Fresh herbs are an easy and inexpensive way to take your cooking to the next level. But the herbs for sale at your local grocer may not be the freshest or most potent. So to get the best herbs, you need to grow these babies in your backyard.
Luckily, herbs are also some of the easiest plants to grow. Most of them require minimal maintenance and don’t need to be watered every day. So no matter if you’re an amateur gardener — growing these plants will be a fun task for you. And since gardening is good for the earth, you’ll be benefiting the world around you too.
But when it comes to selecting the herbs, you’re certainly spoilt for choices with literally hundreds of options to choose from. Here we’ve selected what are the must-have garden herbs so you can start planting today.
Table of Contents
What Are the Must-Have Garden Herbs?
Mint has a wide variety of uses both inside and outside of your kitchen. Mint is one of the most pleasant-smelling herbs you can plant. It has a very fresh and icy aroma that’s energizing and refreshing.
Mint is often used in tea, smoothies and cocktails. Due to its digestive capabilities, doctors suggest chewing at least two leaves of home-grown mint after a meal. The maintenance of a mint plant is also minimal. We do recommend planting your mint in a pot or other container, as it spreads like wildfire and can easily take over other herbs or plants.
Thyme is often regarded as the most efficient herb you can grow in your garden. This full-sun plant grows in downward-bush formation on the ground and takes around 5 to 8 months to fully develop. Thyme has a subtle, earthy flavor that adds interest to poultry, soups, stews and other savory dishes.
Another great thing about thyme is that it is available in various varieties such as lemon thyme and French time, so you can select one which best suits your local climate.
Oregano has a bold, potent flavor and is often used in Italian and Greek cuisines. Growing oregano is a straightforward process: You simply need to take care of the watering cycles and pruning to get the best out of it.
Originating in Italy, this Herb is now grown in every part of the globe. Besides its flavor-enhancing capabilities, oregano is loaded with antioxidants; oil of oregano is a popular holistic remedy.
With a very mild taste, this herb is a well-known garnishing herb. Parsley was initially used as an anti-digestive herb by doctors and is now used in all types of dishes. Parsley can be grown relatively quickly as well.
It has a very efficient root system that keeps it hydrated throughout the year. Plus, its branches are strong enough so there’s no need for additional pruning. This is one of the few herbs that stays green even in chilling winters.
Basil is one of those herbs that is used in basically any cuisine, whether it’s a pizza, salad, fancy French dishes or Thai curries. It can be grown alongside any other herb or bush plant, preferably tomatoes as it also requires a lot of sunlight. Basil possesses some brilliant health benefits as it’s filled with useful antioxidants.
It also has a wonderful, licorice-y fragrance that lingers around for a while. To grow basil, you need well-drained soil, and it also requires frequent pruning.
Rosemary is a strong, piney-flavored herb that requires little to no attention as it is very much self-sustainable. It can survive pretty much any weather condition, and it loves rainwater due to the interconnected root formations. A rosemary herb will last you for about 4 to 5 years until its roots start getting degrading.
These plants look wonderful once fully matured and provide great ground cover in a garden. The needles can be harvested and used in dishes like roast chicken or focaccia bread.
Cilantro herb is a garden favorite herb that has some exceptional health benefits. The fragrance of a cilantro herb is very distinguishable, and you can easily spot one just by the aroma of its leaves.
Due to their bright, citrusy fragrance and a satisfying taste, cilantro leaves are used in various Mexican and Indian cuisines to enhance flavors and provide freshness. A cilantro plant grows in a bush formation and requires minimal attention and nutrients to grow successfully.
Benefits of Growing Your Own Herbs
Growing your own herbs provides numerous benefits:
Great for Beginner Gardeners
If you are a beginner gardener looking to get experience, growing herbs can be a great way to cut your teeth. These plants have a very minimal learning curve and require less attention when compared to other plants.
Healthier & More Flavorful
Compared to dried herbs you’d purchase at the grocery store, homegrown herbs have more essence and flavor.
While herbs certainly aren’t the most expensive food items that you can buy, you’ll still be saving a lot of money if you grow your own instead of purchasing them. Because you can cut them straight from the plant, they also last longer.
Ready to start your herb garden?
Now that you’re up to speed on the must have garden herbs, you’re probably ready to get planting. Be sure to check out our list of must-have garden tools as well as our explanation of how to clean garden tools properly. And once you’ve been fully bitten by the gardening bug and are spending more time in your yard, you may want to look at the best garden scooters and best retractable garden hoses.