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25 Best Herbs to Grow in Your Kitchen Garden

Whether you want to grow a kitchen herb garden as a hobby or to save money or just for healthier eating, there are plenty of herbs you can grow in your backyard, on your patio or even in your windowsill. Fresh herbs make recipes taste even better and are great to have around for soups, stews, and salads.

In picking a place to grow your herbs, keep in mind that they need a good four to six hours of sun daily. There are many herbs that you can grow to enhance your cooking. When you plant a kitchen garden, don’t only plant the herbs you know, take a chance on something else. You might just be surprised.

Here are 25 fresh herbs and plants you can grow that are great to have handy in the kitchen.

Parsley

Parsley is a mild bitter herb that can enhance the flavor of your foods. Many consider parsley just to be a curly green garnish for food, but it actually helps things like stews achieve a more balanced flavor. As an added benefit, parsley can aid in digestion. Parsley is often grown as an annual, but in milder climates, it will stay evergreen all winter long. Parsley plants will grow to be large and bushy. Parsley is a good source of Vitamins A and C. (buy online)

Mint

There are several varieties of mint. You can use it in drinks like mojitos or mint juleps. Or add some mint to your summer iced tea. Mint freshens the breath and will help to calm your stomach. But if you grow mint, remember that it’s considered an invasive plant. Mint will spread and take over your garden. It’s best grown in containers. (buy online)

Dill

Dill is a great flavoring for fish, lamb, potatoes, and peas. It also aids in digestion, helps to fight bad breath and has the added benefits of reducing swelling and cramps. Dill is easy to grow. It will also attract helpful insects to your garden such as wasps and other predatory insects. It also saves a trip to the Dentist Santa Barbara! (You can buy Dill online, click this link: buy online)

Basil

Whether you choose large leaf Italian basis or large purple sweet basil, this plant is popular in many cuisines but is a feature in Italian cooking like pizzas, salads, sauces, and pesto. Some people think basil is great for planting alongside your tomatoes but there’s no real evidence that it makes your tomatoes taste sweeter. Basil has health benefits of antioxidants and is a defense against low blood sugar. (buy online)

Sage

Sage is an aromatic herb that is great for seasoning meats, sauces, and vegetables. But be careful because sage will have a tendency to overpower other flavors. Sage also helps to relieve cuts, inflammation and helps with memory issues. It was once thought to be a medicinal cure-all. Sage is an easy herb to grow and is relatively easy to care for. It’s great in your garden for attracting bees. (buy online)

Rosemary

Rosemary is one of the most flavorful herbs and is great for adding to things like poultry, meats, and vegetables. Around Christmastime, you’ll see tree-shaped rosemary bushes for sale. You can bring them home and keep them for planting in the spring. The fragrant plant is a delightful scent and is sometimes used in floral arrangements. Rosemary likes its soil a bit on the dry side, so be careful not to overwater. Allowed to flourish, a rosemary plant will grow into a full-sized bush. For more guidedance, be sure to check out this guide titled, ‘How I grew a rosemary plant in my garden‘! (buy online)

Thyme

Thyme is a delicate looking plant. It is often used for flavoring egg, bean and vegetable dishes. Thyme is frequently used in the Mediterranean, Italian and Provençal French cuisines. Pair it with lamb, poultry, and tomatoes. Thyme is often added to soups and stews. Thyme is part of the mint family. The most common variety is garden thyme which has gray-green leaves and a minty, somewhat lemony smell. (buy online)

Cilantro/Coriander

Cilantro is also known as coriander leaf or Chinese parsley. Cilantro is perfect for adding into spicy foods like chills, and Mexican, Chinese, Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines. The seeds of cilantro are known as coriander. The plant grows early in the season and doesn’t like it when the ground becomes too warm. (buy online)

Fennel

Fennel is very flavorful and aromatic, and along with anise is a primary ingredient in absinthe. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean region and does best in dry soils near the ocean or on river banks. The strongly flavored leaves of fennel are similar in shape to dill. The bulb can be sautéed or grilled, or eaten raw. Fennel bulbs are used for garnishes or sometimes added to salads. (buy online)

Chamomile

In the United States and Europe, chamomile is most often used as an ingredient in herbal tea. It is one of the world’s most widely consumed herbal teas. But it has also been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine for settling stomachs and calming the nerves. Chamomile also helps reduce inflammation and treat fevers. You can grow either German chamomile or Roman chamomile. The two are interchangeable when it comes to making tea, but they are grown very differently. German chamomile is an annual plant that grows up to three feet tall. Roman chamomile is a perennial but only grows to about a foot high. German chamomile is more commonly known for its blossoms. (buy online)

French Tarragon

Fresh tarragon is the traditional ingredient of ‘Fines Herbes’ and is the aristocrat of fresh herbs. A must-have for any Culinary Herb Garden! It will transform an ordinary dish into a work of art with it’s spicy anise flavor. A little tarragon in a chicken salad makes a profound difference. It is wonderful in sauces, soups and meat dishes. Try it with vegetables. It is the choice for any hearty dish. (buy online)

Lavender

Grown as a condiment and for use in salads and dressings, lavender will give most dishes a slightly sweet flavor. Lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used in the United States for making lavender scones and marshmallows. Health benefits include the soothing of insect bites and headaches when used with herbs and aromatherapy. Lavender plants will survive in many growing conditions but do best in full sun in warm, well-drained soil. (buy online)

Catnip

What’s more fun than seeing the family cat go slightly berserk over the smell of catnip? But catnip is more than a feline stimulant. It can be used as a relaxing agent as well as a diuretic and laxative. If you plant catnip outside, remember that cats do love to roll in it and chew on it. But keeping catnip in your garden can also be a deterrent for rodents. If the cat’s around, the pests most likely won’t be. (buy online)

Chives

Chives are a member of the garlic family and can be the perfect complement to sour cream. Chives are mostly used for flavoring and are considered one of the “fine herbs” of French cuisine. Chives are native to Asia but have been used as an additive to food for almost 5,000 years. Chives work well with eggs, fish, potatoes, salads, shellfish, and soups. Chives are an excellent source of beta carotene and Vitamin C. (buy online)

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is believed to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, but should not be considered a cure. It can also help fight muscle pain. The word “wort” is an Old English word for “plant.” The plant was named because the flowers appear around June 24th which is the birthday of John the Baptist. St. John’s wort is also known as Tipton’s weed, rosin rose, goat-weed, chase-devil or Klamath weed. In gardens, it’s a popular ground-cover since it is drought tolerant. While not used in cooking it is a well-known herbal treatment for depression. (buy online)

Bay Leaves

The smell of bay’s noble leaves reminds you of balsam, clove, mint, and some say even honey! Well known for its use in hearty stews and other long-simmering dishes with a slightly sharp, peppery, almost bitter taste. Add the whole leaves at the beginning of the cooking process and remember to remove them before serving. Sweet bay is native to the Mediterranean. (buy online)

Culantro

Nope, I didn’t say cilantro, this is its cousin culantro. You can use this wherever ‘Cilantro’ is called for, with its spicy and pungent flavor, a wonderful addition to any dish, fresh or dried. Some call it ‘Mexican Coriander’ or ‘Chadon beni’. Culantro is a rare and unusual herb in the USA, but it’s well known in Vietnam, Latin American and all over the Caribbean. (buy online)

Chervil

Chervil produces flat, light-green, lacy leaves with a hint of anise, and enhances the flavor of chicken, fish, vegetables, eggs, and salads. It is an heirloom herb that was most likely introduced to European herb gardening by the Romans. Closely related to Parsley, chervil has become an indispensable herb plant in the kitchen, and a classic among herb plants in French cuisine. (buy online)

Winter Savory

A deliciously spicy culinary herb, Winter Savory adds an aromatic flavor to many dishes. Also used medicinally for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Winter Savory, like its Summer counterpart, is a spicy culinary herb from the Mint family that compliments fish, beans, and poultry with its intense flavor. Though it loses some of this intensity during the cooking process, Winter Savory remains aromatic and is often used to flavor liqueurs and makes a beautiful garnish to any salad. (buy online)

Peppermint

Like other mints, peppermint is known for aiding digestion and freshening the breath. But peppermint is also a good source of calcium, potassium and Vitamin B. Peppermint is a hybrid mint, being a cross between water mint and spearmint. Peppermint oil can be used for flavoring but is also useful as a natural pesticide. It has been shown to reduce the effects of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint prefers rich soil and partial shade. Like other mints, it spreads quickly, so consider planting it in containers. (buy online)

Stevia

Stevia is an attractive looking plant and a natural sweetener. The added benefit is that there are no calories. Stevia is part of the sunflower family and is native to subtropical and tropical regions in the Western hemisphere. While it’s a perennial plant it will only survive in the milder climates in North America. Still, you can add stevia to your garden for the summer. It is also known as sweet leaf or sugar leaf and is grown for its sweet leaves. Stevia can be used as a natural sweetener and as a sugar substitute. (buy online)

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is known for its soothing properties for burns or skin problems. Many people keep an Aloe Vera plant handy in the kitchen for incidental burns. But taken orally, Aloe Vera will also help with digestion, circulation and weight loss. There are over 250 species of Aloes. Most of these are native to Africa. Aloe Vera plants are very succulent and are as much as 95% water. That means they are very sensitive to frost. In warm climates, they should be in full sun or light shade. But you may have more success with this plant by keeping it indoors in a sunny window. (buy online)

Lemongrass

Lemongrass stalks can provide antioxidants such as beta-carotene and a defense against cancer and eye inflammation. Lemongrass has a strong lemon flavor. You can brew it in tea as well as use it as an herb seasoning. To grow this outdoors, you need to live in at least Zone 9. Outside it can grow up to six feet high but will be notably smaller if you grow it indoors. (buy online)

Bergamot (Bee Balm)

Gaining renewed popularity as a culinary herb, Bee Balm makes a wonderful addition to pizzas, salads, breads and any dishes that are complimented by the herb’s unique flavor. Minty and slightly spicy, Bergamot makes a great substitute for Oregano. Bergamot has a long history of use as a medicinal plant by many Native Americans, including the Blackfeet. The Blackfeet Indians used this hardy perennial in poultices to treat minor cuts and wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by gingivitis, as the plant contains high levels of a naturally occurring antiseptic, Thymol, which is found in many brand name mouthwashes. (buy online)

Oregano

Oregano is also part of the mint family and is native to the warm climates of Eurasia and the Mediterranean. Oregano is a perennial plant but in colder climates can be grown as an annual. It is sometimes called wild marjoram and is closely related to sweet marjoram. Oregano is used for flavoring and is a staple herb of Italian American cuisine. In the United States, it gained popularity following World War II as soldiers returned home with a desire for the “pizza herb.” (buy online)

If you grow your herbs indoors you can enjoy them fresh year-round. But if that’s not an option, consider freezing or drying some of your own herbs to have available for cooking year round. When you’re ready to buy herb plants, please check out our online store.

We believe in a greener way of living. Hopefully the posts here on The Herb Exchange Blog will help you with knowledge of herbs, gardening, recipes and a healthy life.

The Growers Exchange is committed to a greener way of growing and has been for over 30 years. We deliver healthy, farm-fresh herb plants ready to be planted. We deliver your plants at the correct time for your shipping zone in the spring and fall.

10 of the best herbs to grow in your garden

Find out how to grow herbs at home and which herb plants are best for herb gardens.

Nothing beats cooking with home-grown herbs so we called upon the expert knowledge of RHS chief of horticulture, Guy Barter, and asked for his advice on what herbs are the best to grow in the garden and how we should take care of them to help…

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN GROWING HERBS…

1. Herbs can be grown in any reasonably fertile, well-drained soil. Where drainage is questionable, create raised beds or plant your herbs in pots.

2. Good, all weather access is vital to growing herbs. If a hard path of light-co loured, reflective paving can be created, so much the better. At RHS Wesley, pebble/concrete panels are used in the herb garden, which reflect light back into the plants, and create warmth to ameliorate chilly nights.

3. Herbs generally need little fertilizer and crop well without much feeding. Over feeing can in fact decrease the concentration of flavors.

4. Most herbs need a neutral to alkaline soil.

5. High levels of sunlight is particularly important for obtaining good herb flavour, and so herbs should be planted in the best lit area of the garden.

1. BASIL – Ocimium basilicum Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

A key ingredient in many recipes, especially summer salads and Mediterranean classics, basil is Britain’s most widely sold herb. Although originally from India, where it is considered sacred, it thrives in British soil, and thus is perfect for your kitchen garden.

  • A tender annual, unable to withstand cold weather and frost, basil can only be grown outdoors in the summer, and so must be moved inside during the winter months.
  • The herb must be planted in fertile soil, and receive as much warmth and light as possible.
  • Greenhouses are ideal, as are kitchen windowsills, for helping basil to survive for long periods.
  • With so many varieties of basil available to grow, why not experiment with a few this summer and enjoy the different tastes on your home-made salads and pasta dishes.

2. CHIVES – Allium schoenoprasum

A hardy perennial and especially easy to grow, chives are a superb addition to your kitchen garden. They were once hung in bunches around the house to fend off evil spirits but, today, they are popular as boarder plants with their pretty, purple blossoms.

As the entire chive plant is edible, they are extremely versatile. Their flowers can be picked and used as garnishes, and their bulb and leaves can also be eaten. With their light onion flavour, chives can be used in all sorts of summer dishes, from the classic potato salad, to soups and omelets.

  • Chives are low maintenance. Simply plant them in the ground or in any pot, and place them in a sunny spot where they can soak up four to five hours of sunlight a day.

3. MINT – Mentha spicata

Common mint, otherwise known as spearmint, is a fantastically hardy herb that is easy to grow in the garden.

Flowering light purple blossoms from August to September, the herb is a perennial, and so can be relied upon to grace your kitchen garden year upon year.

Its vigorous nature means it can sometimes be invasive, so to avoid it taking over, grow it in a bottomless bucket set in the soil. With its refreshing and pleasant spearmint flavour, the herb is often used to flavour salads and sauces, such as mint sauce. Its leaves can also be dried or used fresh to create herbal tea, and are often used in domestic herbal remedies.

  • Its only requirements being moist ,fertile soil and plenty of sun, mint can be grown in almost any situation, and is not susceptible to frost damage.

4. CORIANDER – Corina drum sativum

Also known as Chinese parsley, coriander is a short-lived, tender annual, which is grown from seeds sown at intervals during the growing season.

As the whole plant is edible, it is highly popular in culinary dishes and is often used in Asian cooking, including curries, Chinese and Thai meals.

The seeds and leaves have distinct flavours – the seeds have a more lemony taste and can be ground down and used as a spice. The leaves, a little more bitter, are often chopped up and used as a garnish. As well as its culinary uses, coriander has many health benefits and is used all around the world in herbal remedies. Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

  • It appreciates fertile soil and a sunny position, however partial shade is preferable, as shade helps prevent premature setting of the seeds.

5. DILL – Anet hum graveolens

A short lived but hardy annual, dill can be raised from seeds with relative ease in your kitchen garden. Its versatile nature, from its use in culinary dishes to its contribution to the production of soaps and oils, makes it appealing to grow.

Fresh and dried dill leaves, with their wonderfully aromatic smell, pair beautifully with seafood such as smoked salmon. The herb is also popular matched with potatoes and soups.

  • Plant in moist soil, where the herb can receive plenty of warmth. Partial shade is ideal, as this can slow the seed setting that brings cropping to a finish.

6. FENNEL – Foeniculum vulgare

Although indigenous to the Mediterranean, fennel can be grown easily from seeds in the UK, and is a brilliant addition to your garden.

Although a hardy perennial, fennel is often sown every year to maintain its crop. Its highly aromatic nature and aniseed flavour makes it a wonderful ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes.

Its young tender leaves can be used for garnishes, in a salad, in soups and with fish sauce, as well as in sweet, sticky sauces and delicious puddings. The edible nature of the whole plant makes it very versatile.

  • A particularly robust herb, fennel will grow well in any garden soil, providing it is placed in a sunny spot.

7. FRENCH TARRAGON – Artemisia dracunculus

Although a little more tricky to grow, French tarragon is a must for any culinary enthusiasts, and those who particularly love French cuisine.

With its aromatic, sweet anise scent and liquorice flavour, French tarragon is considered the finest variety of tarragon in the kitchen. It is particularly delicious when paired with chicken, and can also be used to flavour vinegar’s and oils, as well as make a béarnaise sauce.

  • Although a perennial, it can rot out in wet regions and overly saturated soils, so be careful to plant in drier soils and not over water.
  • Plant in fertile soil, where it can receive warmth and a good amount of sunlight, and the herb will provide an abundance of shoots.
  • As French tarragon rarely flowers, and thus has limited seed production, it cannot be grown from seed and must instead by raised by root division.
  • Divide the plants in spring to retain the health of the plant, and replant the herbs every two to three years.

8. PARSLEY – Petroselinum crispum

One of the most popular herbs in British cooking, parsley is an absolute must to grow in your garden. A hardy biennial, it is sown each year from seed in spring and summer.

It can be used in Middle Eastern salads, combined with basil to make pesto, and used in stews and fishcakes. Curly parsley, with its decorative curled leaves, is often used as a garnish to dishes.

  • For the best results, grow in the fertile soil of the vegetable plot, along with ample water in dry weather.
  • Partial shade is tolerated, although full sunlight is preferable.
  • Of the two types of parsley grown in the UK, curly and flat leaf, flat leaf tends to be more popular, as it is more tolerant of rain and sunshine, and according to some, has a stronger flavour.

9. ROSEMARY – Rosmarinus officinalis

Believed by the Greeks to be excellent for the brain, and associated in traditional medicine with having a good memory, rosemary is a particularly nutritious herb to grow in your garden. As an evergreen shrub, its fragrant needle-like leaves are available fresh all year so it can continually grace your table and decorate your garden.

Blossoming white, pink, purple and blue flowers, rosemary is often used as a decorative plant in many gardens, and is a frequent herb in landscape gardens.

Pair rosemary with roast meats such as lamb and chicken, and use it to flavour stuffings and Yorkshire puddings.

10. SAGE – Salvia officinalis

The intense flavour of sage, with its savory and slightly peppery taste, makes it one of the most widely used and grown herbs in Britain.

Its variegated (green and white) and purple forms, make excellent sources of colour for a herb garden, and can double as an ornamental boarder. Essential to British cooking, it is often paired with pork and used in stuffing.

Unusually, sage’s flavour increases as its leaves grow, meaning larger leaves can be used to create tasty dishes as well as small. A good source of vitamin C and rich minerals like potassium, sage has many health benefits.

  • A low-growing evergreen shrub, it is available to pick all year round, and thrives best in well drained sunny areas.
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