5 Herbs You Need to Grow Today
Whether you’re a master gardener or a curious novice, growing your own herbs gives you access to your favorite flavors and garnishes, fresh from your own backyard. Early spring is a great time to start seeding indoors, and with these easy to grow herbs there’s no excuse not to exercise your green thumb.
Before you start, check out our Seed Starting guide here for some cultivation basics.
In general, seedlings need about 4-8 weeks before they can be transplanted outdoors. If you plan to create a lush and fragrant countertop garden, seeds can be started nearly any time of year, as long as they get about six hours of sun each day.
Our top five picks for best herbs to grow right now
Having this culinary classic on hand makes any pasta dish all the more authentic. Not to mention all the great pesto recipes to experience, like our Parsnip & Carrot Pesto Slaw. Basil prefers moist, but well drained soil. If you plan to grow indoors, be aware of cooler temperature near windows, as basil tends to droop when chilly. Remember to pinch off flower heads as they grow to promote continued growth. Wait until warmer weather to bring outdoors.
There is nothing like the bright and refreshing zest of cilantro on tacos or in curries. Despite cilantro’s fussy reputation, a little effort can go a long way with this flavorful herb. Seeds will mature quickly (4 weeks after germination) in well-drained, nutrient rich soil. Be delicate with roots, and don’t let the soil dry out completely. With regular harvest, cilantro will live for a few months before going to seed. But remember, cilantro seeds are also known as the spice coriander—it’s like two for one!
This onion relative is not only great in omelettes, but also one of the easiest herbs to grow for beginners. Low-maintenance, perennial, and tasty—what more could you want? Germination takes 10-20 days in rich, well-drained soil. Although chives will grow in nearly any amount of sun, make sure indoor plants get enough light. Water frequently and trim leaves when they grow to six inches. The whole plant is edible, so utilize the leaves, bulbs, and flowers in your favorite dishes.
Arguably one of the most hardy herbs, sage offers intense aromatics as both a culinary ingredient and purifying incense. Easily grown from clippings, an established sage bush is forgiving and drought-tolerant. Keep in medium to full sun and resist overwatering. This perennial herb will last well into fall and come back year after year.
This perennial herb is one of the most familiar flavors across the world. Whether in sweets, on lamb, or with a cool drink, mint has an unrivaled versatility. Known for its invasive tendencies, mint makes an excellent candidate for indoor or container gardening. Grow from a cutting for quick cultivation. Mint prefers moist soil and lots of light but will do well in a sunny window. Harvest fresh mint as needed and use in dishes like this Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad recipe.
Whether you want sink-side garnishes for weekend appetizers or a sprawling backyard herb garden, these easy-to-grow plants make gardening possible for everyone. This list is only a starting point and should inspire you to explore your own favorite herbs and how to grow them. Once you have a plan, it’s time to grab those egg cartons and get seeding!