With home-grown herbs, you’ll no longer need to dash to the grocery store to bring in hints of fresh flavor. Bonus? Growing herbs brings a beautiful new element to your home and garden.
Ready to create your own herb garden? First, you’ll need to decide whether you want to set aside a spot for it in your existing garden or yard or if you’d like to create a container garden, which you can keep inside, on your porch, or even on your patio outside.
Whichever type of herb garden you choose, pick a spot for it that receives direct sunlight at least four hours a day.
Grouping Herbs in a Container Garden
When planning your herb garden, group herbs based on their needs. Some herbs, such as mint, will overgrow easily and may suffocate other plants. Mint plants should always have their own container. However, there are many herbs that do well together and that can share large containers.
For example, you can group Mediterranean herbs—including sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, and lavender—together or near each other. These herbs thrive with heavy sunlight and arid soil.
You can also group herbs that need heavy moisture. Parsley, basil, tarragon and cilantro all fall into this category. They will need heavier watering than the others.
As to the best container to use for growing herbs, select containers that are at least eight inches deep and allow a gallon of soil space to give the herbs plenty of room to form strong roots. Terra cotta containers can dry out quickly, so try a plastic or glazed ceramic container. (And if you want more detail on container gardening, download our container gardening guide!)
Planting Herbs in an Outdoor Garden
If you’re creating an outdoor herb garden in a flower bed, keep plants with similar watering and soil needs together, as described for herb container gardens.
Further, make sure to plan your layout so that larger herbs don’t overshadow smaller herbs that need full sun. For example, rosemary can grow up to forty-eight inches high; place it somewhere in your garden where it won’t overshadow other plants. Other taller herbs include coriander, oregano, dill, and sage.
Also, don’t forget that herbs can add visual variety and interest to your overall garden. Edging your garden with shorter herbs will protect their sunlight and add visual spice. Thyme, parsley, and dill are shorter plants perfect for edges.
Watering Herb Gardens
The watering needs of your herb garden will vary depending on which herbs you select. In general, remember that indoor air is much drier than outdoor air, so if your herb garden is inside, water each plant a little more than you would if it were outside.
Some herbs can go a few days between watering, including rosemary, oregano, marjoram, sage, lavender, thyme, and tarragon. However, basil, mint, cilantro, dill, and chives need moist soil to thrive.
Herb Garden Maintenance and Harvesting
Most herbs will do well with potting soil, although you should ensure you keep the soil appropriately moist. Fertilize the plants every three to six months; avoid applying fertilizer more often.
When it’s time to use the herbs you grow, prune them carefully to ensure regrowth. Cut off the tips of the plant down to a leaf intersection so they regrow bushier. Every fall, prune herbs down by a third of their size to ensure new growth in the spring.
Many herbs can grow quite large and, as perennials, will live to flavor your dishes for many years. However, basil and cilantro will only live a few months. Dill lives about one year.
Selecting Plants for Your Herb Garden
Starting with quality plants will help ensure herb-gardening success. If you select small herb plants that have already started to grow, rather than starting with seeds in packets, you save one step in the growing process and ensure you have hardier plants (because they survived the seedling phase).
In addition to finding Seville Farms herbs at your local hardware and home-goods store, you can buy our herbs on-line as well. We have made our starter packs of Mediterranean herbs, springtime herbs, and cooking herbs available on Amazon, and we’ve cultivated them to help them thrive in your home garden. Choose one starter pack—or launch your herb garden with all of them!