Fresh herbs are the perfect complement to the garden and the kitchen, bringing zest to any dish. When the weather warms in spring, it's time to plant herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary that thrive in summer's heat.
Learn more about the types of herbs that love heat in the garden and how to plant and care for them.
Types of Herbs
For beginning gardeners, the best way to start is with a small herb garden. Herbs tend to be among the easiest plants to grow and are a terrific addition to both your landscape and your table.
- Basil is likely the most popular herb. It can be added to any sauce, salad or dish. Grow in full sun and keep soil moist. Add mulch to help soil retain moisture. Harvest basil frequently to encourage new growth and to keep it from bolting (flowering). Just pinch flower heads to keep plants focused on leaf production.
- Mediterranean favorite rosemary is one of the most aromatic herbs you can grow. Rosemary is best for infusing oils, marinades and soups. Its savory flavor makes its stems an excellent substitute for skewers or toothpicks. Grow in full sun and water when dry. Cut back branches to help your rosemary bush maintain its shape and to improve air flow.
- Thyme is a staple of Italian dishes. Try pairing it with other herbs to enhance potatoes, tomato sauce and butter. This fragrant plant thrives on neglect and repays you with tiny lavender blooms. Grow in full sun and water every 10 to 15 days.
- With its spicy, bitter zest, oregano is a must for anyone who loves pizza or pasta sauce. Grow in full sun and water when soil is dry. This drought-tolerant plant won’t mind if you miss a watering. Harvest when plant is about 8 inches high. Encourage air circulation by giving oregano plenty of room to grow and cutting plants back to 6 inches during the growing season.
- Mint’s sweet, fresh flavor is reminiscent of cool iced teas, beachy cocktails and backyard dinners. Easy and fast-growing, mint needs little care as long as it’s grown in full sun. Grow mint in containers to keep it from taking over your garden. You can also pinch off flower buds as they appear and thin plants regularly.
How to Plant Herbs in Containers
A collection of herbs in containers near your kitchen door will inspire and flavor your cuisine in the hottest days of the year. Choose the herbs that you use most in the kitchen, such as chives, mint, rosemary, oregano, parsley, cilantro, thyme, basil, dill and sage. Simply plant them in an attractive container near your house and fresh herbs will be only footsteps away.
Here's how to plant a container of herbs:
- An 18-inch or larger container has space for up to five herbs, while a 14-inch one will fit three herbs. (The measurement refers to the distance across the top of the pot.)
- Find a sunny spot to place your containers. Fill them with Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix, then plant your favorite herbs, leaving plenty of space between plants.
- Water well immediately after planting. Then water when needed. Put your finger in the soil; if the top inch is dry, it’s time to water.
Your herbs can be harvested as soon as their stems are big enough to eat. Trim off the tops with scissors or garden shears, and be sure to never take more than a third of the plant at one time - even though it might be tempting to take more!
After a month, begin adding nutrients with an organic liquid fertilizer.
How to Plant Herbs in the Garden
- If you haven’t done so, perform a soil test to ensure your plants get the nutrients they need. Learn about soil tests.
- Choose a sunny spot in your garden. Most herbs like full sun.
- Work the soil and dig a hole slightly larger and wider than your herb seedling.
- Add a couple inches of compost to the bottom of the hole.
- Place the plant into the hole and press the soil around it to cover the roots and remove air pockets.
- Water thoroughly and check regularly to ensure adequate moisture during hot weather.
Herbs thrive when you trim them frequently, so cook with them and share with friends all summer long.
Whether you need the right planters, seedlings or potting soil, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.