If you love fresh herbs but hate the grocery store markup — or how quickly they seem to wilt in the refrigerator — you should consider planting your own. Many of the most commonly used herbs are easy to grow in windowsill pots, patio containers, or a backyard garden with little work and a huge flavor payout. These eight easy-care herbs are great options for gardeners of all experience levels.
Basil is primarily known as the main ingredient in pesto, though it also adds flavor to pizza sauce, lemonade, and salads. This plant is easy to grow in pots or garden beds with access to full sun from spring through fall and takes little human intervention beyond watering during the hottest days of summer. It’s also incredibly productive — with regular pruning, basil will keep producing its herby harvest for months.
Pickles aren’t the only food that benefits from dill — its delicate, feathery leaves can be used in dips, breads, and various dishes. Dill plants need full sun with regular watering, growing outdoors from late spring to mid-summer. Reaching heights of up to 3 feet means dill isn’t a candidate for indoor or windowsill growing, though it does attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators into your garden.
Chive plants are part of the onion family and can easily grow on the windowsill. These grass-like herbs have a delicate onion flavor that compliments soups, salads, and omelets, though they can be used in nearly any dish. Chives require little maintenance and are simple to grow from spring to autumn, growing back each time you cut them for an endless supply.
This low-lying, sun-loving shrub tends to spread horizontally more than vertically, making it an excellent option for growing in containers or in garden areas that need ground cover. Sage’s velvety leaves have a deep fragrance that adds depth to all kinds of dishes, especially breads and sauces. Its sturdy leaves are easy to air dry at the end of the growing season, so you can cook with the herb all through winter.
Mint may be the easiest of all herbs to grow. This perennial plant is known for prolific growth, eagerly spreading new roots with little attention from gardeners. Home gardeners have countless varieties — spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, wild mints, and more — making it easy to find one that suits your taste buds.
Lemon balm is technically another form of mint, though it produces a soft lemon scent instead of a cool and spicy flavor. This bushy plant can be grown in full sun to light shade with occasional watering, and as a perennial, it will grow back year after year. Botanists say it also has calming properties — eating lemon balm can reduce stress, improve sleep, and ease indigestion.
Tomato dishes, pizza, and roasted vegetables are easily spiced up with oregano, a woody perennial herb with a savory, peppery flavor. Oregano plants are content growing in full sun in porch planters or larger garden spaces and require less water than other herbs, making them easy to care for.
Drought-resistant rosemary is easy to grow for gardeners who forget to water plants, though these tall-growing plants do require a sunny location and occasional pruning. This evergreen shrub is a perennial you can plant once and enjoy for years. During warmer months, it produces edible leaves and flowers that return each spring and are known to repel mosquitos.
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