Herbal Gardening for Beginners, Unleashing Nature’s Healing Power

Herbal gardening is an excellent way to enhance your gardening knowledge. Learn how to grow nutritious herbs and enjoy their beauty and flavor for years. Beginners can create their own herbal plant garden with few helpful tips, which is described below on this blog.

 Whether it’s an extension of your garden, potager or kitchen garden, or even at home in a sunny windowsill, growing herbs is easy! Start with the basics and a few planning steps to create a beautiful and useful herb garden this season.

Herbal gardening has multiple benefits, such as enjoying homegrown herbs for cooking or tea. Herbs are easy to grow and suitable for inexperienced gardeners. To get started, learn the basics of herbal gardening for beginners and put in the effort required. Growing herbal plants can generate considerable income in a short period. Follow these Guide of Plants tips for success in herbal gardening.

Also Know About

What is Herbs?

Herbs are plants that are commonly utilized for their fragrance or culinary significance. They come in a variety of leaf textures, shapes, and scents, adding beauty to gardens or can be cultivated indoors for continuous production. Not only do they enhance the landscapes, but also provide diversity to one’s cooking. Growing herbs is relatively easy, even for beginners. However, herbs differ in their life cycle and growth patterns. 

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – What is Herbs – guideofplants.com

Annual herbs complete their life cycle in a single growing season and must be replanted each year. Biennials produce foliage in the first year and flowers and seeds in the second year before dying back. Many herbs are perennials, which survive for more than two years, but their growth slightly declines each winter. It may take some time for herbs to grow in the first year, and two years for them to reach full maturity. Tender perennials like rosemary must be replanted every year if grown outdoors in our climate, as they cannot tolerate frost.

Know More: 10 Most Powerful Herbal Plant

Health benefits of herbs

Taking a holistic approach to health can involve incorporating herbs into your diet. HUM dietitian and trichologist Samaria Grandberry, RDN, explains that herbs are an easy and effective way to add nutrition to meals and can help individuals reach their recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. For centuries, herbs have been a significant aspect of diverse societies’ diets and are a plentiful source of vital minerals and nutrients. 

Whether you seek to improve your overall well-being or address specific health concerns, there is an herb available to assist you. Grandberry often recommends herbs such as turmeric, rosemary, peppermint, and lavender to alleviate inflammatory issues. Aloe vera and marshmallow root are also helpful for digestive problems, and can be added to soups or smoothies for an extra boost of nutrients.

Apart from their nutritional merits, herbs are also simple to cultivate and can offer several health benefits. Peppermint can aid in promoting digestive, cardiovascular, and pulmonary health, as well as muscle relief. Parsley is rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and Vitamin K, and acts as a natural diuretic. 

Herbs like oregano may potentially be a simple and efficient method of incorporating nutrition into one’s meals while also fulfilling their daily suggested intake of fruits and vegetables. Basil is high in antioxidants and phytochemicals and has antimicrobial benefits. Basil is a terrible source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and manganese. 

Cilantro is a fantastic way to obtain Vitamins A, C, K, and E, and it can aid in lowering inflammation. Rosemary is not merely a flavorful herb, but also a bountiful source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to calcium, iron, and Vitamin B6.

Know More: Bonsai Gardening

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – Types of herbs to grow – guideofplants.com

Types of herbs to grow

Herbs are plants that offer various parts such as roots, seeds, flowers, or fruit to enhance food or medicine. They are frequently used for medicinal purposes to support healthy functioning of different body systems. Two primary types exist into which herbs can be categorized: Culinary herbs and Medicinal herbs

Herbs like oregano, basil, cilantro, etc. provide fresh and flavorful ingredients to spice up your favorite dishes. Rosemary, thyme, and parsley can elevate the flavor of any dish, while lemon balm, ginger, and peppermint can be infused in teas and known for their health benefits. Healing herbs can be used for both health and wellness goals. 

There is never enough to learn about those plants and their applications, regardless of the types of herbs you decide to cultivate. It is advisable to start small and observe how your desire to learn (and cultivate!) more herbs evolve.

Common types of herbs for herbal gardening

Medicinal herbs

NameTypePropagationMature SizeUsage
AloePerennial DivisionUp to 2 feetSap is used in beauty products and for burns/sunburn
AngelicaPerennialSeeds, cutting or division6 feet tall by 4 feet wideSweetener, candied stems, roots served like a vegetable
AnisePerennialSeeds, cutting or division3 feet tall by 3 feet wideMeat, candies, breath freshener, nausea, fragrance
BasilAnnual or tender perennialSeeds or cutting2 feet tall by 1 foot wideItalian dishes, casseroles, eggs, fish, sauces, salads, fragrance
BayTender perennialCutting20 feet tall in ground, 6 feet tall in containerSoups, stews, broth, Mediterranean and Indian dishes
Bee balmPerennialSeeds or division4 feet tallLamb, fish, petals in bread, salad or vinegar
BorageAnnualSeeds, cutting or division3 feet tall by 1 foot wideLeaves, flower stalks in salads, yogurt, cream cheese or with fish
CatnipPerennialSeeds, cutting or division3 feet tall by 3 feet wideAromatic leaves/shoots used in salads, soups, sauces and savory dishes
ChamomileAnnualSeeds, cutting or division2 feet tall by 2 feet wideTea, cocktails, smoothies, treats, such as cookies and lemon bars
ChivesPerennialSeeds or division2 feet tall Potatoes, casseroles, soups, salads, eggs, cheese
Cilantro/CorianderAnnualSeedsUp to 3 feet tallLeaves are cilantro; seeds are coriander pairs with fruits or cheese in pesto, rice, salads
Coriander: pairs with curry or chili peppers
Medicinal herbs – guideofplants.com

Culinary herbs

NameTypePropagationMature SizeUsage
DillAnnualSeeds (self-seeds easily)4 feet tall by 4 feet widePickles, salads, herb blends
FennelPerennialSeedsUp to 6 feet (by variety)Licorice-like flavor can be used in sausages, meats, fish
HorseradishPerennialDivisionUp to 3 feet tallHomemade sauce for sandwiches, meats, eggs, hummus
HyssopPerennialSeeds, cutting or division2 feet tallSalads, broths, soups, roast vegetables, lamb, in pasta, or with soft cheese
LavenderPerennialCutting or layeringUp to 3 feet (by variety)Paired with citrus or tart fruit in lemonade, sorbet, fruit vinaigrette
Lemon balmPerennialSeeds or division2 feet tall by 2 feet wideSauces, stuffing, root vegetables, chicken, fish
Lemon verbenaTender perennialCutting6 feet tall by 6 feet wideSalad dressing, ice cream, poultry, salsa verde, jelly
MarjoramTender perennialSeeds, cutting or division2 feet tall by 2 feet wideMeats, soups, stuffing, vegetables
MintPerennialCutting, division or layeringUp to 3 feet by 3 feetJellies, teas, mild meats (pork or hicken), citrus or fruit salad
NasturtiumAnnualSeeds1 foot tall by 3 feet wideFlowers are peppery in salad, seed pods are a substitute for capers
OreganoPerennialCutting or division2 feet tall by 2 feet wideSpanish, Mexican and Italian foods
ParsleyBiennialSeeds (soaking increases germination)Up to 2 feet by 2 feetLight flavor as base of pesto, soups, salads, or over meats or seafood
RosePerennialCuttingUp to 10 feet (by variety)Hip tea or syrup is high in vitamin C, petals can be used for scent or eaten
RosemaryTender perennialCutting2 feet by 3 feet (up to 6 feet)Meats, jellies, potatoes, roast vegetables, breads, spreads, butters, vinegars
SagePerennialCutting or layering3 feet tall by 2 feet widePork, fish, chicken, stuffing, bread, sausage, butters
Savory, summerAnnualSeeds, cutting or layering12 to 18 inches tallLighter flavor than winter. Use either in pork, beef, chicken, stuffing, beans, meatballs, sauces. Similar to thyme/sage/marjoram.
Savory, winterPerennialCutting or division6 to 12 inches tallUse either in pork, beef, chicken, stuffing, beans, meatballs, sauces. Similar to thyme/sage/marjoram.
TarragonPerennialCutting or divisionUp to 2 feet tallFrench dishes, bearnaise sauce, salad dressings, butters, chicken dishes
ThymePerennialCutting or division1 foot tall by 2 feet wideRoast or sautéed vegetables, sauces or pasta, paired with citrus or cheese
Culinary herbs – guideofplants.com

Why start your own herbal gardening?

While purchasing herbs from a supermarket is a convenient choice, some people believe that investing time and energy in cultivating food has advantages, even though it may seem excessive. Based on scientific studies of Texas A&M AgriLife, cultivating plants can serve as a beneficial pastime for reducing stress and enhancing mental well-being. 

As it has been linked to increased self-confidence, improved disposition, decreased levels of frustration, and reduced anxiety and depression. Additionally, growing your own herbs can have sustainability benefits by taking pressure off of the global food system and providing resources for important pollinators. Overall, growing herbs not only benefits personal health and taste preferences but also has a positive impact on the world around us.

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – Herbal gardening for beginner – guideofplants.com

Herbal gardening for beginners

Almost all herbs need sun, but some can handle partial shade. Herbs like loose, well-drained soil with pH around 6.5. Soil testing is recommended for gardeners and can be done for free by WVU Soil Testing Laboratory for West Virginia residents. Adding organic matter can improve drainage in clay soils. Wet soil can slow growth and even kill plants. 

Lime should be added if pH is too low. Herbs don’t need much fertilizer. Over-fertilization can decrease oil production. Light liquid fertilizers are best. Water herbs deeply and allow soil to dry out before next watering. Mulching conserves water and decreases weed growth.

Know More: Beginner’s Guide to Flower Gardening

Site selection for herbal gardening

Site selection is crucial for a successful garden. The placement of the location is a crucial consideration for a prosperous garden because it may affect the amount of sunlight that the garden obtains. It is essential to pick a spot that receives ample sunlight for plants to thrive. 

In most cases, the southern sides of buildings receive more sunlight than the northern sides. To ensure effective growth, refrain from planting in the shade of trees and shrubs as they can compete for nutrients and water. Additionally, other factors to consider when selecting a site include wind exposure, frost pockets, and proximity to the kitchen for easy access to herbs.

Select herbs for herbal gardening

Selecting suitable plants for the specific location is vital in ensuring a triumphant herbal gardening. Consider the list in this blog before selecting herbs and acknowledge the first and last estimated frost dates. Additionally, it is recommended to plant sun-loving herbs facing south, and to choose cool and warm season crops based on the location’s requirements. 

Quality seeds of selected herbs should be purchased, or transplants can be grown from seeds. It is also suggested to consider growing herbs with medicinal properties. A selection of condiments that are satisfying to add should be opted for, like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and honey mustard, with a drop of sesame oil being a useful addition.

Soil requirements for herbal gardening

To ensure the best growth conditions for your garden, it is crucial that the location has proper drainage. If your location has water pooling, it is advisable to use raised beds or raised rows for planting. Moreover, it is crucial to steer clear of regions with an excessive amount of pedestrian movement. If you have rich, well-draining soil in a sunny spot without competing vegetation, planting an herb garden in the ground is a viable option. 

Conversely, if your soil quality is suboptimal, a raised bed garden is a preferable alternative. Raised Bed Soil is recommended for this type of environment as it has the appropriate texture and weight. If you have limited growing space, using pots is an alternative option. The recommended soil type is Potting Mix as it reduces the probability of over- and under-watering. 

It is important to select potting mix over potting soil as it typically contains more organic materials and promotes better drainage. When planting in pots, it is recommended to use slightly acidic soil with a soil combination suitable for azaleas and roses, for instance.

It is crucial to possess soil that is deeply rooted and drained appropriately, enriched with organic substances, for the prosperity of plant growth. Adding organic matter before in-ground planting and removing rocks and debris are also recommended.

Soil pH testing is crucial, with most plants preferring a neutral pH of 7.0, but some thriving in slightly acidic or alkaline soil. Container planting requires a mixture of compost, shredded pine bark mulch, and vermiculite or ready-to-use potting mix. Plant seeds according to local climate and instructions on labels, and wait to transplant young plants until after the danger of frost has passed.

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – All Aspects – guideofplants.com

Water and sunlight

Ensuring a sufficient water supply is crucial when growing plants, with an average requirement of one inch of water per week. It is advisable to choose a location in close proximity to a potable water source to facilitate watering. Overwatering can lead to plant diseases and splashing water on leaves should be avoided.

Plant the herbs

To ensure the best growth and airflow for your herbs, it is important to check the plant tag and provide adequate space between each plant. When planting, create a hole and place the herb at the same depth as its original container, fill in the surrounding area, press down the soil, and water thoroughly. If growing in a raised bed or ground, simply nestle the container into the earth.

To promote bushier growth, herbs should be harvested regularly with garden or kitchen scissors, preferably in the morning. However, it is crucial to refrain from eliminating more than one-third of the flora to ensure sustained growth. By pinching back basil before it blooms, for instance, the herb’s harvest can be extended. Starting an organic herb garden is a simple and potentially lucrative endeavor, with a variety of herbs to choose from.

Harvesting and Storage

To optimize herb harvest, it is recommended to gather them before blooming, yet after the oils that provide their flavor and aroma have peaked. Regular pruning and removal of flowers can stimulate new leaf growth and prevent over-maturity. 

Pesticides must be avoided in herbs that will be consumed directly, and after harvesting, it’s necessary to rinse and air-dry the plant tissue. Different techniques for drying herbs may be used depending on the herb type, and herb vinegars and butters are great options for preserving herbs.

Herbal gardening Tools

Investing in high-quality garden tools is essential for novice gardeners, as compromising on quality may result in the need for repetitive purchases; the fundamental tools required for a garden include:

  1. Dirt Rake
  2. Spade
  3. Leaf rake
  4. Garden shovel
  5. Garden knife

Herbal gardening design for small spaces

For those with limited space or ample room for raised garden beds, growing a selection of favorite culinary herbs and flowers together can provide great sensory pleasure and an opportunity for creative expression in garden design.

Container herbal gardening design

Container herb garden design is becoming more popular in urban areas due to the limited space for gardening in cities. A container garden can be supported by any apartment with a sunny spot or a window that supplies enough light. The container itself can be anything as long as it has drainage holes to prevent root rot.

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – Container herbal gardening design – guideofplants.com

Unique containers can provide color and interest in the herb garden. The design of the container garden depends on the type of container used, and tiered gardens should allow for controlled runoff. Using a piece of PVC pipe in the center of a planter can help with watering plants in tall containers of any type. A basket or pot can support multiple herbs with similar light and water needs, providing enough for most cooking needs.

The three tier garden

The 3 Tier Elevated Garden Bed design is well-suited for small spaces due to its vertical growth capabilities, allowing for layers of lettuce, herbs, and vegetables to be planted. This compact, stacked design is made of natural wood without any added chemicals, making it easy to assemble. By locating a well-lit corner close to the kitchen and setting up the planter with soil and herbs, you can easily start your own herb garden without interfering with the rest of your yard.

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – The three tier garden – guideofplants.com

Raised herbal gardening design

Square foot gardening is a widely used technique that maximizes yield while minimizing the need for water and space, and it’s perfect for smaller spaces. It is particularly useful for gardeners who enjoy order, with each square designated for a single herb variety. To create your own square foot herb garden, choose a sunny spot, cover the ground with weed cloth or cardboard, build or purchase a four-foot square garden box, fill it with soil, and add a grid. 

You can measure 12 inches apart and use twine & a nail or spare pieces of lumber to layout your squares. Plant your herbs, tall ones in the middle and shorter ones along the edges. The raised garden bed and pyramid planter are two unique designs that allow for the creation of various planting sections while remaining visually appealing and functional. 

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – Raised herbal gardening design – guideofplants.com

The rectangular planter and zigzag pattern are two other designs that can be used to create an entire herb garden or accommodate small yards. Most raised beds have a built-in drainage system, and a weed barrier is usually placed beneath the planter.

Small bed herbal gardening

For those with limited outdoor space, small herb garden design may be of interest. A great garden can be achieved with just ample sunlight, as most herbs require full sunlight to thrive, with some being able to tolerate shade. The limited alley space behind a suburban fence can produce some of the most beautiful and plentiful herb gardens, as planting against a fence helps to warm the soil due to sunlight reflecting light and warmth onto the garden. 

When designing a small herb garden, accessibility should be considered, with the tallest plants being placed in the middle when there is access to the plants from all sides, to avoid the need to reach around taller plants. When planting herbs against a fence, the taller plants should be planted against the fence to create a pretty layering, and to avoid breaking larger plants when tending to smaller ones, while also protecting the plants from wind. 

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – Small bed herbal gardening – guideofplants.com

Maximizing space can be achieved by using tall containers in the center of a round or square area, with the option of adding more tiers for additional planting areas. Small gardens can also make use of a checkerboard pattern, which can be as simple as four or six squares, and perfect for a small seating area. If space is long and narrow, a trough arrangement may be considered using concrete or stone troughs or repurposed livestock troughs.


Herbs can be started from seed or propagated from stem cuttings. Stem cuttings should be taken with sharp, disinfected pruning shears or a knife, and dipped in rooting powder or solution before being planted in moist media. 

Planted cuttings should be kept in a warm location with good sun exposure or artificial illumination to avoid getting parched or burned by direct sunlight. Division is another propagation option for full-grown, non-woody perennials that requires digging up the plant and its entire root system, cutting the crown and root system into two or more parts, and replanting immediately. 

Geranium, tarragon, catnip, chamomile, and yarrow are all herbs that are useful for splitting. Savory, sage, mint, and some other herbs can propagate by layering with assistance. Which involves making a few very light cuts on a healthy creeping or flexible stem, coating it in a rooting medium, and lightly covering it with about 2 inches of loose soil.

Outdoor Vs. Pot Herbal Gardening

To ensure the best growth of delicate herb seeds and soft perennials such as basil, coriander, marjoram, and French tarragon, indoor sowing during the spring season is recommended. You can transplant them outside only after the danger of frost has passed. Herbs such as lemon verbena, chervil, coriander, sage, and basil can thrive outdoors throughout the year. 

Herbal gardening
Herbal Gardening – Outdoor Vs. Pot Herbal Gardening – guideofplants.com

When planning to grow herbs, it is vital to determine the amount of sun exposure that each plant necessitates to ensure their proper placement. While most herbs require full sun exposure, some, such as angelica, woodruff, and sweet cicely, grow best in partial shade. Opting to grow organic herbs in pots is a viable option, especially if you don’t have sufficient space in your yard. It also allows you to bring them inside during the winter. 

Organic herbs can be grown in pots to save space and bring them indoors during winter. Otherwise, you can make use of grow lights. However, you should be cautious about over-fertilizing since herbs don’t require it, and it can lead to the excessive diffusion of aromatic oils, which is detrimental to the plant’s growth. For this reason, it is a good idea to omit fertilizer in pots, where it can accumulate.


Starting herbal gardening and having the benefits it brings is a simple process, as this blog has shown. However, it requires regular maintenance and care, such as protecting plants from pests and ensuring they are tended to while away. With practice, beginner gardeners can easily become experts.


What is herbal gardening?

Herbal gardening refers to the cultivation and nurturing of various plants that have medicinal, culinary, or aromatic properties. It involves growing herbs, such as basil, mint, lavender, and rosemary, for personal use or for herbal remedies.

How do I start an herbal garden?

To start an herbal garden, you can begin by selecting the herbs you wish to grow based on your needs and climate conditions. Prepare the soil, choose suitable containers or garden beds, and provide adequate sunlight, water, and care for your herbs. You can either grow them from seeds or purchase young plants from a nursery.

What are the benefits of herbal gardening?

Herbal gardening offers several benefits. It allows you to have fresh, organic herbs readily available for culinary purposes, herbal teas, natural remedies, and aromatherapy. It promotes a deeper connection with nature, encourages sustainable living, and enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden.

Can I grow herbs indoors?

Yes, many herbs can be successfully grown indoors. Choose herbs that thrive in indoor conditions, such as basil, thyme, parsley, and chives. Provide them with sufficient sunlight or use artificial grow lights, maintain appropriate temperature and humidity levels, and ensure proper drainage for the pots.

How do I harvest and preserve herbs from my garden?

To harvest herbs, pick leaves and stems as needed, ensuring not to remove more than one-third of the plant at a time. Harvest in the morning when the essential oils are most concentrated. You can air-dry herbs by hanging them upside down in a well-ventilated area or use methods like oven-drying or dehydrators. Store dried herbs in airtight containers away from light and heat to maintain their flavor and potency.

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