8 Great Herbs That Are Easily Grown From Seed

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Herbs are powerful plants. Just the thought of picking fresh rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus spp. and cvs., zones 8–10) or basil (Ocimum Basilicum spp and cvs. annual) can awaken our sense of smell or conjure up memories. For thousands of years, humans have used herbs not only for cooking but also for medicinal, therapeutic and spiritual purposes. Their fragrant qualities generally protect them from insect and critter damage, and their flowers are attractive to pollinators when they bloom. I like to think of herbs as the elders of the garden that bring great utility. and beauty.

But for herb gardening, purchasing plants in 4-inch pots is often a worthwhile endeavor—like buying a fresh bundle of herbs from the grocery store when you only need a few sprigs. Growing herbs from seed can save time and money, allowing you to grow more plants for less. Plus, whatever you don’t do Can be dried for later use as needed. Consider that the next time you plan to add some herbs to your garden menu. These are excellent choices that can be easily grown from seed without the need for chilling, scarifying, or any other seed-starting treatments.

Start these indoors for faster maturation.

While patience is an important quality when gardening, knowing how to move quickly to an early harvest is also a valuable skill. Because these herbs take more time. For adults (and sometimes sprouts), it’s best to get a jump start on the season. They rush indoors, especially in cold weather.

'Giant of Italy' flat-leaf parsley
Photo: Jennifer Banner

Give parsley seeds extra time to cook throughout the season.

Name: ‘Giant of Italy’ flat-leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum ‘Giant of Italy’).

Zones: 5-9

Size: 24 to 36 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide

Conditions: full sun to partial shade; Well-drained soil

Days to Grow: 14 to 30

Maturity Days: 75

Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before your preferred spring transplant date.

‘Giant of Italy’ parsley is a large, upright variety with many culinary uses. Its size makes it perfect for the garden, while more compact varieties such as ‘Titan’ do better in containers. Parsley can be slow to grow, so I like to start it indoors. If you choose to sow it directly in the garden, do so as early as possible in the spring. Parsley is a biennial and often regrows itself in warmer climates. Its flowers and even its leaves attract and support beneficial insects.

German Chamomile
Photo: Nancy J. Ondra

Add a touch of tranquility to the garden and your favorite tea.

Name: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita).

Zones: per annum

Size: 8 to 24 inches tall and 8 to 12 inches wide

Conditions: full sun; Average, fertile soil

Days to Grow: 10 to 14

Maturity Days: 75

Planting: Start seeds indoors 4 weeks before the last frost.

German chamomile is a fast-growing annual that often reseeds itself year after year. Its small daisy-like flowers have been used since ancient times in teas and tinctures for a variety of therapeutic benefits, but most commonly to aid sleep. Once planted in the garden or in pots, chamomile is a profuse bloomer. Since only the flower heads are used for tea and not the stems, harvesting can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it to get your own supply of dried chamomile from the garden. Flowers may be fresh, or Dried and stored for later use. If you don’t have dehydrator, you can spread the flowers on a screen or baking sheet. Store indoors in a warm, dry place for a few days and then store in an airtight jar. German if you will Chamomile seeds can be sown directly in the garden in early spring through summer.

Syrian oregano
Photo: Courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds

An ancient Mediterranean herb that offers a unique flavor.

Name: Syrian oregano (Origanum seriacum)

Zones: 7-11

Size: 12 to 24 inches tall and wide

Conditions: full sun; Slightly dry soil

Days to Grow: 7 to 14

Maturity Days: 85

Planting: Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.

This herb can be found under several common names, including Syrian oregano, za’atar, Bible hyssop, and sometimes sweet marjoram. Origanum majorana, which is a completely different plant. This Mediterranean herb has a flavor similar to oregano, but is milder and has a bit more complexity. must be paid For its delicate and subtle flavor profile, it works well when added to dishes at the end of cooking or as a garnish. In a variety of ancient cultures, indoor plants Origanum The genus had mythological, ceremonial and medicinal significance. Syrian oregano can be sown directly after danger of frost, but because it grows slowly, it will be more successful if started indoors.

'Strawberry Blonde' Calendula
Photo: Jennifer Banner

These edible petals provide a pop of color in containers and summer salads.

Name: ‘Strawberry Blonde’ calendula (Calendula officinalis ‘Strawberry Blonde’)

Zones: per annum

Size: 12 to 20 inches tall and wide

Conditions: full sun; Fertile soil

Days to Grow: 7 to 14

Maturity Days: 80

Planting: Sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date.

Calendula is commonly used in vegetable gardens, along with other flowering plants such as nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus spp and cvs., annuals), Marigold (The tagets spp and cvs., -annual), and Borage (Borago Official,annual) drawing in pollinators and adding a splash of color. It also works well in containers. Calendula is revered for its anti-inflammatory, astringent, antimicrobial, and antifungal healing properties. Its petals are a common ingredient in natural skin care products and can easily be used to make homemade salves. Edible petals can also be sprinkled on summer salads or used as a pretty garnish. Among my favorites is ‘Strawberry Blonde’ calendula, a creamy pink selection that is less common than its orange and yellow relatives. Claw-shaped seeds can also be sown directly a few weeks before the last frost date.

Lemon balm
Photo: Jennifer Banner

This pollinator magnet has wonderfully fragrant leaves.

Name: lemon balm (Melissa Officials)

Zones: 3–7

Size: 18 to 26 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Conditions: full sun; Moist, well-drained soil

Days to Grow: 7 to 14

Maturity Days: 70

Planting: Sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date.

Most commonly consumed as a tea, this herb is known for its many benefits, including as a sedative, antiviral and digestive. Its aromatic properties are strongest when the leaves are fresh, but they are easy to dry for later use. Like most other herbs, lemon balm brings pollinators when it blooms and spreads easily in the garden once it finds a spot where it’s happy. Small seeds should be barely covered with soil when sowing indoors or outdoors, as germination requires light. However, it is advisable to start the seeds indoors for more substantial growth in the first season.

'Genovese' basil
Photo: Jennifer Banner

There is no such thing as too much basil.

Name: ‘Genovese’ basil (Ocimum Basilicum ‘Genovese’).

Zones: per annum

Size: 20 to 24 inches tall and 10 to 14 inches wide

Conditions: full sun; Moist, rich, well-drained soil

Days to Grow: 5 to 10

Maturity Days: 68

Planting: Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Proceed with direct sowing after danger of frost has passed.

Basil, and especially the cultivar ‘Genovese’, is one of the most loved and widely used fresh herbs. When paired with fresh cut. Tomato, mixed into fresh pesto, or added to tomato sauce, its classic Mediterranean flavor makes it a popular kitchen garden herb. It will last longer in the garden though. Unlike other herbs and can be pinched back to encourage new growth, it eventually burns and can become stunted. Direct sowing Every 3 to 4 weeks during the hottest months will ensure a continuous supply.

'Bouquet' dill
Photo: Jennifer Banner

An essential herb that complements culinary delights.

Name: ‘Bouquet’ dill (Anethum graveolens ‘bouquet’)

Zones: per annum

Size: 24 to 36 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide

Conditions: full sun; Fertile, well-drained soil

Days to Grow: 7 to 21

Maturity Days: 55

Planting: Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Proceed with direct sowing after danger of frost has passed.

Dill is a staple herb in anyone’s kitchen garden who loves classic summer dishes like grilled fish, potato or cucumber salad, and homemade pickles. When a recipe calls for fresh dill, it’s very beneficial to have it on hand. I -Especially like ‘Buquet’, known for high production of useful leaves and seeds. Easy to direct sow, these feathery plants spread and flower quickly, making succession planting important if you want a constant supply. Sowing a cluster of seeds every 3 to 4 weeks should do the trick. If you have enough space to allow old dill plants to bloom, their large, bright yellow flowers will help attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Dill often self-sows in the garden year after year, but its seeds can also be easily saved for planting.

'Opportunity' cilantro
Photo: Jennifer Banner

Creative dishes are just a snap away with this delicious herb.

Name: ‘Leisure’ cayenne pepper (Coriander sativum ‘entertainment’)

Zones: per annum

Size: 24 inches tall and 8 to 12 inches wide

Conditions: full sun; Loose, well-drained soil

Days to Grow: 7 to 10

Maturity Days: 55

Planting: Sow the seeds indoors 4 weeks ago. Your preferred spring transplant date. Follow up with direct seeding from spring to fall.

Fresh cayenne pepper is used in Middle Eastern, Thai, Indian, East Asian, and Mexican cuisine, and Innovative recipes for cilantro pesto have become popular in recent years. Cilantro is said to have many health-enhancing benefits. Although it is easy to grow, it spreads upwards quite quickly into delicate flowers that bees love. The flowers turn into seeds (coriander), which can be easily collected for future planting. This herb grows well and does best in cool weather. ‘Opportunity’ is one of my favorites because it bolts slower than other varieties. Nevertheless, direct seeding every 3 weeks will ensure a continuous supply from spring to fall.


Erin Walrath-Mariano is a kitchen garden specialist with over 17 years of professional experience designing, building and maintaining private kitchen gardens in Connecticut and New York.

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