Growing herbs is one of the most enjoyable aspects of gardening.
They smell delightful, are expensive to buy, and make any dish shine in the kitchen. Companion planting with herbs is excellent for your garden, too. You can plant a kitchen herb garden, a medicinal herb garden, or grow a herbal tea garden. What herbs you wish to plant will also depend on what you like to buy and use in your home.
Should you buy herb seeds or buy plants?
Certain herbs take a very long time to germinate, others grow fast. This post will cover the pros and cons of each and guide you through the easy and hard herbs to grow. I’ll also talk about annuals versus perennials and best herbs for containers.
Ideas for Growing Herbs
- Would you like to grow annuals or perennial herbs? Perennial herbs come back year after year, some can even ‘take over’ certain areas. Be sure to plan your garden so that you have space for perennials.
- Are you using herbs for culinary meals? Tea? Medicine?
- What is your garden size? Do you have garden beds or need to grow in containers?
Here’s some of the annual herbs and perennials that you can grow
- Calendula (dry calendulas for oil or make calendula lotion)
- Winter + Summer Savory
- Lemon Balm
- most medicinal herbs
Growing Herbs Outdoors
Where should you put your garden? Find out how much sunlight your backyard has, then you can look at your list and see where you could plant them. On a good note, many herbs can actually handle partial shade. Sketch your garden on a piece of paper (or use my botanical garden planner & journal).
- Herb garden design. Herb gardens can be very unique. We planted many of our perennial herbs in a symmetrical mandala keyhole kitchen garden bed. We also have a unique herb spiral and grow mint plants in a rock garden bed.
- Indoor herb gardening. Here’s some inspiration for indoor container herb gardens.
- Garden beds or containers? Because many herbs are perennials, some people prefer to grow them in containers. This works great for culinary herbs and having them close to your kitchen for quick harvests.
Growing Herbs in Containers
- mint (so it doesn’t spread)
- lemon balm
Growing Herbs from Seeds
After you’ve decided what you’d like to grow and made a sketch, then it’s time to buy seeds or plants. Annual herbs can be directly sown into the garden like cilantro or dill, or grown indoors like basil then transplanted outside. Most perennial herbs take a long time to germinate.
Pros of buying herb seeds
- You can choose specific varieties that local stores might not sell. For example, maybe you’re looking for chocolate mint and can’t find plants to buy. Browse through some herb seed catalogs and see what they offer and make lists of what you’d like.
- Many medicinal herbs aren’t sold in local stores or garden centers. Ones like oregano, thyme and sage that are also culinary tend to be common, but if you’re looking for feverfew, marshmallow or licorice for example, they might be harder to find.
- You can baby your seeds and watch them grow into the plants you’ll be harvesting from!
- For annuals like dill or cilantro, herb seeds are cheaper than buying a plant. Basil and mint are cheaper and easy to grow from seed indoors. Harvesting basil seeds by yourself will give you plenty of more basil plants to grow in the future. Another reason basil is easy to grow from seed indoors is that it’s great to prune basil when it reaches around six inches tall, making basil perfect for an indoor garden.
Cons of buying herb seeds
- They take a long time to germinate. Certain herbs can take 1-3 weeks just to germinate.
- Many perennials take a long time to grow. Herbs like oregano can take 10-12 weeks before you can transplant them into the ground.
- You have to have seed starting supplies and know how to start seedlings.
In general, herb plants are easiest for beginners, but if you’re a seasoned gardener or herbalist wishing for varieties and you can’t find what you’re looking for, seeds can be a great option.