6 Best Herbs to Grow at Home
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Let’s talk about some of the best herbs to grow at home that you can easily use for medicinal and culinary purposes. The fragrance of herbs like mint and rosemary either in the kitchen or in the garden is absolutely among the things that make me feel joyful. I love growing herbs at home and having them on hand all year round. Snippets of fresh herbs like oregano and basil or thyme when added to the dishes I make, take the whole cooking experience to the next level.
If you crave divine scents like this during all seasons, growing fresh herbs at home will do the trick. Whether you create a full vegetable garden or put a few small containers in your kitchen, you’ll find success by picking the best herbs to grow for cooking.
In this article, I share 6 of my favorite herbs I’m growing in my small garden right now. Planted in a container or a vegetable garden, these incredibly fragrant and affordable superfoods will add flavor to any meal in addition to offering wonderful therapeutic and health benefits.
What are the best herbs to grow at home?
Cilantro (Coriandrum Sativum)
You may know this popular plant as coriander, a name it shares with the sweet spice made by drying the seeds. Cilantro plants, with their aromatic dark-green leaves, do well in both gardens and containers. The tiny white flowers attract beneficial insects, so try spreading these plants if you have a garden.
Cilantro leaves add a nice aroma to most dishes but they are popular in Mexican cooking and many Asian cuisines. I use them as a a nice garnish for soups and curries as well.
Herbs to grow at home
Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris)
Thyme is very easy to grow south- or east-facing windowsill. The versatile flavor of thyme — and its many varieties — make it a key ingredient in nearly every cuisine of the world. Its tiny leaves and trailing stems give it natural houseplant appeal, too. Avoid overwatering and be sure to pinch back the tips to encourage bushy growth, or simply snip entire stems at soil level. Pot thyme in a fast-draining soil mix and place it in a warm, sunny window. Water when the surface of the soil is dry, but don’t let it wilt.
The tiny leaves of thyme add big flavor to soups, stews and marinades. We always have dried thyme on hand in our kitchen as well, as we find it superb with butter on potatoes and sweet corn.
Parsley (Petroselinum Crispum)
There are two popular parsley varieties. For cooking, flat-leafed Italian parsley will be your number one choice. It’s delicious in many dishes. Looking for an attractive container plant or plate garnish? Curly-leafed parsley is the way to go. Both varieties are relatively easy to grow. Parsley is a great choice for a sunny windowsill where no supplemental lighting is available, as it can produce a good harvest in less light. Parsley adds bright flavor to pastas, soups and salads.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano is our go-to remedy specially during the cold and flu season. This healing herb is a sun lover and offers the best harvest when given plenty of light.
A must for Italian, Mexican, Central American and Middle Eastern cuisines, oregano is member of the mint family. Strip the leaves from snipped stems and add to tomato sauces, meat, casseroles, soups and stews. The dried leaves are more pungent than fresh. Grow oregano as you would other mints. Water when the surface of the soil is dry, but don’t let it dry out. Give the plants moderate to strong light.
In spring and summer, a bright south-facing window should provide enough light. In autumn and winter, add a grow light. Frost-tolerant oregano is a safer choice for cold climates. Simply cut whole stems, hang them in a cool, dry place and use it frequently as a lovely herb to sprinkle on pizza and much more.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
To me rosemary’s fragrance is simply Devine. This Mediterranean herb needs full sun and well-drained soil. It’s hard to replicate these conditions indoors but I’ve had success by supplementing with a grow light. I don’t overwater, but I do mist daily (keep a small hand sprayer on the windowsill as a reminder). For container planting, use pots at least 8 inches deep. For those with a backyard, Rosemary will fit your yard beautifully. In milder regions, you can even trim it as a hedge.
Add rosemary to any poultry dish and you’ll have a crowd-pleaser. Use the edible flowers in salads, herb butters and cream cheese spreads.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
The spicy-sweet flavor and aroma of basil have made it one of the top herbs to grow. It is a critical herb for cuisines around the world and a favorite pairing for tomatoes. I used to have a hard time keeping my basil pots in a good shape for so long even though basil is an easy herb to grow indoors. The joy I get from pinching off individual leaves and adding them to salads, sandwiches pesto and other sauces has encouraged me to keep trying to grow basil.
Plant seeds or purchase small plants and pot them in rich, organic potting soil. Basil loves heat and bright light, so give it a southern or western window or use a grow light. Avoid cool, drafty spots, especially in the winter. Basil is not a long-term houseplant. Harvest often. Pinch off the tips of the stems to a fresh set of leaves. Make sure you do this regularly for best growth. You can expect to keep and use it for several weeks, until the stems start to grow woody. To ensure a steady supply, plant a new batch of seeds every few weeks.
For a simple vinaigrette or marinade, heat white wine vinegar and pour over fresh basil. After 24 hours, strain and discard leaves.
Chives (Allium Schoenoprasum)
The spiky leaves of this onion-flavored herb add a mild oniony kick to foods like eggs, soups, and salads, and make pretty garnishes. You can harvest them from spring through fall. Use scissors to snip off individual leaves to keep floppy leaves tidy. Leave at least 2″ of growth so that plants can resprout. Start with a purchased plant and pot it in rich, organic soil. Chives grow best in bright light, such as a south-facing window.
I add chives to all kinds of vegetables. You can sauté them in oil along with some garlic for a tasty side dish, or impress your guests by adding beautiful purple chive flowers to a salad.
Let me know what you are growing this summer and how you use them, Planting your herbs in well-drained soil and full-sun locations will help ensure they make a comeback and even if they don’t that’s ok you can always replant seeds and start over. Happy growing
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