Herbs for Beginning Gardeners

Adapted from Pub. NE 208 published by the Cooperative Extension Services of the Northeast States

Beginning herb gardeners may have a problem deciding which herbs to plant because of the large number of herbs from which to select. A quick check of your supermarket shelf will give you some idea of the types of herbs used in cooking and also will serve as a planting guide. Many cookbooks also offer information on uses of various herbs as flavorings.

Following is a good variety of flavors and uses of recommended herbs for beginners:

  • Strong herbs—winter savory, rosemary, sage
  • Herbs strong enough for accent—sweet basil, dill, mint, sweet marjoram, tarragon, thyme
  • Herbs for blending—chives, parsley, summer savory

As your interest and needs increase, you can add to the variety of herbs in your garden. Keep in mind that herbs can be annuals, biennials, or perennials when selecting herbs to grow for the first time.

  • Annuals (bloom one season and die)—anise, basil, chervil, coriander, dill, summer savory
  • Biennials (live two seasons, blooming second season only)—caraway, parsley
  • Perennials (overwinter; bloom each season once established)—chives, fennel, lovage, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme, winter savory.

Related Resources

Growing Herbs Factsheet