Must-Have Herb Plants For Your Garden
There is no doubt about it, herbs are the spice of life (sorry, could not resist). But in all seriousness, herbs are easy to grow and can provide an abundance of flavor not just to your cooking, but to your garden as well.
Most herbs prefer partial to full sun and well drained soil. They particularly do well in raised garden beds and containers. Many gardeners who do not have much space will grow them on windowsills, easily within reach to pluck a few leaves off to add to the meal they are preparing.
If you are new to gardening or well-seasoned (I apologize again), try growing these timeless favorites.
Oregano – Origanum vulgare
Oregano is, of course, a staple in many recipes. It is also one of the easiest of the herbs to grow. Plant it in sunny locations with well drained soil. In mid to late summer, cut it back to one third so it will become bushier. In areas south of zone 7, Oregano will overwinter quite well. Cut out any dead section in the spring that did not make it.
Cilantro – Coriandrum sativum
Resembling a flat leaved parsley, cilantro has a fresh fragrance that fills a room when it is being cut. It is possible to get a spring and a fall season out of this herb. Plant seeds in the early spring after frost and in the late summer/early fall. Spring planted cilantro grows fast and tends to bolt quickly so pick leaves often. This plant will seed itself if allowed, spreading young plants throughout the garden.
Basil – Ocimium basilicum
There are so many varieties of basil available that it may be difficult to choose which one to grow, or just grow them all. A native of India, basil does not tolerate cold weather well at all so make sure to plant it after there is no threat of frost. It thrives in full sunny locations with very good drainage. Basil also grows very well in flower pots and indoors. Put a small pot of basil on your windowsill so there are always leaves available to add to your cooking. Favorite varieties of basil include Thai, cinnamon, Genovese and purple.
Dill – Anethum graveolens
If you like fish, you need to grow dill. Of course, it is also good in many other recipes including soups and salads. Dill is an annual that grows easily from seeds. Harvest leaves once the plant reaches 6” in height. As dill is a fairly large plant, staking may be required to keep it from blowing over in windy conditions.
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis
Not only a great herb to grow, rosemary is often used as an ornamental plant and can be pruned as a topiary. Very aromatic with silvery green leaves, it is one of the most attractive, and aromatic, of the herb plants. According to Greek culture, rosemary is excellent for the brain and memory. Pair rosemary with roasted meat, lamb and beets. Rosemary is also very good for making infused olive oil.
Sage – Salvia officinalis
This is another herb that can double as a nice ornamental plant. The variegated and purple varieties can add lovely color to any garden. The leaves of sage actually get more flavorful as it grows. Sage is very easy to grow and can make any gardener look like a great gardener.
Thyme – Thymus vulgaris
Of course, no herb list is complete without thyme. A low growing hardy plant, like oregano, it can overwinter in many regions. Its low habit and aromatic leaves make it useful as a groundcover in sunny locations. The aroma actually comes alive when it is stepped upon. Beautiful light blue flowers make thyme one of the favorite of the herb garden plants.
Learn More About Growing And Using Herbs
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