walk on. Thyme prefers to be planted in a sheltered position in full sun.

It’s available in several varieties such as wooly and lemon thyme and can be harvested any time throughout the year.


Lavender isn’t technically a herb, but it is a beautiful edible plant that can be used to flavour baking and make bath product beautifully fragrant. It’s also very easy to grow and encourages the bees into your garden.

Lavender prefers full sun and planting in a well-drained pot or garden bed. When planted in the right spot, lavender will grow quickly so you’ll need to prune it frequently to keep it under control.


A full sun to part shade lover, oregano is a tough plant that will do well planted in the garden, as a ground cover or in a pot. It won’t require much water and the more you harvest, the quicker and thicker it will grow.

General tips for growing herbs at home

  • Make sure your herbs get adequate sunlight and regular water
  • Ensure the soil is well-drained
  • Use a quality potting mix if planting in containers
  • Use compost or manure to improve the soil (too much though can encourage growth at the expense of flavour)
  • Liquid fertiliser can be beneficial if you need a nutrient boost
  • Store seeds in a paper bag in a cool area until planting season
  • Ensure frost-sensitive herbs are moved to warmer spots during the winter

The Perfect Herb Garden

There is nothing more satisfying than wandering around your garden picking fresh herbs to jazz up a home cooked meal.

Plus – herbs look pretty & smell fantastic!

The great thing about growing herbs is you really don’t need much space. All you need is a spot with 6 hours or more of sunshine & you are good to go!

Annual herbs need to be replanted each year because they die off in the cold weather. Some of the most popular annual herbs are: Basil, dill, cilantro, parsley, chamomile, chervil & sweet marjoram.

Perennial herbs like mint, thyme, sage, tarragon, lemon balm, lavender, rosemary & sorrel come back each year of their own accord.

Starting with seeds is the most economical option but staring with plants is so much easier & will save you weeks of waiting.

Let’s start with some of the most commonly used herbs:

Parsley is biennial, which means that it grows for two seasons and then dies and needs to be replaced. You can find curly and Italian types. It’s great in soups, as a garnish & if you chew on it after a meal it will freshen your breath.

Sage – perennial – looks great in a rock garden because of the interesting colour & texture of its leaves. It’s wonderful with pork and lamb.

Rosemary – perennial – is one of the oldest herbs known to mankind. This herb loves sunshine and dislikes having wet feet. Delicious with garlic on lamb roast.

Thyme – perennial – is a fabulous groundcover to plant between pavers or to crawl over rocks in the garden. Lemon scented thyme releases a beautiful citrus aroma when walked on.

Basil – annual – very popular herb, found in most herb gardens. Perfect companion plant for tomatoes, it will deter pests & your tomatoes will adopt a richer, herby flavour. Use to make your own deliciously fresh pesto & sauces. Basil hates cold damp weather and will die.

Chives – perennial – great with eggs, salads & tuna. Chives produce lovely purple flowers that not only look great but will bring a host of good bugs to your garden.

Dill – annual – great in egg dishes, on grilled or fresh salmon & baked fish. Dill is feathery & easy to grow but does not cope with too much hot weather.

Oregano – perennial – is another great groundcover, especially in the base of pot plants. Oregano is used in sauces (especially tomato based, Italian style) and on chicken. It grows in a nice clump & comes back year after year.

Mint – perennial – do yourself a favour and grow this in a container – even in the garden – as it LOVES to spread and will take over. Mint has a gorgeous aroma and is great with chocolate, as a garnish for sweets & as a refreshing flavour burst added to a jug of icy cold water. Also great made into a sauce for lamb. Loves a moist, semi shaded position.

Yarrow attracts wildlife, added to compost it’s leaves speed up decomposition & its cut flowers dry beautifully for display.

Step By Step Planting Instructions.

  1. 1. Choose a sunny spot close to the kitchen if possible, for convenience.
  2. 2. Mix some Organic Xtra through the soil.
  3. 3. Plant when the sun is low and the weather cool.
  4. 4. Dig a hole about 1.5 times as wide as the plant.
  5. 5. Gently squeeze the sides or the container to loosen the soil.

Carefully remove the herb from the container.

  1. 6. Plant the herbs 45cm apart, (30cm if in a container to save room)

Do not plant any deeper than it was in the original pot.

  1. 7. Place taller herbs, like sage, rosemary and marjoram, towards the back of the garden or pot.

Parsley and cilantro are good for the front.

8. Water your newly planted herbs with a liquid fertilizer at ½ the recommended strength.

Once established, make sure your herbs get an inch of water each week throughout the growing . season

9. You can harvest your herbs as they grow, but take only small amounts so that you leave most of the plant in tact.

10. Pinch back the tops of the herbs regularly to keep your plants compact and bushy.


Herb Spirals are great for a number of reasons.

They take up less space because they expand upwards, not outwards.

This also creates different micro-climates, from shady, moist areas to warmer, drier areas.

In wet areas, herb spirals create well drained spaces, especially at the top.

In dry areas, the plants at the bottom of the spiral thrive on the extra moisture.

You will need: soil, rocks, seedlings, mulch & water.

Start with a mound of soil the size you want the spiral to eventually be. Make sure the richest soil is on the outside. Reinforce the inside with any old rubble you want to get rid of. Mix Organic Xtra through your good soil & put a generous amount of this rich, fertile soil over the top of the rubble. The rubble will also improve drainage.

Place the largest rocks around the bottom of the mound and spiral them up to the top as the rocks get smaller. Make sure you leave plenty of soil uncovered for planting.

Try to make sure all parts of the spiral are easily accessible.

Mulch, plant & water thoroughly.

Plant herbs that prefer moist conditions near the bottom, facing the softer morning sun:

Plant herbs that prefer drier conditions near the top, facing the summer sun:

Garlic chives, Lavender, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Yarrow, Society garlic, Thyme.

Most Read

Growing your own herbs means that you simply snip off what you need when you need to add to recipes or use as garnishes. You won’t have to buy a bunch of basil when you only want a few leaves, saving you money and cutting down on food waste.

And space isn’t an issue because herbs happily grow in pots and are easy to dry or freeze for later use.

Here are the top 10 herbs to grow at home to give a range of different dishes fresh flavour.

1. Basil

Uses: The leaves have warm, spicy flavor. Use sparingly in soups, sauces, salads, omelets and with meat, poultry and fish. Also a basis for pesto.
Planting: Sow seeds near a sunny window in early spring. Transplant to garden in early summer. Or sow seeds directly into the garden in late spring.

2. Chives

Uses: Leaves have a mild onion flavor. Chop them and add them to salads, egg and cheese dishes, cream cheese, mashed potatoes, sandwich spreads, and sauces. Use flowers in salads.
Planting: Sow seeds in spring or autumn, 12mm deep in rows 300mm apart. As soon as the seedlings are established, thin within the rows to 150mm apart. Or set out nursery grown plants in early spring.

3. Coriander

Uses: Grind dry seeds to powder and dust over veal, pork, or ham before cooking. The roots, which can be frozen, are used to flavor soup; serve chopped with avocados.
Planting: Sow seeds in early spring, 6mm deep in rows 300mm apart. Thin within established seedlings to 150mm apart.

4. Dill

Uses: Both seeds and leaves have a sharp, slightly bitter taste. Use dried or fresh leaves to flavor fish, soups, salads, meat, poultry, omelettes and potatoes. Sprinkle dill on sliced cucumber to make a sandwich filling.
Planting: Sow seeds in early spring, 6mm deep in rows 250mm apart. Thin within established seedlings to 250mm apart.

Dill has feathery leaves, likes full sun and grows quite tall

5. Fennel

Uses: Leaves have a sweetish flavor, particularly good in sauces for fish; also useful with pork or veal, in soups and in salads. Seeds have sharper taste.
Planting: Sow groups of 3 or 4 seeds in midspring, 6mm deep and 450mm apart. Thin established seedling to strongest of each group.

6. Mint

Uses: Brew leaves into tea, or use to garnish cold drinks. Spearmint is generally used to make mint sauce or jelly. Sprinkle dried or fresh leaves over lamb before cooking.
Planting: In autumn or spring, plant 100-150mm pieces of root 50mm deep and 300mm apart. Water well. Check roots’ tendency to overtake nearby plant roots by sinking boards or bricks 300mm deep around beds or by planting in a large bottomless plastic bucket sunken into a garden bed.

7. Parsley

Uses: Mix leaves into salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and omelets. Serve fresh as garnish with meat, fish, and onion dishes.
Planting: Sow seeds in midspring for summer cutting, midsummer for autumn and winter harvests. Soak seeds overnight and broadcast thinly. Thin established seedlings to 250mm apart.

8. Sage

Uses: Dried leaves are a traditional constituent of poultry stuffing. Use also with lamb, pork, sausage, and in cheese dishes and omelets.
Planting: Can be grown from seeds sown in early spring. Set out nursery grown plants in midspring approximately 300mm apart.

9. Tarragon

Uses: Chop the anise-flavored leaves for use in soups, salads, egg dishes, stews, and soft cheeses. Excellent with lamb. Serve in melted butter with fish, steak, or vegetables. Constituent of tartar sauce and many chutneys. Makes good flavoring for vinegar when leaves are steeped for 2 or 3 weeks.
Planting: Does not grow true from seeds. Set out nursery-grown plants in early spring, 450mm apart.

10. Thyme

Uses: Rub chopped leaves (fresh or dried) into beef, lamb, veal, or pork before roasting. Sprinkle over eggs, cheese dishes, vegetables, fish, or poultry. Add to soups, stews, stuffings, and rice. Brew into tea with a little rosemary and mint.
Planting: Sow seeds in midspring in shallow rows. When seedlings are established, thin to 150mm spacings. Set out nursery-grown planting in early spring, 150-250mm apart.

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