These 10 Easy Herbs to Grow Are Perfect for Beginners

mint

The Spruce / Kara Riley 

Growing an herb garden can be an easy project even for a child to spearhead. But, if you don't have a green thumb and are worried you will kill your plants, select some easy herbs to grow. These herbs can withstand some neglect and aren't overly fussy about their growing conditions. They are generally low-maintenance plants that tend to forgive if you forget to water, fertilize, or attend to other care needs.

Here are 10 easy herbs to grow in your garden.

  • 01 of 10

    Mint (Mentha spp.)

    mint

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Mint will readily spread in a garden, even with neglect, and it can be hard to control. While this trait might annoy some gardeners, it also makes the plant ideal for a hardy herb garden. Mint likes moist but not soggy soil, though it generally will bounce back from a little bit of drought. But it's best to water if the foliage is looking dry and wilted. Also, pinch back the stems if you want a bushier plant; otherwise they tend to get leggy as they stretch toward sunlight.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 11 (depends on species)
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • 02 of 10

    Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

    thyme

    The Spruce / K. Dave  

    Thyme is a wonderfully forgiving herb. It can tolerate drought, being stepped on, mowing, no fertilizer, and more. So it's a great option to plant in a spot in your garden that you might forget to tend to. It also does well if left to creep along a pathway, finding ​a hold in between pavers. And it can be tucked into crevasses of rock walls. Just make sure not to place it in a shady spot, as thyme thrives in lots of light.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy, dry to medium moisture, well-drained
  • 03 of 10

    Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

    allium

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Chives are easy herbs to grow, and they are certainly hardy. They can survive through cold winters with no added protection, such as mulch. And they will keep growing from spring to fall no matter how many times you cut them back. As a bonus, they will bloom in the early summer with some beautiful flowers. Plus, they are a clumping plant, meaning they'll keep increasing their footprint but won't pop up in unexpected spots. Just divide mature clumps every few years to help them maintain their vigor.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy, medium moisture, well-drained
  • 04 of 10

    Lemon Balm

    lemon balm

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Being in the mint family, lemon balm is a great herb for those who seem to have no luck gardening. Its bright, lemony scent is fun to brush up against, and it's great for flavoring teas. Lemon balm isn't picky about its soil type as long as it has good drainage. It also doesn't need fertilizer unless you have very nutrient-deficient soil. Prune it frequently throughout the growing season (spring to fall) to encourage new foliage to grow, which has the best flavor. You'll also have to promptly remove flower stalks to prevent seeds from dropping if you want to limit its spread.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Sage (Salvia officinalis)

    sage

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Sage grows fuzzy, soft leaves and tolerates less-than-optimal care. The only concern is planting sage in poorly drained soil, as it is prone to root rot in waterlogged conditions. On the flip side, if you forget to water your sage and the soil dries out, the plant will readily bounce back from this. Frequently harvest leaves and cut back the stems to promote healthy new growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained
  • 06 of 10

    Oregano (Origanum spp.)

    Oregano plants potted in terracotta pots on wooden surface

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Oregano species are quite hardy plants, making them easy herbs to grow both in garden beds and containers. They grow quickly, and leaves can be harvested soon after planting. They also do fine in lean and dry soils. But they are susceptible to root rot, so make sure your oregano plant is never sitting in waterlogged soil. Also, pinch back the stems once your plant reaches around 4 inches tall for bushier growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, sandy, dry to medium moisture, well-drained
  • 07 of 10

    Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

    Parsley herb plants in sunlight closeup

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Parsley is a biennial plant, meaning it completes its life cycle in two growing seasons. But many people grow it as an annual to make things easier, as they avoid having to overwinter the plant. Plus, parsley’s taste can degrade in its second growing season. Parsley can take a while to grow from seed, and it can have a low germination rate. So plant more seeds than you think you’ll need. But once it starts growing, there’s little maintenance involved. Just make sure its soil doesn’t dry out.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: Green-yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • 08 of 10

    Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

    Basil herb plant closeup

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Basil is a popular and easy herb to grow, and its aromatic leaves are a favorite in many dishes. Basil is fast-growing and does equally as well in containers as it does in the ground. Once your basil plant is about 6 inches tall, you'll have to regularly pinch off the top leaves to encourage bushier growth and prevent the plant from sending up flowers. The longer you can deter flowers, the more flavorful leaves you’ll get. Also, make sure your plant gets lots of sun, which promotes healthy growth and can prevent disease issues. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: Magenta
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Dill (Anethum graveolens)

    Dill herb plant potted in terracotta pot being watered with white watering can

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Dill is a very cold-hardy herb, which is helpful if you have an unexpected cold snap after planting in the spring. It also doesn’t typically have problems with pests or diseases. Make sure to plant your dill in a spot that gets lots of sunlight, as it is prone to flopping over in areas that are too shady. It also needs some protection from strong winds. Plus, seedlings are difficult to transplant, so it is best to sow directly in the garden soil (or container garden).

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained
  • 10 of 10

    Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

    Cilantro herb plant closeup

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a fast-growing but short-lived plant. You can start harvesting leaves within about a month after sowing seeds, and seeds from the plant will be ready for harvesting in about 90 days. Cilantro doesn’t do well in the peak heat of summer in most climates. But you can start plants in the early spring and then again in the early fall for multiple harvests. Pinch back stems as young plants grow for fuller foliage. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained

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