Try Something New This Spring – Grow Your Own Herbs!


A little sprinkle of fresh herbs on a meal can mean the difference between flavors that are just nice, and flavors that are just spectacular.

A close up top down picture of herbs growing in pots with soil in the background. To the center and bottom of the frame is green and white text.

And when you have fresh herbs growing in your own backyard, porch planters, or window box, this makes it even easier to boost the flavor of your homemade meals.

Starting an herb garden so you can have your own fresh supply of these aromatics is the perfect gardening project for spring.

Before you get started, though, you’ll want to learn about the best growing conditions, decide on a gardening method that will work for you, and think about whether you want to start with seeds or live plants.

Whether you start your spring herb collection from seeds or seedlings, you have a wide variety to choose from.

Some are culinary or medicinal, and others that are just nice to have around for their enticing fragrances, ornamental value, and ability to attract pollinators. Many have multiple uses.

A garden scene of fresh herbs growing outdoors in terra cotta pots.

Luckily, there are a variety of ways to grow a spring herb garden – so you’ll have lots of choices. And you can customize your project to suit your preferences, size constraints, and resources.

I’ll walk you through some ideas for starting an herb garden this spring. But first, here’s an overview of what I’ll cover:

Growing Conditions

Before you pick out a selection of your favorite herbs, make sure you have the right growing conditions available to help them prosper.


Most herbs need full sun, so pick the right location – one that receives at least 8 hours of direct sun per day.

A wooden deck with raised garden beds growing vegetables and herbs.

Sometimes a spot in your yard can appear to have full sun – until later in spring when the trees finish leafing out, and the same spot is suddenly plunged into shade for most of the day.

So make sure you pick a spot that will have enough sun available for your plants, even once your trees finish leafing out.

A close up of basil and thyme growing in pots in light sunshine on a soft focus background.

If you have the perfect spot for your spring garden project but it is located in partial shade, be sure to check the sun requirements for each of your choices – some may work in partial shade, such as bay laurel, lemon balm, mint, and parsley.


In addition to requiring full sun, herbs need soil with good drainage.

A top down close up picture of mint growing in the garden with soil in the background in soft focus.

If your garden soil doesn’t drain well, you can amend it – or consider going with raised beds or containers instead of putting your herbs directly into the ground.

Most herbs prefer soil that has organic matter such as compost incorporated into it, and a slightly acidic to neutral pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

If you decide to start your spring herb garden in raised beds or containers, you can use potting mix.

If you are planting in the ground, you can learn more about your garden soil and how to improve it in our helpful article.


Some types, such as basil, require more water than others.

If you want to locate your spring herb garden in a dry area, such as near the curb or around a mailbox, you may wish to choose options with lower water requirements, such as sage.

A close up of a large patch of sage growing in the garden with grass in the background.
Sage, a good herb for xeriscaping.

You’ll find information on specific water requirements for each herb below. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about xeriscaping – or creating gardens with very low water needs – have a look at our article on this topic.

Gardening Method

Most herbs require a full sun location and well-draining soil, and figuring out how to provide this may help you to decide what gardening method you choose.

A garden border growing with herbs and flowers with a concrete wall in the background.

Other constraints may include your ability or willingness to do the labor required to dig into the soil. As a native of the Southeast, I know how hard it can be to put a shovel into red clay soil!

Financial constraints are also important considerations, and you may want to crunch the numbers for these various options before you get started.

Luckily, there are options out there to suit everybody. Here are some suggested gardening methods, with their pros and cons:

In the Landscape

An herb garden can be started as a landscape feature, a border, or to create a new outdoor space.

A garden scene with beds and borders containing herbs and a lawn in the background in light sunshine.

Many herbs have ornamental as well as culinary appeal and can add texture and interest to the garden.


  • Plants can double as foundational plantings.
  • Large numbers and varieties can be included.
  • Mass plantings can serve as borders.
  • May be the most economical option.


  • Labor is required to dig garden soil.
  • Heavy clay soils will need to be amended.
  • Waterlogged soils will need to be addressed.

Raised Beds

Herbs can also go into raised beds.

A raised garden bed growing a variety of herbs in the garden.

The number, size, and shape of the beds are highly adaptable.


  • Raised format makes gardening more accessible.
  • Large numbers and many varieties can be included.
  • Easier to control soil drainage.
  • No digging required.
  • DIY raised beds are easy to make.


  • Raised beds are not recommended in arid climates, where they dry out too quickly.
  • Requires purchase and/or installation of raised beds and soil.

Herb Spiral

Another option that can be either in the ground or above ground is an herb spiral, a permaculture-style herb gardening method.

A top down picture of a rockery in the garden growing herbs.

This method gives you an attractive, rustic look in a small area of your yard.


  • Accommodates a large selection in a small space.
  • Raised herb spirals can make it easy to control soil drainage.
  • Good way to repurpose stones or bricks.


  • Requires installation.


Planters are another option, and these can be designed for maximum visual impact.

A close up of a variety of herbs growing in a raised garden bed with a wooden fence in the background in soft focus.

Available in a variety of colors and materials, you can find a style to suit your garden or patio.


  • Quick to install.
  • Easy to move to the best location.
  • Can be brought indoors to overwinter tender aromatics like lemongrass.
  • Can combine various herbs in the same container.
  • Planters come in many sizes, so this is an adaptable gardening method.


  • Containers may dry out quickly.
  • Selection is limited, due to smaller space.

Window Boxes

Window boxes are just containers that are designed to be installed below your windows, or hung on your balcony.

A window box herb garden in the sunshine with houses in soft focus in the background.

Window boxes are a wonderful way to add some interest to your balcony.


  • Great option for those living in an apartment or condo with no yard.
  • Window boxes beautify your neighborhood, and your view.
  • Can be brought indoors to overwinter.


  • Window boxes may dry out quickly.
  • Selection is limited, due to smaller space.

Arrangement of Potted Herbs

In addition to planters and window boxes, individual terra cotta or plastic pots can be arranged for a pleasing visual effect.

A close up of terra cotta pots and a wooden barrel containing herbs on the patio.

An ideal choice for patios, decks, and other small spaces, you can intersperse your potted herbs with flowers for added visual appeal.


  • Quick to install.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to move to the best location.
  • Can be brought indoors to overwinter.


  • Pots may dry out quickly.

Seeds or Live Plants

Many herbs can be started as seeds. Some can be started indoors and then transplanted to the garden, and others can be sown directly into your soil.

A close up top down picture of herbs grown in eggshells with wooden plant markers set on a wooden surface.

While growing from seed is more cost efficient overall, be aware that if you start your new spring herbs from seed, you may not be able to harvest them until next year.

A close up of small black pots containing various different herbs set outdoors on a ledge on a soft focus background.

If you want the instant gratification of herbs you can use starting this spring, you might want to start with live plants instead of seeds.

Herbs to Include

Aromatics can be used for cooking, as herbal teas, and medicinally. Some are simply grown for their fragrance or as ornamentals.

While some may be associated more with one of these purposes than another, most have multiple uses.

A top down close up picture of freshly harvested herbs set on a wooden surface.

Once established in your garden, some of these will provide you with a flavorful harvest starting in early spring each year.

Some may be grown as perennials in certain areas, and others self-seed readily.

A top down picture of a variety of different herbs growing in the garden.

When deciding which herbs to include, think about which ones you enjoy – and which you would like to be able to experiment with.

There are many other herbs you can grow in spring as well, but the following selections are excellent choices to start with:


While basil is largely associated with summertime and fresh tomatoes, in many places this culinary superstar can be grown starting in springtime.

Just make sure you wait until after your last frost to set basil out.

Basil is a fast-growing annual – unless you live in Zone 10 or higher, where it can be considered a perennial.

A close up top down picture of a basil plant growing in a terra cotta pot.

Basil has a distinctive, pungent taste, with some varieties having citrus or anise undertones.

It is widely used in Italian cuisine. Basil will perk up a plate of sliced summer tomatoes, or can be used fresh, minced over sauteed zucchini or grilled fish.

But basil really shines when it’s used in homemade pesto.

A close up of a white ceramic bowl containing freshly made basil pesto, with a spoon.

Sound tempting? Check out this recipe for lemon basil pesto from our sister site, Foodal.

Basil requires well-drained soil, full sun, and frequent watering to thrive. Most varieties grow 10-18 inches or taller.

You’ll find all you need to know about this flavorful herb in our basil growing guide.

If you’re ready to try growing your own basil from seed, ‘Italian Large Leaf’ is a great option.

A close up picture of a basil plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background. To the bottom right of the frame is a circular logo and text.

‘Italian Large Leaf’ Basil

Its large leaves are perfect for making pesto – or for layering with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

You’ll find organic ‘Italian Large Leaf’ seeds in packs of various sizes at True Leaf Market.

Bay Laurel

Bay laurel is one of the staples of the aromatics department.

It is frequently called for in recipes to flavor soups, dried bean dishes, and stews. It is one of the essential ingredients in a bouquet garni.

A close up of a white pestle and mortar containing bay leaves set on a wooden surface.

The leaves of bay laurel, typically used dried, are cooked over a long period of time to infuse a dish with a subtle flavor somewhat reminiscent of oregano or thyme.

Bay laurel prefers full sun and good drainage. It is best planted in the spring.

While it can grow to tree size if left unpruned, bay laurel is usually kept trimmed to a size of 2-8 feet.

Two hands from the left of the frame holding a small bay laurel tree in a black plastic pot on a green soft focus background.

Bay laurel is hardy to Zone 8, and it can be overwintered indoors in colder zones.

Its leaves are evergreen, and it makes a gorgeous ornamental, looking gorgeous in decorative pots and planters.

A close up picture of a small bay laurel tree in a terra cotta pot set on a wooden table.

Bay Laurel

Ready to learn more about growing this culinary staple? We have a complete gardening guide dedicated to bay laurel.

You can find live bay laurel plants available for purchase at Burpee.


Perhaps most well-known as a calming herbal tea, chamomile can be included in your spring herb garden, too.

The flowers of this aromatic are what is used in the tea – and they have a mild, floral flavor.

A glass tea cup with chamomile tea set on a striped fabric on a wooden surface with flowers scattered around.

But chamomile’s uses go beyond herbal tea. Chamomile is considered a medicinal, with a huge range of properties.

It is considered anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, anti-microbial, and has many other health-promoting characteristics, as well.

Chamomile prefers full sun, and will tolerate partial shade.

A close up of white chamomile flowers with yellow centers on a soft focus background.

This herb needs well-drained soil and regular watering.

Roman chamomile, a perennial, is low-growing and can serve as a ground cover, while German chamomile, an annual, grows up to 2 feet tall. Both types do well in containers.

A close up of a chamomile plant with white flowers. To the bottom of the frame is a white circular logo and text.

German Chamomile Seeds

If you’d like to learn more about adding this calming herb to your garden, have a look at our chamomile growing guide.

And if you’re interested in a supply of your own homegrown, fresh chamomile flowers for teas, you can find German chamomile seeds from True Leaf Market.

A close up of a German chamomile plant growing in the garden.

3 Chamomile Plants

Or if you’d rather get a jumpstart, Burpee has German chamomile plants available, in sets of three.


Chives may be every gardener’s dream for a low maintenance plant that is both beautiful and edible – and available to harvest every year, starting in spring.

You are probably familiar with their long, tubular leaves – commonly seen chopped as a baked potato topping.

A close up picture of a bunch of chives on a chopping board.

This allium, relative to both onions and garlic, can be used as a substitute flavoring for those two ingredients. Garlic chives taste just like garlic, and plain chives have a very oniony flavor.

Chives are delicious in pad thai, minced over scrambled eggs, or as a garnish on roasted potatoes.

In fact, chives are such an amazing ingredient, we have a whole guide dedicated to its cooking and medicinal benefits at our sister site, Foodal.

A close up of flowering chives with green stems and purple buds growing in the garden on a soft focus background.

Chives do best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade, and like most of the other selections on this list, they need well-drained soil and consistent watering.

Chives tend to grow to 1 foot tall and have a 1-foot spread.

Perennial in Zones 3-9, it’s safe to plant directly in the ground, but growing chives in containers is also an option.

A close up of a butterfly feeding on a purple chive flower on a green soft focus background.

In late spring, chives put forth beautiful purple flowers – which are just as edible as their leaves. Pollinators also appreciate their flowers.

Chives are easy to grow – learn more about the entire process in our complete guide.

A close up of chives growing in garden with purple flowers on a soft focus background.


If you’d like to include chives in your herb collection (and why wouldn’t you?) you can find packs of 1,000 seeds, or packs of three live plants for purchase at Burpee.


Cilantro is cold-hardy and can be sown directly in your soil before the last frost, providing a spring harvest.

If you haven’t cringed and quickly scrolled down yet, you must be a cilantro lover and not a cilantro hater – and you’re in good company!

A close up of a bunch of parsley set on a wicker tray on a wooden surface.

Found frequently in Mexican, Asian, and Indian cuisine, this herb has a unique, bright flavor, which the haters think tastes like soap.

Cilantro can be sprinkled on bowls of beans and rice, used to add some zest to a mac and cheese dish, or as the main ingredient in a non-traditional pesto.

Our sister site, Foodal, has a delicious recipe for cilantro cayenne tahini sauce, which would be good on just about anything in your pantry or fridge.

Cilantro prefers full sun, but it doesn’t mind some light shade in the afternoon. It grows nicely in well-drained garden soil, and doesn’t like to be overwatered once established.

Cilantro can grow to 12-24 inches tall.

A close up of a parsley plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background.

If you’d like to perfect your knowledge of adding this versatile yet flavorfully controversial plant to your garden, we have you covered – see our complete guide to growing cilantro.

And if you’re ready to try cilantro in your own home garden this spring, starting it from seed is easy and gratifying.

A close up of a cilantro plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background.

‘Calypso’ Cilantro

‘Calypso’ is a variety that is extremely slow to bolt, meaning even more leafy cilantro love for you through the season.

You can find ‘Calypso’ as either seeds or plants from Burpee.


Another cold hardy option for spring, dill is just as easy to grow from seed as cilantro.

This aromatic is used for both its fragrant leaves and its tasty seeds.

A close up of freshly harvested dill tied together with elastic bands at a farmers market.

Dill has a bright taste with anise undertones. It’s used to flavor dill pickles, but it also tastes great in potato salad, and on salmon.

One of my favorite flavor combinations with dill is to use it on broccoli.

If that sounds good to you too, check out this recipe for roasted baby broccoli with dill. It’s on our sister site, Foodal.

A close up of a wooden raised garden bed with various herbs growing in rows.

Dill requires full sun, and moist, well-drained soil. Make sure to add compost to your soil before sowing, because dill does best when started in soil enriched with organic matter.

Dill is tall and wispy, reaching 2 to 4 feet tall.

A close up of a dill plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background. To the bottom right of the frame is a white circular logo and text.

‘Bouquet’ Dill

It’s best to sow dill seeds instead of transplanting live plants, which don’t always transition well. And in any case, growing this wonderful herb from seed is easy.

You can find ‘Bouquet’ dill seeds from Mountain Valley Seed Co. at True Leaf Market.


While it may not be used in the kitchen as often as many other selections on this list, lavender is well-deserving of a spot in any herb garden.

This small perennial shrub has a calming floral scent, as evidenced by its widespread use in aromatherapy.

A close up of freshly cut lavender flowers set on a wooden surface.

And if you like the smell of lavender, you may also appreciate its taste.

Lavender flowers can be used to make tea, lemonade, and even ice cream – a unique treat that’s common in the South of France, where lavender is an important industry.

You can also use dried lavender flowers in cookies.

If that sounds like something you need to try right now, there’s a recipe on Foodal for lavender cookies with vanilla and almond.

A close up of freshly baked lavender cookies set on a wooden surface with herbs to the side and a blue plate in the background in soft focus.
Photo by Fanny Slater.

Lavender grows best in full sun, and in soil that is sandy, alkaline, well-drained, and has been amended with just a little compost.

You are more likely to harm this plant with too much water rather than too little.

Water once or twice a week until plants are established. Mature plants are drought tolerant, but should be watered more frequently when flowering – once or twice a week, the same as what’s recommended for young plants.

A garden scene with stone steps and herbs growing under mature trees in light sunshine.

Lavender makes an excellent border when used in mass plantings, or it makes an excellent foundation plant, since its leaves are evergreen.

And you can grow it yourself – learn all you need to know about growing this fragrant Mediterranean plant in our complete guide.

A close up of a lavender plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background.

’Phenomenal’ Lavender

‘Phenomenal’ is a hardy cultivar that stands up to both humid heat and cold winters – it will thrive in Zones 5-9. It grows to 2-4 feet tall and wide.

If you’re ready to add the calming benefits of lavender to your spring herb garden, you’ll find live ‘Phenomenal’ lavender plants available for purchase at Burpee.


Mint is bright, peppery, and full of zing – the perfect flavor to cool things down when spring starts to heat up.

Two glasses containing cocktails garnished with mint set on a patterned table cloth on a soft focus background.

This plant exists in a huge range of varieties – spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, pineapple mint, chocolate mint… I’m pretty sure the list is endless.

Mint is a widespread culinary ingredient.

It’s used as a key ingredient in the Middle Eastern dish tabbouleh, is often served with lamb, and is used to make refreshing North African style mint tea.

A close up of a mint plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background.

The leaves of the plant can also be dried and used to make homemade herbal teas with a variety of ingredients from the garden.

Mint is hardy in Zones 3-8, where it will thrive with full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil, and irrigation with 1-2 inches of water per week. Mint will spread aggressively if it is not contained.

A close up of a 'Spearmint' plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background.


To find out how best to enjoy your this herb while keeping it under control, see our complete guide to growing mint.

If you want your own fresh supply of this herb for making mint juleps or refreshing herbal teas, you can find spearmint for purchase in packs of seeds, or sets of three plants, at Burpee.


What’s curly, green, and loaded with vitamin C? Parsley, that’s what.

You wouldn’t guess that this herb, typically relegated to garnish status, was so chock-full of vitamins. It’s the perfect thing to help you boost your nutrition in spring.

A close up of fresh parsley set on a wooden chopping board with a knife in soft focus in the background.

Parsley has a flavor that is bright, earthy, and slightly bitter.

It mixes well with lemon juice, as in tabbouleh, where it joins mint and tomatoes in a veritable flavor celebration.

Parsley also tastes great with potatoes when they are fried, mashed, or hashed. And like basil, when you have lots of parsley on hand, you can turn it into pesto.

A close up of a white square dish with two slices of pizza with parsley pesto and mozzarella cheese. To the right of the frame is a small bowl of cherry tomatoes.
Photo by Meghan Yager.

By the way, there’s a recipe for an einkorn-crust pizza that uses parsley pesto as a pizza sauce base over at our sister site, Foodal.

Parsley should be grown in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade, and prefers rich, well-drained soil.

Mature plants should be watered deeply once a week or more, and mulched to prevent the soil from drying out.

A close up of a patch of parsley growing in the garden with a black and white plant marker.

Parsley is a cold hardy biennial that can grow up to 2 feet tall, depending on the variety.

You can learn more about the finer points of gardening with parsley in our growing guide.

There are two basic types of parsley – flat leaf and curly leaf. Flat leaf varieties are said to be more flavorful.

A close up of a parsley plant growing in the garden on a soft focus background.

‘Single Italian’ Parsley

‘Single Italian’ is a flat leaf cultivar that grows to 18 inches.

To ensure you’ll have a fresh supply of homegrown parsley at the ready, you can find ‘Single Italian’ flat leaf parsley for purchase as plants or seeds at Burpee.


If it doesn’t bring to mind bees buzzing from flower to flower, rosemary may make you think of a popular song from the 1960s.

Ever wonder why Simon and Garfunkel sang about this plant? Learn about the history behind the combination of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

A top down close up picture of fresh rosemary on a wooden plate set on a wooden surface with a pair of old fashioned scissors to the right of the frame.

Like lavender, rosemary is a small evergreen shrub with beautiful flowers, and a lofty fragrance.

However, rosemary has a more common place in kitchens and cookbooks than lavender. Rosemary has a taste reminiscent of both pine and lemon.

It is used both fresh and dried, and goes well with roasted foods, including roasted meats and root vegetables. It’s also a delicious flavoring for focaccia, breadsticks, or homemade crackers.

When you have large, established plants, you can snip some of their sturdier branches to use as fragrant skewers for grilling your favorite vegetable or protein.

A metal container set outdoors growing rosemary with a walkway in the background.

Rosemary grows well in neutral or slightly alkaline soil, and needs excellent drainage. It requires full sun, and should only be watered when the top inch of soil is dry.

For rosemary, overwatering tends to be more of a problem than underwatering.

Learn more about using this fragrant and elegant plant in your garden in our rosemary growing guide.

Like lavender, rosemary works beautifully as a border when used in mass plantings, and can be used as a foundation plant.

A close up of a 'Tuscan Blue' rosemary plant growing in the garden.

‘Tuscan Blue’ Rosemary

‘Tuscan Blue’ is a large variety, reaching a height and spread of 5 feet.

You’ll find packs of three ‘Tuscan Blue’ rosemary plants for purchase at Burpee.


A low-growing herb, thyme is a perennial that is delicious in the kitchen, and works beautifully as a ground cover.

A close up of thyme growing in the garden with a purple flower in the background.

Thyme has a subtle, earthy flavor with a hint of mint. There are many varieties of thyme, though, so some may have other pronounced flavors as well, such as the citrusy taste in lemon thyme.

This aromatic works well in many types of savory dishes – from roasted vegetables, to stew, to pasta.

In fact, we have an entire guide dedicated to cooking with thyme at our sister site, Foodal.

Thyme needs full sun and well-drained soil. (Have you noticed a pattern yet?)

A close up of a terra cotta pot on the patio growing thyme on a soft focus background.

This plant has low water needs, is drought tolerant, and should be allowed to dry out between waterings.

Most varieties reach 6-10 inches in height, making thyme great as a live edging. Some varieties are prostrate, and look lovely planted between paving stones or in rock gardens.

A close up of a common thyme plant growing in a terra cotta container.

Common Thyme

Common thyme grows to 6-12 inches tall and has a spread of 6-8 inches.

You can find common thyme seeds and plants available for purchase at Burpee.

Let the Good Thymes Roll

Yes, you’re now ready to let the good thymes, and mints, and basils roll from your very own herb patch right into your kitchen and onto your plate this spring.

Just remember to pick a good location with plenty of sunlight, well-draining soil, and use the gardening method that will work best for you.

And of course, pick a selection of herbs that you love.

A close up of freshly harvested herbs from the garden hanging upside down from a piece of string to dry, with a wooden wall in the background.

My spring herb garden is stocked with chives, mint, dill, and cilantro, some of my favorite aromatics to use in meals.

What about you? Which herbs are going to make the cut and end up in your spring herb garden this year?

And now that you’re ready to grow your own herb garden this spring, how about growing your own spice collection too? We have articles to help you with that:

Photo by Raquel Smith © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via and True Leaf Market. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

The post Try Something New This Spring – Grow Your Own Herbs! appeared first on Gardener's Path.

Did you find this article useful? Let us know by pinning us!

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published