10 Herbs That Gardening Newbies Should Start Growing

Jazz up your food and gain a green thumb.

As the weather starts to warm up, many of us are making plans for our summer gardening projects. Whether you have an outdoor garden, a small patio or none of the above, you can still grow fresh herbs at home.

If you're someone who loves to cook, having fresh herbs available can totally change the game for you. And as long as you have a bit of natural light, you can easily start a miniature indoor herb garden. Grow them indoors, grow them outdoors, but make this the year you start your own fresh herb garden.

Here are 10 herbs every herb garden newbie should start with, plus accompanying recipes so you can start using your fresh herbs right away.

Basil

Basil 5 Ways 01:21

Clever uses for this garden favorite.

Sweet basil is one of the most popular and versatile herbs to grow at home. It has a strong, fresh, anise-like aroma and big, juicy, leafy stalks. The great thing about fresh basil is that you can use it in either its dried or fresh form in various recipes. Basil is also full of healthy doses of vitamins C, A and K as well as calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. When growing your basil, try to remove any flower stalks that may develop, as that will allow you to get the freshest basil leaves.

Chives

Chives are a member of the Allium family, which also includes garlic, shallots and onions. If you decide to grow them outside, they'll help keep away harmful insects like mosquitoes. They taste like a lighter version of onions, so if onions are a bit too strong for you, you might really love chives instead. They also offer anti-inflammatory properties and can help with digestion. They typically work great on a number of dishes including fish, soup, veggies and potatoes. When cutting chives, try to leave stubs that are at least 1/2-inch high so they will continue to grow.

Cilantro

Cilantro 'Santo'

Cilantro 'Santo'

'Santo' is a slow-bolting variety of cilantro, an herb that people tend to either love or hate. The leaves have a strong, soapy taste, but they add a layer of flavor to many Mexican recipes.

Photo by: Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Cilantro is probably the most polarizing herb out there: people either love it or hate it (and many people really hate it). It's often used in Mexican and Indian dishes and has a bright, fresh, pungent flavor and smell. It's also known to help with digestion and reduce inflammation from gastric upset. When growing cilantro, it's important to keep it neat and get rid of any brown or dried leaves so the rest of your leaves will stay healthy and continue to grow.

Oregano

Oregano works great in Greek-style dishes, as well as the seasoning for eggs, meat and poultry. It's also often used as a natural treatment for fungal infections, skin conditions and even muscle and joint pain. It's typically used as a dry herb, though both oregano leaves and flowers are both edible.

Parsley

Italian Parsley

Italian Parsley

Italian Parsley

©2013, Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

2013, Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Parsley is an herb with a bitter taste, but it works quite well in veggie dishes, soups and salad dressings. It's often considered a natural neutralizer for bad breath, as well as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In order to get healthy, leafy stems, make sure to trim your parsley regularly.

Mint

Mint 3 Ways 01:11

Put this prolific herb to good use with these three clever recipes.

If you're looking for an herb that works in a variety of drinks, soups and desserts, you'll love having fresh mint in your kitchen. It has a wonderful, earthy smell, and it can act as a digestive aid. Peppermint tea (made by simply putting some fresh mint into your tea) has also been known to help clear sinus infections or get rid of a headache. I like to put fresh mint, along with lemon and cucumber, into a big pitcher of water and drink from it all day.

Rosemary

3 Great Ways to Use Rosemary 01:00

Check out these three inventive uses for this popular garden herb.

Rosemary is another versatile herb that works well on fish, lamb, chicken, veggies, nuts and bread. It has a lovely aroma that begins to really come out once you start cutting up its stiff, pointy leaves. Rosemary is also known to help relieve everyday stress, as well as help with indigestion.

Sage

Sage

Sage

Sage is an herb often found in sauces, chicken dishes and in sausage recipes. In addition to the herb's leaves, it also produces edible flowers, which are sometimes included in salads or desserts. Much like mint tea, many tout the benefits of sage tea and swear that helps calm and soothe anxiety.

Tarragon

Tarragon is often used in chicken dishes, veggie dishes and egg dishes. It's chock-full of vitamins C and A, as well as magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. It has an anise-inspired flavor, and its leaves resemble blades of grass. This is another herb that you'll want to use in both its fresh and dried forms.

Thyme

Thyme is said to help keep away colds, coughs and sore throats. Thyme is an herb that pairs well with a variety of different herbs and vegetables, including parsley, garlic, ginger and scallions. It has a woody, earthy smell and is packed with vitamin A, which is supposed to help skin, hair and nail health.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Our 5 Favorite Indoor Herb Garden Ideas

Keep it inside! Your herbs can fit into any container and any room in your house.

Get a Holiday Head Start With 5 DIY Projects You Can Do in a Day (or Less!)

Stay home this Black Friday and get things done, from DIY gifts to guest room upgrades.

7 Easy Home Projects You Can Tackle This Weekend

Complete one of these tasks to feel accomplished all week.

9 Long-Lasting Florals That Aren't Silk

Ditch those dusty faux blooms and brighten your space with one of these gorgeous, low-maintenance fresh flower alternatives instead.

10 Things You Can Repurpose as a Holiday Centerpiece

Skip the trip to the florist and make an easy centerpiece for your holiday table using items you already own (or can pick up for cheap).

10 Beautiful Outdoor Rugs Under $300

Add some underfoot to your outdoor space without breaking the bank.

10 New DIY Skills You Can Learn Online This Year

Dying to conquer hand lettering or floral arranging this year? Try one of these online courses!

10 Boho-Chic Beach Finds Under $50

Trade in the anchors for a laid-back bohemian look.

10 Backyard-Ready Ideas for Summer Entertaining

Give your backyard a warm-weather boost.

10 Budget-Friendly Fire Pits Under $300

Warm up your outdoor space without emptying your wallet.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts