Freshly picked herbs can enhance any dish, and if you enjoy cooking, it’s much cheaper and more practical to grow your own, picking them as you need them.
Culinary herbs are also an attractive addition to the garden, offering interesting foliage and often, pretty flowers that attract a range of pollinators. Most can be grown in borders, or in pots – find out how to create a culinary herb container.
As well as culinary uses, many herbs have medicinal properties, too – discover healing herbs to grow.
Culinary herbs contain oils that give them fragrance and flavour, and can withstand being chopped regularly, as long as they are growing in the right conditions – discover five ways to keep herbs productive.
Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary and basil love lots of sun and good drainage. Mint enjoys plenty of light but gets stunted or tough if too dry and hot.
Here are some popular culinary herbs to grow.
Evergreen rosemary looks good all year round and is ideal for growing in containers and borders. It’s blue-purple flowers in spring are very attractive to bees. It works especially well in lamb dishes. Find out all you need to know about growing rosemary in our rosemary Grow Guide.
Evergreen sage is another herb garden staple, with attractive leaves and flowers that range from magenta to blue. It goes particularly well with meat, such as pork, and is an essential ingredient in sausages and stuffing. Read our sage Grow Guide for practical information on growing sage.
There are many varieties of basil to grow, including Greek basil, holy basil and a perennial type from Africa. It’s mostly grown as an annual and is a key ingredient in salads, tomato sauces and Thai curries. Read our basil Grow Guide, packed with advice on growing this flavoursome herb.
Evergreen bay has glossy, aromatic leaves that can be used dried or fresh. They’re an essential ingredient of an bouquet garni and can even be used to make ice cream. It also makes a very attractive garden shrub and can be shaped as topiary.
There are many varieties of thyme to grow, with their leaves ranging from dark green to golden or variegated, and white, purple or pink flowers that are a magnet for bees. It will grow in borders, raised beds or pots – good drainage is essential. Get more growing tips in our thyme Grow Guide.
From a refreshing tea to the key ingredient in mint sauce, mint is a very useful culinary herb. It’s easy to grow but its roots do have tendency to spread, so it’s best grown in a container. Find out all you need to know about growing mint in our mint Grow Guide.
Growing herbs in pots
Mixing herbs that enjoy the same conditions is the secret to success of growing them in pots. Discover our favourite herb container projects.