There’s nothing quite like the wonderful aromas and tastes of herbs you’ve grown at home. Whether you enjoy cooking with them, using them for their scent, or for other projects, herbs grown at home have a freshness and good taste you just can’t get from store bought. Thankfully, there are many options that are great for beginners.
If you are looking to grow herbs for the first time, this post will cover some of the key things you need to know.
Provide at Least 6 Hours of Sun
With the exception of basil, which likes a little shade, most herbs need at least 6 hours of sun per day. Choose a spot in your garden where they will get plenty of light.
Plant in Well-Draining Soil
If you are planting herbs in the ground, add VoleBloc or PermaTill to the soil to improve drainage and, if necessary, add lime to adjust the soil pH. If you’re planting them in container, use a potting mix that drains well. We recommend Merrifield Potting Mix, but there are plenty of other options to choose from.
Basil, once again, is the exception here. For all other herbs, fertilizing your plants once at the beginning of the growing season with an organic fertilizer, such as Plant Tone, is enough. It is best not to fertilize most herbs more than once. Basil, on the other hand, can be fertilized every 4-6 weeks.
Plant Similar Herbs Together
When selecting locations for your plants, place those with similar light and water requirements together. For instance, rosemary, thyme and lavender all prefer to be kept slightly dry, while parsley, bail and Vietnamese coriander need consistent moisture.
Know Your Basil Varieties
One of the most popular herbs is basil, which comes in many different flavors, sizes, shapes and textures. Genovese sweet basil is the classic flavor for pesto and other Italian dishes. Thai basil is spicy. And lemon or lime basil add their own distinct flavor to your dishes. A popular, new variety is boxwood basil. It looks adorable – like a miniature boxwood – and its tiny leaves pack a strong scent. Pinch basil often throughout the year to remove flowers and keep the plants full.
Visit our basil growing guide for a full guide to growing this popular plant.
Separate Quick Spreading Herbs
Mint and its close relatives (lemon balm, horehound, catnip) should be planted in their own container(s). Mint is a hardy, perennial plant that can spread rapidly through the entire garden. You can prevent this from happening by planting it in a container.
Plant Your Cool Season Herbs at the Right Time
Cilantro, parsley, celery and dill all grow best when temperatures range between 50 and 70 degrees. When the temperature begins to warm up, these plants will start to bloom and will no longer produce flavorful leaves. This makes them a great choice for fall gardens, or to plant in the early spring.