9 Best Herbs That Grow in Full Sun

Sunny Herb Garden

 YinYang/Getty Images

  • 01 of 09

    Basil

    Basil Plants

    WIN-Initiative/Getty Images 

    Ocimum basilicum is one of the easiest, and most versatile herbs you can grow in the sunny garden. You can grow 'Genovese' for Italian dishes and pesto, 'Sweet Thai' for Asian dishes, or one of the gorgeous purple types like 'Amethyst Improved' for the ornamental herb garden. Although basil plants like full sun, they don't tolerate dry conditions, so employ a mulch cover to help retain soil moisture. Harvest the tops of basil plants regularly to keep it from bolting, which slows down growth.

  • 02 of 09

    Caraway

    Caraway Plants

     tm_zml/Getty Images

    Carum carvi is grown for its seeds to use in bread recipes or in sausage, but while you're waiting for the plant to mature you will appreciate the beneficial insects it attracts to the garden with its flowers. Caraway occupies a special place in the garden as a biennial: it produces foliage the first year, and flowers and seeds in the second growing season. Therefore, you must plan ahead if you want to harvest caraway seeds for the kitchen: It takes about a year and two months from first sowing to seed harvest. Grow in a sunny, weed-free site in well-drained, rich soil. Plants grow about three feet tall.

  • 03 of 09

    Cilantro

    Cilantro Plants

    Wanwisa Hernandez/Getty Images 

    Also grown for coriander seeds, Coriandrum Sativum grows very quickly, and has a tendency to bolt as soon as the weather gets hot. However, the flowers do attract beneficial insects, and are edible as well. Cilantro needs plenty of moisture and rich soil. Sow seed every couple of weeks to maintain a steady supply of leaves for Mexican dishes.

  • 04 of 09

    Dill

    Dill Plants

     Renáta Dobránska/Getty Images

    Anethum graveolens doesn't just taste good in fish and vegetable dishes; its tall, ferny foliage is a beautiful textural accent in the sunny flower, herb, or vegetable garden. Pretty yellow flower umbels are soon followed by seeds, which also have culinary value. Grow in loamy soil and provide average moisture.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Lavender

    Lavender Plants in Bloom

    Shelly Chapman/Getty Images 

    Lavandula angustifolia is treasured both for potpourri and crafts as well as for tea and as an herbal treatment for headaches. This Mediterranean plant demands full sun and excellent drainage, and doesn't need much water once it's established. Plants are hardy perennials in zones 5-8. Both the leaves and the flowers carry the wonderful fragrance.

  • 06 of 09

    Lemongrass

    Lemongrass Plants

    Phillippe Gerber/Getty Images 

    No amount of sun is too much for the warmth and sunshine-loving Cymbopogon citratus plant. Look for the West Indian variety for best flavor, and don't plant outdoors until night time temperatures are above 60 degrees F. The jungle natives love high humidity, rich soil, and abundant moisture. A nitrogen fertilizer will keep the grassy plants lush.

  • 07 of 09

    Rosemary

    Rosemary Plants

     Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty Images

    Rosmarinus officinalis delights the senses with its pine-like aroma. The plants thrive in dry, sunny climates, and will even tolerate sea spray in seaside gardens. Rosemary plants are reliably hardy to zone 6, and will produce delicate purple flowers in areas with a long growing season. Grow in well-drained, average soil, and water when soil surface is dry. Old rosemary plants can get woody, but will produce new tender growth after shearing back in spring.

  • 08 of 09

    Summer Savory

    Summer Savory in Bloom

    gaffera/Getty Images

    Those who favor the French seasoning of Herbes de Provence must include Satureja hortensis in the garden. When used alone, summer savory adds peppery flavor to bean dishes. Annual savory is quick to germinate and mature in warm weather. Sow seeds shallowly, as they need light to germinate. Plants like a sunny site with sandy soil amended with organic matter. Snip plants as desired for recipes, or dry entire plants when flowers begin to form.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Tarragon

    Tarragon Plants

    zeleno/Getty Images 

    Chicken salad just isn't the same without a good sprinkling of Artemesia dracunculus. The delicate leaves impart a light anise-like flavor to egg dishes as well. Unlike many herbs, tarragon plants prefer a slightly alkaline soil pH; test your soil and adjust as necessary to achieve a level between 7.4-7.8. Good drainage is also important to ensure that these plants come back after the winter, as they are hardy in USDA growing zones 4-7.

    Give tarragon plants adequate spacing about 18 inches apart so they can reach their full height of two feet. When harvesting tarragon in the first year, take care to snip no more than one-third of the plant for use at the table. Tarragon plant roots need energy provided from the foliage to become well-established as perennials.