Growing up, learning how to grow herbs were a part of my everyday life. With a mother known as “The Herb Lady,” you couldn’t expect anything less! Today, I love using the knowledge that she imparted in me about how to grow herbs.
Growing and using herbs to provide for my own family and sharing that knowledge with all of you so that you can share in my love for these wonderful gifts from God is a highlight! For those who are new to gardening, herbs are one of the easiest things to get started growing. They are also incredibly useful – popular for fresh tea, to season food, and even for medicinal purposes.
You can grow herbs indoors or outdoors, plant in the ground or containers – there are so many options, no matter your resources or experience level!
Table of Contents
Best Herbs for Beginners
Though most herbs are relatively easy to learn how to grow, here are my top five favorites that are great for getting started!
Basil is one of my favorites in the kitchen! Plants should be spread 12-18 inches apart and can grow 1-2 feet tall. It performs best when it’s planted in full sun, after the danger of frost has passed. Keeping it pinched back will ensure that you have plenty of leaves to harvest.
Thyme is a wonderful perennial ground cover that works well just about anywhere. You’ll need to divide your plants every 3-4 years and trim regularly for fresh growth to use in recipes and more. They are shorter in stature, only reaching 6-12 inches in height, and the spread about a foot wide. This is a great choice for bordering garden beds and paths.
Parsley is grown as an annual plant and can thrive both indoors and out. It will reach about 12 inches tall and just as wide. When pruning or pinching, start from the outer leaves and work toward the center, as this will help your harvest to last as long as possible.
Chives has a grass-like appearance and is wonderful in any type of garden. It can reach up to a foot tall and must be divided every couple of years. When trimming, cut back to a couple of inches from the ground to encourage fresh growth throughout the gardening season.
As an added bonus, chive blooms will attract pollinators to your garden.
Mint is one of the most wonderfully fragrant herbs, but it can become a bit of a pest if you’re not strategic with your planting. Using containers can help keep your mint plants from taking over your entire garden. It does well in shade and loves plenty of moisture.
Pro-Tip! Mint is delicious in home grown tea blends. Just snip some leaf tips and brew!
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Growing Herbs Indoors
Any sunny window is a wonderful place to start an indoor herb garden and it’s easier than you think! Whether space is at a premium or you just want to start some herbs to transfer outdoors later, growing herbs indoors can give you the benefits of these wonderful plants, right at your fingertips.
When starting plants, whether indoors or out, it’s important to start with good, quality non-GMO heirloom seeds.
Heirloom seeds are non-GMO seeds that have all of the best qualities that you want in any plant. Unlike many of the genetically modified hybrids on the market today, these wonderful, fertile varieties are full of flavor and goodness that is lost in many commercial seeds and plants.
Windows that receive full sun are the best choice for growing herbs indoors. At least 6 hours of sunlight is important to help your herbs flourish. Supplement with grow lights if your window doesn’t receive adequate sunlight for your plants.
Be sure to take care when watering your indoor herb garden. Keep soil damp, but do not over water. You can even let the soil dry out for few days between watering.
Using your herbs regularly will actually help them to grow! When you pinch them back, they will grow back fuller and give you even more wonderful herbs to use. As you learn how to grow herbs, you’ll find plenty of ways to use them so they’ll never go to waste when you pinch back.
Individual pots and containers will make sure that your herbs have enough room to grow. When you’re working with smaller spaces indoors, combining herbs in a tiny pot will not give them the space they need to grow and the plants may fail. If you do use a larger pot for an indoor herb garden, make sure that there is ample room to support multiple plants.
A small amount of good organic fertilizer can also be a great help to grow full and thriving herbs. A bit of organic matter in the soil to provide nutrients via the roots can help you to have a bountiful harvest.
How to Grow an Herb Garden
Herbs are a beautiful and often fragrant addition to your outdoor garden plot or container garden, as well.
For beginning gardeners, starting herbs from seed indoors or using plants that have already been started can make growing herbs outdoors a little easier. Once you have established plants, you can begin to transition them outdoors, especially once the danger of frost has passed.
As you learn how to grow herbs outdoors, you’ll want to carefully plan where you’ll be planting your herbs. Certain types of herbs, like mint, spread very rapidly and can take over a garden patch. For these, you might be better off planting them in containers to help control the spread.
When planning where to plant, you can use your herbs as border plants or distribute them throughout the garden, between other plants. You can even choose herbs by color to compliment the other plants in your flower bed or container garden.
Keep a close eye on the weather, making sure to water your herbs as necessary. You’ll want to keep the soil damp and be sure that the plants are getting adequate sunlight or shade, depending on the variety.
Fertilizing and trimming or pinching back your herbs is helpful when growing them outdoors. For those that are perennial plantings, you’ll want to make sure that you pinch back or trim in the springtime, as that will encourage new growth.
What Herbs Grow Well Together
Companion planting means how you combine plants in the garden. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of which plants grow harmoniously together, and sometimes it’s simply being mindful of the needs for each plant when it comes to water, nutrients, and light levels.
Herbs for Shade and Sun
Understanding a plants light needs is vital to make sure it stays healthy. While many fruits and vegetables need a lot of sun, there are plenty of options for shade too – especially when it comes to herbs. If you have a section of patio or yard that doesn’t get full sun, don’t despair. You can still grow herbs that are shade tolerant with careful plant selection.
How to Grow Herbs in Shade
- Comfrey – This tall perennial plant has beautiful flowers and a deep taproot, making it drought tolerant once it’s established.
- Lemon Balm – In the mint family, lemon balm is easy to grow and has a delightful fragrance. I love the way it smells and always include it in my aroma garden.
- Mint – Easy to grow, mint tends to want to take over the world. I recommend keeping it planted in containers. It’s a perfect herb to bring color to a shady corner of your yard and will be low-maintenance as well as delicious.
- Parsley – This shade-tolerant herb grows easily from seed and combines nicely with larger shrubs or other shade-loving herbs. I recommend growing both flat-leaf and curly-leaf varieties!
Easy-to-Grow Herbs for Sunny Garden Spots
- Rosemary – A beautiful, semi-evergreen herb this perennial is drought tolerant, fragrant and useful for so many things. Rosemary makes a love hair rinse, and as a culinary herb it’s awesome in the kitchen.
- Lavender – This herb has attractive, silvery green foliage and beautiful flowers with an unmistakable fragrance. You might usually think of the flowers as purple, but there are white flowering varieties as well.
- Dill – I love dill in the garden. The foliage is attractive, the flowers are huge and the plant is easy to grow. Bonus! It attracts pollinators to your garden!
- Sage – Sage has long been a favorite medicinal and culinary herb. But it’s also a favorite for herb garden because of it’s pretty leaves and how easy it is to grow.
Herb gardens can be so rewarding. The variety of foliage, fragrances and flowers give you lots of options to make your home and yard beautiful and useful at the same time!
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