There’s nothing more wonderful than the scents of home cooked meals. These easy to grow herbs are often used in home recipes and add amazing homegrown flavor to family meals.
Herbs, in general, are one of the easiest types of plants to grow. Many will happily grow in a container on your windowsill or patio.
Here’s a great idea for growing herbs indoors:
Start with plants that you purchase at your local home improvement or nursery, and you’ll have plenty of homegrown herbs in no time!
Rosemary is a wonderful herb for cooking any time of year, and is especially aromatic when roasting meat or veggies. It’s a great addition to family recipe staples like roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and baked chicken or turkey.
Rosemary is super simple to grow. It prefers a sunny location with well-draining soil. Over watering your rosemary is the easiest way to kill it. Actually, once established, this herb tolerates neglect quite well.
Depending on the variety, rosemary is very hardy for outdoor growth up to 10 degrees F, is resistant to pests and disease, and lives for several years. It makes a great companion plant for broccoli. It can grow to 4 feet wide and tall or more and can be harvested anytime throughout the year.
A beautiful perennial plant, lavender grows quite well in containers and can tolerate light freezes in US hardiness zones 5 through 8.
Like rosemary, lavender likes a sunny location with well-draining soil. Hot and dry conditions are actually favorable for more fragrant flowers, and too much water will kill your plant.
Lavender flowers in the late summer and fresh blooms can be harvested and dried for use year round.
Lavender is an herb often used in French cooking and is a surprising addition to roasted potatoes, cakes, and cookies. It also adds a wonderful flavor to lemonade and tea.
Need recipes for lavender? 20 Recipes That Use Lavender
One of my favorite herbs for cooking is thyme! The unique flavor and scent of thyme make it a great addition to meat rubs, herb infused bread, and comforting winter soups.
Thyme is a small bushy herb that grows happily even in small containers and as a perennial in zones 5 through 9. It likes full sun and can tolerate some drought. Water only when the soil is dry to avoid overwatering your thyme.
It is a pretty, aromatic, and low growing addition to vegetable container gardens. Harvest thyme in the spring and summer and dry it for year-round use or keep a plant in a small pot on your windowsill for fresh use.
Sage is a hardy and beautiful perennial herb with light grey-green leaves and gorgeous purple flowers. It has a wonderful scent that always reminds me of Thanksgiving dressing.
It grows well in sandy, well-draining soils in full sun and tolerates freezing and drought. In warmer climates, grow sage as a fall crop to avoid poor results from hot, humid summers.
Sage plants need to mature before you can harvest them, so you’re better off buying plants than starting from seed. Use the fragrant leaves for flavoring meats, bread, and sauces.
Bay leaves come from the sweet bay tree. The sweet bay leaf tree grows best in zones 7 and higher, but can be trained to grow in a container and brought indoors for winter in colder climates.
It prefers a rich, well-draining soil and requires little care other than watering and pruning. You can use any of the leaves from your bay tree, but harvest the lower and older leaves for more intense flavor.
Bay leaves add an unbeatable seasoning to your meal, and I love adding whole leaves to my sauces and soups. Always remove whole bay leaves before serving as their hard, rough texture is really not edible.
Flat Leaf Parsley
An annual grown in full sun to part shade in zones 5 through 9, parsley is a yummy addition to salads, soups, and as a fresh, edible garnish to many other dishes.
Cut flat leaf parsley back often to prevent flowering and encourage new growth of leaves. It will grow in a window sill, but can become leggy (having long flimsy stems).
If your parsley starts to look pale or yellow, give it a boost with some compost tea or organic fertilizer. For the most flavor, don’t rinse your leaves before using them as it will remove the aromatic oils from the leaves.
I love fresh chives in any potato dish, and they are a delicious topping for soups and salads. They’re so easy to grow and do well in containers with little disease or pest problems.
Grown outdoors, they make a pretty addition to your herb garden when they flower midsummer. Indoors, place them where they will receive at least 6 hours of sun and water them when the soil is dry.
It is recommended to grow mint in a container because it will quickly spread and overtake your garden. Over watering and heavy frost can kill mint, but it’s otherwise virtually indestructible.
Depending on the variety, you can grow mint in part-shade in hardiness zones 3 to 9. Prune it often when growing in a container to encourage new growth.
Add mint to ice cream, sorbet, cookies and holiday cocktails for a refreshing treat.
Basil is a staple in the kitchen for any chef. It grows very happily in containers, is a great companion when growing tomatoes, and needs little attention other than being careful not to over water. To prevent flowering, cut it back often.
In warm climates, basil can be grown as a perennial. But basil is very susceptible to damage from frosts, so grow as an annual or protect your plants and bring them indoors for the winter.
Fresh basil is delicious in salads, salad dressings, sauces, and even dessert.
Like many herbs in this list, oregano likes full sun and a well-draining soil, but in very hot summers, it can benefit from some afternoon shade.
Harvest in late spring or early fall just after flowering for the best flavor, and cut back older plants to encourage new, tender growth. Fresh or dried oregano is added to soups, sauces, seasoning blends, and meat rubs.
So have you grown any of these easy to grow herbs before?
Share your experience in the comments below!