Growing Herbs

Plants can be expensive and identical cultivars difficult to source, but increasing your own stock or growing new varieties is not difficult and is very rewarding in exchange for a small amount of financial outlay.
Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - Herbs

What Do You Need?

The bare essentials for raising seedlings include containers, growing media, labels, and the living plant material you are going to grow from. You will also need a watering can with a range of sprinkler heads and a waterproof pen or pencil for labeling.

Buying the full range of pots and plugs can be expensive in one go, but do buy the more robust as they can be reused again and again. Small, frost-resistant terracotta pots are not expensive and are an attractive way of presenting herbs. Organic pots are available, but they are only suitable for one, short-term usage.

Choosing Compost

A fine sandy texture is good for seeds and cuttings while a coarse grade is better for transplanting older plants. Old compost can harbor pests and diseases.

Compost Choices

Compost Choices

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Using and Buying Vermiculite

This is a mineral that can be added to compost to help alter its air and moisture-holding capacity. It makes the art of growing seeds and seedlings more predictable (Image 1).

Buy a suitable grade of vermiculite, depending on the size of your seed. The coarsest grade can be broken down by rubbing between your fingers (Image 2).

Seeds That Germinate Rapidly

Seeds that seem to spring up from nowhere need extra care to ensure they have enough space, water, and light. A moment's inattention can result in them becoming cramped and straggly.

Borage (Borago)
Chives (Allium)
Coriander (Coriandrum)
Dill (Anethum)
Lovage (Levisticum)
Rocket (Hesperis)

Chive seedlings, seen here, emerge quickly and the first leaves are the most fragile — remember that the sun can burn them very easily.

Chive Seedlings

Chive Seedlings

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Seeds That Germinate Slowly

Some take longer, occasionally much longer, so be patient and resist the urge to dig around looking for signs of growth as this disturbance is sure to damage any new sprouts.

Angelica (Angelica)
Fennel (Foeniculum)
Oregano (Origanum)
Parsley (Petroselinum)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus)
Thyme (Thymus)

Fennel seedlings, seen here, emerge after a month or so, but more may pop up a little later — they will soon catch up if there is space.

Slow-Germinating Fennel and Rosemary Seeds

Slow-Germinating Fennel and Rosemary Seeds

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Common problems

Sowing Too Much Seed
Dense sowing results in weak seedlings that are more susceptible to disease and failure (Image 1). Do not sow thickly unless recommended on the packet.

Mixing Up Seed
To avoid mixed pots of seedlings use fresh compost and only sow one type of seed at a time (Image 2). Save unfinished packets by folding and sealing with a clip.

Plants Quick to Bolt
Coriander is prone to bolting, missing the leafy stage, if stressed in pots or by too high a temperature. Avoid by sowing directly into the ground in spring (Image 3).

Next Up

Growing Herbs From Seed

Get tips on how to easily and inexpensively grow herbs from seed.

Growing Herbs From Cuttings

Many plants do not produce viable seed or, if they do, it is so fiddly or slow to grow that it is easier and quicker to take cuttings from your favorite plant. Always keep your new cuttings moist and in a warm, sunny place.

Dividing Herbs

Plants are not cheap, and some nurseries are reluctant to divulge the easiest methods of quickly growing more from a single specimen. Wait until your new plants are well rooted and then plant them out in the garden.

An Herb Garden for Birds and Bees

Herbs are naturally aromatic and many are highly favored by honeybees and other insects. Learn how you can have your own garden perfect for birds and bees.

Potager Herb Garden

Groups of symmetrically arranged raised beds provide an easy and attractive way to cultivate a wide range of herbs without having to set foot on the soil. Learn how to grow your own potager herb garden.

Basil: A Flavorful Herb That Looks Great in Containers

Grow from seeds in a sunny spot by themselves or in combination with other edible plants.

How to Plant an Herb Container Garden

Herbs have been grown all over the world for centuries for their flavor and healthful benefits. Learn how to plant an herb container garden.

Hanging Herb and Vegetable Basket

Having a hanging basket filled with herbs and tomatoes is convenient and easy. Learn what you need to to have your own.

Growing Lavender Indoors

Discover some tips and tricks to growing lavender indoors.

Know Your Herbs

Herbs can be very striking visually, but they also possess many other characteristics that may remain hidden unless you get to know your plants' secret talents.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Flea Market Flip

7:30am | 6:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Flea Market Flip

10:30am | 9:30c

Rehab Addict

11am | 10c

Rehab Addict

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
Tonight
Tonight

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Mexico Life

9pm | 8c

Mexico Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Island Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Mexico Life

12am | 11c

Mexico Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Island Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.