If you’re someone who loves herbs and spices, you should definitely start your own herb garden. Most herbs are very easy to grow and maintain. You can utilize even just a small space or containers in growing them. 

Apart from adding flavor to your favorite dishes, herbs also make excellent ornamentals. Some even have medicinal value. 

Common Types of Herbs 

There are a lot of herbs that you can grow at home. Examples are parsley, basil, coriander, thyme, dill, lemongrass, chives, celery, oregano, tarragon, marjoram, rosemary, sage, and mint. 

They can be classified as biennial, annual, or perennial. 

To get familiar with each herb, we’ll characterize them one by one. See table below:

Type of HerbCharacteristicsLife CycleCommon Use
Parsley  (Petroselinum crispum)Curly, dark green foliage; 6 to 10 inchesBiennialIn any savory dish
Basil (Ocimum sp.)Dark green or dark purple leaves; around 18 inches in heightAnnualIngredient in salsa, vinaigrette, pasta dishes, drinks, etc.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)Fine, feathery leaves and umbels of pinkish-white flowers; around 24 inches in heightAnnualUsed in spice mixes and curry powders; Crushed seeds in meats, sauces, soups, cookies, salads. Fresh leaves used in canapes, soups, salads, garnishes
Thyme  (Thymus spp.)Stems are low-growing, wiry, and woody. Leaves are small and usually gray-green; 6 to 10 inchesWoody PerennialUsed for seasoning most savory foods
Dill (Anethum graveolens)Bluish-green stems that contrast with finely divided, yellow-green, plume-like leaves and yellowish flowers; 24 to 36 inches tallAnnualSeed heads in pickles, cheese, eggs; Seeds are ready when flat, brown. seeds in soup, sauces, vegetables. Leaves popularly used, in eggs, fish, and potato salads
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)Small, onion-like plants that grow in clumps reaching about 10 inches in height; light purple flowersPerennialChop the leaves when onion flavor is desired.
Oregano (Origanum spp.)Sprawling plant with leaves much coarser than sweet marjoram; 18 to 24 inchesPerennialLeaves in soups, stews, salads
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa)Somewhat twisted, narrow, dark green leaves; 24 inchesPerennialLeaves and stems are used fresh to flavor vinegar; Leaves in salads, fish, poultry dishes
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)Low growing with small, gray-green leaves on tough, woody stems with small, pale mauve to white flowers; 8 to 12 inchesAnnualMostly used for beef, game, or poultry
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)Rugged, evergreen shrub; 36 inchesWoody perennialPopular for veal, lamb, shellfish, and other meats, sauces, and soups
Sage  (Salvia officinalis)Woody plant with oblong leaves that have a wooly, gray-green covering that is lighter on the bottom; 24 to 36 inchesWoody perennialLeaves in dressing, eggs, fish, meat dishes
Peppermint  (Mentha piperita)Spreading plant with numerous upright shoots; Dark green leaves are produced from reddish stems; 12 to 24 inchesPerennialLeaves in fruit salads, cocktails, ice cream, and Lamb

How to Start

After deciding on which types of herbs to plant, the next thing you have to know is how to start and care for your chosen herb plant. 

Seeds or Cuttings

Most herbs can be started using seeds, cuttings, or by means of division. Basil, chives, coriander, dill, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme can be started using seeds. You have to germinate the seeds first before transplanting them in separate containers. You can purchase different herb seeds here.

For perennials such as dill, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, you may propagate them using cuttings. This method is faster because all you need is to cut a branch and plant it in a potting mix. Cuttings will root after a few weeks. 

Division of plants like chives, oregano, peppermint, tarragon, thyme can also be done. Once the plant gets thick and has created a large clump, you can divide them into smaller portions and plant them separately. This method is the easiest since the roots remain intact. 

Soil

Different herbs have varying potting mix requirements. Basil and peppermint require moist soil

while chives and thyme prefer it dry. For coriander, dill, and oregano, a rich and well-drained soil is necessary. Parsley prefers its soil to be rich and moist but for tarragon, it must be rich and dry.  Rosemary and sage need dry and well-drained soil. 

Most herbs thrive in a soil pH ranging from 6.5 to 7. Rosemary prefers alkaline soil. 

Light

Another essential factor to consider is the light requirement of each herb plant. Basil, coriander, dill, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme are sun-loving plants. They prefer exposure to bright light. If kept indoors, make sure to place it in a location where light is abundant. 

Chives, dill, oregano, parsley, and peppermint will do well in light shade. One indication that your herb is not receiving enough light is the yellowing of its leaves.

Water

Most herbs require a low to medium amount of water. Watering should be kept in moderation. Ensure good drainage in container pots to avoid waterlogging. Wet and soggy soil will cause root rot. 

Marjoram, oregano, sage, and thyme should dry out slightly between waterings. Never allow the soil to dry before watering rosemary. 

Fertilizer

Herbs require a very little amount of fertilizer. If the potting mix is well-amended with organic matter, your herbs will most likely thrive without additional fertilizer. 

If you wish to add fertilizer, make sure to keep it in a low dose by diluting it with water if it is liquid-based. Always follow the instructions on the label of the product you’re using. Apply the diluted fertilizer every six weeks or as needed. 

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