How do I Plant an Herb Garden?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Over the course of human history, herbs have had a special place in our lives. They are regularly used as medicine, as aromatherapy, and to season our food. It is easy to plan and grow a personal herb garden, and the benefits of having common herb on hand are numerous.

Sprigs of rosemary and sage.
Sprigs of rosemary and sage.

Before beginning to plant, it is important to consider what type of herb garden best fits your lifestyle. For gardeners who enjoy putting in the extra work, an outdoor herb garden can provide a wide variety of herbs spread over a large area. For those who are looking for an herb garden needing less time and effort, an indoor garden is the way to go. An indoor garden can easily fit on a countertop, taking up very little space.

Evaluate the soil your herbs need, and plan complementary vegetables in the plot.
Evaluate the soil your herbs need, and plan complementary vegetables in the plot.

An herb garden needs fertile soil to grow. Prepare the soil ahead of time by adding in fertilizer and removing large rocks. Make sure the area you’ve chosen drains easily. For indoor gardens, choose a container with drainage holes in the bottom.

Decide which herbs you want in your garden, and plan a layout. For an indoor garden, it is easy to decide which herbs to use by considering which herbs you use most often in your kitchen. For outdoor gardens, there are a few more choices. A kitchen herb garden is an option here, too, as well as a knot garden, a garden for decorative purposes, or any other number of purposes. Consider the different soils each herb may need. Also check to see which herbs need full light, partial light, or shade before planting.

Taller herbs should be planted towards the back of an herb garden bed, with shorter plants towards the front. This assures that all of the plant will receive maximum amounts of sunshine. Ground covers, like thyme, can be used in the front of an herb garden, or elsewhere as part of a landscaping effect. Most herb gardens are grown in a formal style, in rows. Herbs also lend themselves nicely to decorative planting.

Herbs should be trimmed right before the plant blooms. At this point, the herbs will have the most intense flavor. Herbs meant for drying and preserving should be trimmed at their aromatic peak. When harvesting seeds, like anise, from your herb garden, be careful to pick them after they have fully ripened but before the seeds begin to disperse.

It is easy to plan and grow an herb garden. Research the needs of each herb before you plant it to maximize your success. If you are looking for a simplified herb garden, consider buying an herb garden kit. These kits come with the needed planters, seeds, and needs. Some come with a light situated above the plants, so that the kit can be placed anywhere you choose. Because they are easy to grow, herb gardens are great for both experienced and novice gardeners, as well as for culinary enthusiasts and crafters.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal wiseGEEK writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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Discussion Comments


In no way is it easier to grow herbs indoors rather than outdoors. Indoor gardening almost always suffers from too little light. Plus, herbs are just plain easy to grow in average soil. They usually need less water than other garden plants and you can eat what you harvest.


If you plant an herb garden outside, try placing the plants close to any paths. That way, as you walk through the garden, you'll brush against the leaves, releasing their fragrance into the air. It's a great way to add another sensory element to the gardening experience.

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