Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide
Herbs | Growing Herbs | Choosing Herbs–Herb Classes & Herb Garden Kits | Outdoor Herb Gardens | Growing Herbs in Containers | Indoor Herb Gardens | Popular Herb Cultivars: Annuals | Popular Herb Cultivars: Perennials

Popular Herb Cultivars

Annual Herbs

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Sweet basil is one of the most popular herbs used in cooking and grows easily from seed sown directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed.

If you are really interested in growing great herbs indoors, we found some lovely sets at Direct Gardening

Sweet basil reaches about 18 inches in height. However, there are many basil cultivars and some reach up to three feet tall! Typical spacing for basil plants is 12 inches between plants, and two to three feet between rows. Herb Container Garden

Pinching basil stems promotes bushy, compact growth. Basil is quick to harvest; cut leaves as early as 6 weeks following planting. Cut basil, leaving four to six leaves above ground. When growing basil for cooking, remove flower spikes before bloom to ensure good leaf production and full flavor.

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

Except for its lighter green leaves, chervil closely resembles parsley and is used in much the same way. Like many other annual herbs, chervil seed can be sown directly into the garden when all danger of frost is past. Chervil grows up to 24 inches tall. Thin small seedlings, spacing them three to four inches apart. Harvest chervil leaves just before flowers blossom. To keep foliage dense, remove flowers before they bloom.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

Cilantro is widely used in both Latin and Southeast Asian dishes but is not to be confused with Vietnamese coriander (Polygonum odoratum) which is a perennial.

Cilantro goes to seed quickly when temperatures rise. As well as using the greens, grind cilantro seeds to fill a spice jar with coriander. Sow cilantro seeds directly into the garden at two-week intervals to keep a fresh supply. Although plants grow to about two feet tall, leaves are ready for harvest when the plant reaches about six inches in height. Thin seedlings, spacing them seven to ten inches apart.

Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Probably the most popular use of this fragrant herb is in dill pickles. However, the slender shoots also make a tasty addition to salads, vegetables, and main dishes like fish.

Sow dill seed into the garden when all danger of frost has passed in spring. Dill reaches two to three feet high and quickly goes to seed in the summer heat. Pick stems just as flowers bloom.

Dill is a prolific self-seeding plant. Harvested seeds can be used either dried or fresh.

Swallowtail butterfly larva (large green caterpillars) feed on dill. Rather than to fight a losing battle, it's best to plant more dill than you believe you'll use.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

When looking for sweet marjoram, you may find it classed as Majorana hortensis and Majorana majorana as well as Origanum majorana.

This petite annual reaches only 12-inches in height. Although often substituted for oregano, a pleasing fragrance and velvety gray foliage make sweet marjoram a popular favorite as an ornamental herb as well as a culinary herb.

Sow seeds outdoors in early spring when soil temperatures reach about 60F. Sweet marjoram is also a naturally sweet addition to an indoor herb garden.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley is actually a biennial, but you'll have the best luck growing it if you treat it as an annual and plant it every spring.

Although it is aggravatingly slow at germinating, the best way to propagate parsley is through seed. For best results start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before you expect the last frost.

Since it reaches only a foot tall, parsley is also an excellent plant for your indoor herb garden.

Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)

Summer savory grows up to 18-inches tall. Foliage is green with a bronze tone and a peppery flavor that makes a "spicy" herbal addition to cooking. Sow summer savory seed into your spring herb garden. Because of its petite size, summer savory is also a candidate for indoor culinary herb gardens.

Popular Herb Cultivars: Perennials →

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