5 Herbs That Are Hard to Kill

Growing a herb garden can be easy enough for a child. If you are worried that you will kill any herb that you plant, here are some herbs that will stand any abuse you throw at them.

Even if you are pretty good at keeping your herbs alive, we all have places that are difficult to tend to; high up or in out of the way locations that you forget to fuss over (I am guilty). These herbs can be planted in these less than optimal locations and stand some neglect.

  • 01 of 05


    Flowers on mint plant.
    Southern Stock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    The very thing that annoys one gardener about mint, is just what makes it top of the list for a hardy herb garden. Mint is hard to control and hard to eradicate from unwanted spaces. When you plant it in an out of the way place, it can go crazy without dying back from neglect. Often, it seems that mint thrives on a little bit of abuse.

    Allow it to get some water when it starts to look crispy and it will come back from near death even. If it doesn't get pinched back, mint will get a bit leggy (grow long stems with a puff of leaves on the ends of the stems, as the leaves fight for the most sun), but this may be acceptable if you are not growing it to impress anyone.

    Mint can be sheared off if it starts getting crazy looking (or when you suddenly remember that it's there), and will grow back beautifully. Mint is perfect for the garden-shy beginner.

  • 02 of 05


    Thyme. Alice Henneman

    Thyme is a wonderfully forgiving herb. It tolerates neglect, drought, being stepped on, mowed, hard pinching, no pinching, no fertilizer..you name it. Thyme can be placed in locations that you often forget to tend to. It also does well if left to creep along a pathway, finding ​a hold in between pavers.

    Thyme is so hardy, it can be tucked into crevasses of rock walls and anywhere that the roots can manage to take hold. Really, you would have to work to kill thyme.

  • 03 of 05


    Chive flowers

    Chives are one of those herbs that are so rewarding to grow in the garden, they should be the first herb you turn to when trying to build a herb garden that can withstand some abuse. Chives are certainly hardy. They live through cold winters with no protections, grow all season long no matter how many times you cut them back, and bloom with the most amazing blooms.

    Chives can be used in the garden landscape as well. They are a clumping herb, meaning they will grow large plants, but not pop up in unexpected areas. The plants just have a larger footprint each year, and you divide them every 3 years. Easy!

  • 04 of 05

    Lemon Balm

    Lemon Balm
    The Farming Wife

    Being in the mint family, lemon balm is a great herb for those who seem to have no luck gardening with herbs. The bright, lemony flavor is fun to brush up against and picking a leaf to nibble becomes a right of passage for any little gardeners that are trying their hand at growing.

    Even on the farm, with acres of room, I grow lemon balm all season and cut it back only if it starts to bloom or I am ready to take apart the garden for the year. This makes it easy to have lush areas of herbs in places that get forgotten. Lemon balm is a rewarding herb for the beginner to grow.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05


    Daniel Grill / Getty Images

    Sage is a wonderful herb for the less than confident gardener. It grows fuzzy, soft leaves and tolerates less than optimal care. They only concern would be planting your sage where it gets too much water all the time. It is prone to root rot if left to sit in wet for long lengths of time.

    For most gardeners, however, the opposite issue is of concern. Forgetting your herb garden usually, means the herbs dry out. Sage won't be bothered by this at all.

    If you are going to keep sage over as a perennial, it will have to be cut back and eventually replanted when it grows woody, but for many of us (myself included), ​it is planted as an annual with no cutting back necessary.